You have successfully filed your Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy papers and are now wondering what’s next. Approximately twenty to forty days after filing and paying the court filing fees, the bankruptcy court will schedule a meeting of the creditors. The first meeting of the creditors allows the bankruptcy trustee and your creditors to question you under oath about your financial affairs and the petition you submitted. First and foremost, the creditors meeting should not be rescheduled unless you have a valid reason, such as a medical emergency. Secondly, it is imperative that you come to the creditor meeting property prepared.
Preparing for the Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 meeting of creditors will require compiling all of your financial statements and reviewing your petition for any discrepancies or errors.
Prior to your first creditor meeting date you may receive correspondence from your bankruptcy trustee with their specific requirements. The Bankruptcy Trustee may request copies of the following documents in advance of the meeting or request that you produce them at the time of the meeting:
- Tax Returns
- Pay Stubs
- Bank and investment account statements
- Mortgage Statements
- Deeds to personal property and titles to vehicles and documents related to the transfer or sale thereof
- Trust documents
- Credit card statements
- Marital settlement agreements or divorce judgments
If you do not hear from your Bankruptcy Trustee prior to the meeting, it is wise to reach out to them directly and request their required documentation. You can also check the local bankruptcy rules for the required documentation.
Once you have compiled all of your financial paperwork, thoroughly review your petition to verify that all data has been correctly accounted for. Should you find any discrepancies or errors immediately notify your bankruptcy counsel. This will allow your counsel to submit an addendum to the petition which will clarify and correct the errors prior to the meeting and will hopefully avoid any delays that may have occurred as a result of the error.
Now that you have gathered and reviewed the information and feel fully prepared to answer the trustee and creditors questions, a few last details to remember…
- Bring proof of your identity (driver’s license, passport or birth certificate)
- Bring a copy of the documents you compiled as well as a copy of your petition for your reference
- Arrive on time or a little early; and
- Dress professionally