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The Meeting of Creditors

About 4-5 weeks after filing your bankruptcy case, you will be required to appear at a public meeting with your bankruptcy trustee (See 11 U.S.C. § 341(a)) sometimes called the “Meeting of Creditors” or “341 Meeting”). The meeting of creditors is open to the public and ALL CREDITORS and other parties are invited to attend. In the vast majority of consumer Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, no creditors appear. In many Chapter 13 cases, no creditors appear. However, in many instances the Internal Revenue Services or the Massachusetts Department of Revenue will appear, and may ask you questions. Additionally, in some instances, creditors with a particularly close business relationship may appear. Generally speaking, however, the Meeting of Creditors will be a relatively quick meeting between you, your attorney and the Trustee appointed to administer your case.

WHAT TO EXPECT

Prior to the Meeting of Creditors the Trustee will have all of the documents that your attorney prepared and filed with the Bankruptcy Court. In addition, the Bankruptcy Code requires that your attorney deliver to the Trustee at least 7 days prior to the meeting of creditors a copy of your most recently filed tax return and paystubs (or other pay advice) for the most recent 60 days. Some Trustees request additional documents and your attorney may choose to send the Trustee other documents in anticipation of a request by the Trustee. The Trustee will typically have reviewed all of the documents delivered by your attorney.

At the hearing, the Trustee may ask questions about any and all of the documents delivered by your attorney or filed with the bankruptcy court. In addition, the Trustee can (and most likely will) ask you questions about your: (A) Income, (B) Expenses, (C) Assets and (D) Liabilities. YOU MUST BRING YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE AND PROOF OF YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER (WHICH CANNOT BE A TAX RETURN) TO THE MEETING OF CREDITORS.  Below is a list of the types of questions to expect.

REQUIRED STATEMENTS / QUESTIONS

1. State your name and current address for the record.

2. Please provide your picture ID and Proof of Social Security Number for review. The Trustee will then review the documents handed to him or her and will then make a statement regarding those documents on the record.

3. Did you sign the petition, schedules, statement and related documents and is the signature your own? [The Trustee may now ask you to verify your signature on the Petition or the Declaration of Electronic Filing]

4. Are you personally familiar with the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements and related documents? To the best of your knowledge is the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements and related documents true and correct? Are there any errors or omissions to bring to my attention at this time.

5. Are all of your assets identified on the schedules? Have you listed all of your creditors? [The Trustee may ask you to review Schedules A (real estate) and Schedule B (personal property) in conjunction with this question].

6. Have you previously filed bankruptcy? (If so, the Trustee must obtain the case number and the discharge information to determine your discharge eligibility).

7. What is the address of your current employer?

8. Is the copy of the tax return your provided a true copy of the most recent tax return you filed?

9. Do you have a domestic support obligation? To whom Please provide the claimants address and telephone in writing but do not state it on the record. Are you current on your post-petition domestic support obligations?

10. Have you filed all required tax returns for the past four years?

SAMPLE GENERAL QUESTIONS

1. Do you own or have any interest whatsoever in any real estate?

a. If owned: When did you purchase the property? How much did the property cost? What are the mortgages encumbering it?                 What do you estimate the present value of the property to be? Is that the whole value or your share? How did you arrive at that value? b. If renting: Have you ever owned the property in which you live and/or is its owner in any way related to you?

2. Have you made any transfers of any property or given any property away within the last four years?

If yes: What did you transfer? To whom was it transferred? What did you receive in exchange? What did you do with the funds?

3. Does anyone hold property belonging to you?

If yes: Who holds the property and what is it? What is its value?

4. Do you have a claim against anyone or any business? If there are large medical debts, are the medical bills from an injury or accident? Are you the plaintiff in any lawsuit? What is the status of each case and who is representing you?

5. Are you entitled to life insurance proceeds or an inheritance as a result of someone’s death? If yes: Please explain the details. If you become a beneficiary of anyone’s estate within six months of the date of your bankruptcy petition, the trustee must be advised within 10 days through your counsel of the nature and extend of the property you will receive.

6. Does anyone owe you money? If yes: Is the money collectible? Why haven’t you collected it? Who owes the money and where are they?

7. Have you made any large payments over $600.00 to anyone in the past year?

8. Were federal income tax returns filed on a timely basis? When was the last return filed? At the time of filing your petition, were you entitled to a tax refund from the federal or state government?

If yes: How much?

9. Do you have a bank account, either checking or savings?

If yes: In what banks and what were the balances as of the date of your petition?

10. When you filed your petition, did you have: (a) any cash on hand? (b) any U.S. Savings Bonds? (c) any other stocks or bonds? (d) Any certificates of deposit? (e) a safe deposit box in your name or in anyone else’s name?

11. Do you own an automobile? If yes: What is the year, make and value? Do you owe any money on it? Is it insured?

12. Are you the owner of any cash value life insurance policies?

13. Do you have any winning lottery tickets?

14. Do you anticipate that you might realize any property, cash or otherwise, as a result of a divorce or separation agreement?

15. Have you been engaged in any business during the last six years? If yes: Where and when? What happened to the asset of the business?

16. Do you own any collectibles, such as baseball cards, stamps coins, etc?

Each question the Trustee or others at the Meeting of Creditors asks will be directly related to a piece of information that she is attempting to illicit.  Some of these questions are fairly innocuous while others are extremely pointed.  It is important that you work with an attorney who can make you aware of issues before it is too late.  To schedule a free consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney call the Law Offices of James Wingfield at 508-797-0200, or visit the contact section of our website today.

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The Law Offices of James Wingfield is proud to be a debt relief agency. We help the individuals, families and small businesses of the Worcester area file for bankruptcy relief under the United States Bankruptcy Code. The Law Offices of James Wingfield serves Central and Western Massachusetts clients in Worcester County, Hampden County, Hampshire County and Middlesex County including Worcester, Shrewsbury, Springfield, Westborough, Southborough, Framingham, Northampton, Natick, Amherst, Fitchburg, Leomister, Douglas, Uxbridge, Gardner, Belchertown, Holyoke, Wilbraham and Chicopee. The information contained and obtained in this website does not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. Contacting us, be it through this website, via email of by telephone does not create an attorney-client relationship. An attorney-client relationship is only created upon execution of an engagement agreement or fee agreement.