In a previous podcast & videoblog we discussed the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process. In this article we will discuss what happens at the First Meeting of the Creditors in a Chapter 7 case.
When your bankruptcy petition and schedules are filed, the court will schedule a meeting with the trustee called the First Meeting of the Creditors. Although notice of this meeting is sent to everyone you list as a creditor in your petition, it is extremely rare for a creditor to actually attend.
Typically, these meetings are between you, your attorney and the bankruptcy trustee. the bankruptcy trustee is not a judge, but rather is an attorney responsible for reviewing your schedules, making sure that you are eligible for discharge in bankruptcy, and, determining whether you have non-exempt assets that can be collected and distributed to creditors. The first meeting of creditors typically takes five to ten minutes. The trustee will ask you some basic questions about your schedules. If, at the conclusion of the meeting, the trustee determines that you are eligible for a discharge and that you have no collectible non-exempt assets, the trustee will issue a recommendation that your debts be discharged along with a report that there are no assets available for collection. This is by far the most common result of the First Meeting of Creditors.
After the meeting, you will be required to take an online financial management course. Once this occurs and once the period for creditors to object to your discharge has passed, your bankruptcy case will be closed.
At a typical meeting of creditors the trustee will first ask some preliminary questions for the record:
I always recommend that my clients answer these questions briefly, open and honestly. I also tell my clients to remember that most of the time, these meetings are very painless and that the trustee is not adversarial.
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