What to expect for a Chapter 13 Creditors Meeting

Learn more about what happens during a Creditors Meeting (341 Meeting) in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case.

Transcript

Every debtor must attend a meeting called the Meeting of Creditors, or 341 Creditors Meeting. It's a requirement for anyone that has filed for bankruptcy and unfortunately, the attendance is mandatory.

If you happen to miss your first meeting, it could be rescheduled. However, if you miss your second meeting, you run the risk of your case being dismissed. If for any reasons you fail to appear at your meetings, give our office a call immediately so that we can go over your options with you.

Preparing for Your Meeting

Before you ever go into your 341 room, you meet with one of our paralegals to go over what you can expect. She will give you a copy of the file documents as well as return your pay stubs, tax returns, and any other documents you may have given us.

Finally, she will review the potential questions that the trustee may ask in your case. You will always have your attorney present at your meeting, though he is unable to answer the trustee's questions for you - in the Meeting of Creditors, you speak for yourself.

He is there, however, to assist or object if the trustee or creditor gets out of line, and to note any issues that can arise. If you are required to provide documents to the trustee, or the trustee wants something changed, don't stress out. We work for you, to resolve any issues the trustees may have on your behalf.

At the Meeting

Seated at the table, you will see the trustee. This is the trustee, Gwendolyn M. Kerney, who is an attorney, not a judge. It is the trustee who conducts these hearings.

The trustee will first give a short speech to inform you of the procedures and have you get out your photo ID and Social Security card. She will remind you that these proceedings are being recorded and that you need to speak loudly and clearly. Then, you just sit and wait until your name is called, which is when you take your seat at the table.

Let's listen in for a few minutes to see just how it's done.

Mock Creditors Meeting

Trustee: We are about to conduct a meeting for Sherry Maples. Ms. Maples, may I see your identification? For the record, I am looking at Ms. Maples' driver's license and Social Security card. The Social Security numbers match. Ms. Maples, could you please raise your right hand? Do you swear or affirm the testimony that you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

Bankruptcy client: Yes.

Trustee: Can you tell me briefly why you have to file this Chapter 13 bankruptcy today?

Bankruptcy client: Medical bills

Trustee: And prior to signing your papers, you did look over your papers and go over them with the attorneys in the office, correct?

Bankruptcy client: Correct.

Trustee: And you have filed all tax returns specifically 2005, 6, 7, and 8?

Bankruptcy client: Yes I have.

Trustee: Prior to filing your case, have you sold any properties in the past 2 years? Cars? Furniture? Real property?

Bankruptcy client: Yes, we sold a motorcycle.

Trustee: Who did you sell the motorcycle to?

Bankruptcy client: My brother.

Trustee: How much did you sell it for?

Bankruptcy client: We sold it for $2,200.

Trustee: Did it have a lien on it?

Bankruptcy client: Yes, the lien as $1,200 and we paid that off.

Trustee: What did you do with the remaining balance?

Bankruptcy client: We used it to purchase clothing for our children and to pay some bills.

Trustee: What type of bills did you pay?

Bankruptcy client: We paid some utility bills and we also used some of the money to buy groceries and restock our pantry.

Trustee: Ok. Now your home. In your schedules, I noticed that you valued your home at $160,000. Can you tell me how you arrived at that figure?

Bankruptcy client: That's what the houses in our area are going for.

Trustee: Ok. And is your home insured?

Bankruptcy client: Yes it is.

Trustee: And are you responsible for maintaining the insurance or is it paid through escrow?

Bankruptcy client: We are responsible for it.

Trustee: Ok. Now on your property taxes, I notice that you do have delinquent taxes coming into the plan. You are aware that the delinquent taxes will be paid through the bankruptcy. Future taxes you will be responsible for and you'll have to pay ?

Bankruptcy client: Yes

Trustee: In your schedules, I noticed you have a debt, a personal loan listed that's owed to a Sabrina Matthews? $5,000 - who might I ask is that?

Bankruptcy client: Yes, my mother.

Trustee: And you are aware while you are in this case you are not allowed to pay any family members or friends? They are to be paid through the plan.

Bankruptcy client: Yes, I am aware.

Trustee: And you have listed all of your creditors? Charge cards? Medical? You have not left anyone out?

Bankruptcy client: No, I have not.

Trustee: And you are no longer using any charge cards?

Bankruptcy client: Yes.

Trustee: You also have a student loan listed. You are aware that student loans are not dischargeable because of your case. You are not paying at 100%. Once you receive your discharge, you will resume all your student loans.

Bankruptcy client: Yes.

Trustee: And are you planning at any point on going back to school?

Bankruptcy client: I'm going to consider that later.

Trustee: If, while you are in this case, and you decide you want to go back to school, or for any reason you want to incur a new debt, you must first obtain trustee approval. You can contact your attorney so we can get you the documentation you need in order to obtain the approval of the trustee to either get a student loan, purchase a vehicle, home, any type of debt you need to incur other than normal medical debt - any debt period, big or large, you need to go through us and go to your attorney.

Bankruptcy client: Okay.

Trustee: On your income, I notice that you work at Mr. Ink. How long have you worked there?

Bankruptcy client: 10 years.

Trustee: How much are you paid per hour and how many hours do you work?

Bankruptcy client: $9 per hour and I work 50 hours per week.

Trustee: And your husband? Is he currently laid off?

Bankruptcy client: Yes he is.

Trustee: He's collecting unemployment?

Bankruptcy client: Yes.

Trustee: Once your husband starts working again, we will need an amended budget. So you will meet with your attorney so that they can prepare the amended budget to file with the court.

Bankruptcy client: Okay.

Trustee: You have 3 children? I see that your two older children are school age. Now your daughter, she is an infant and you pay childcare. How much do you pay per week?

Bankruptcy client: $80 per week.

Trustee: Okay. (to the room) Are there any creditors present in this case?

Creditor: Yes, ma'am. I'm with Ped Automotive. I think I remember you saying that you do have insurance? May I see that insurance please?

Bankruptcy client: Yes. (hands over card)

Creditor: What is the mileage on this?

Bankruptcy client: 88,000

Creditor: We believe the fair market value is approximately $800 than what was listed in the petition. Is there any damage to the vehicle? Or why were the amounts smaller?

Bankruptcy client: Yes I was involved in a horrible accident.

Creditor: And I can get ahold of the insurance company for that information? Okay, that's all I have.

Trustee: (to creditor) Do you have anything else? You're okay with the treatment?

Creditor: I'm fine.

Trustee: Well it looks like a good case. Stay in touch with your attorney. And that's all I need, thank you.

Bankruptcy client: Thank you.

After the Meeting

That's it. Each meeting only takes about 5 or 6 minutes and everyone is civil. Makes you wonder what you were so nervous about right?

If this case had required additional amendments, the paralegal would have met with you once more to discuss what needed to be changed and told you to make an appointment to help you accomplish that.

Thanks for watching our production and hopefully you've gained more information to help you through this process. And hopefully it's a smooth one.