The purpose of the meeting is to ensure that you have fairly and honestly represented your assets, income and debts in your bankruptcy filing. You must appear at the meeting, and your attorney will be present with you. The Trustee assigned to your case will ask you questions about the contents of the bankruptcy schedules, and you will answer the questions under oath. You will not be asked to justify filing bankruptcy. It's strictly a fact-finding meeting. Creditors have the right to attend your hearing and ask you questions about your debts, however this is a rare occurrence. This meeting is informally called a "341 meeting" after section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code that requires it.
The hearing room for the 341 Meetings is not a courtroom and a Judge will not be present. You should expect that there will be dozens of other people in the same room with you waiting for their name to be called by the Trustee. Immediately prior to your hearing time, your attorney will meet with you briefly to go over the procedure. Your attorney will ask you to read a pamphlet prepared by the court, and sometimes fill-out a standardized form provided by the Trustee. When the Trustee calls your name, you and your attorney will move to the table at the front of the room to be questioned by the Trustee under oath. Since the Trustee's questions are based on the information contained in your petition, you should review your petition the night before your hearing to reacquaint yourself with its contents. Your hearing should last approximately 5 minutes.
Your hearing will be scheduled approximately four to five weeks after your petition is filed with the court.
Dress business casual. Think along the lines of a nice pair of slacks, or skirt, with a collared shirt. This is a formal court proceeding, but in a more casual setting. You are having financial problems, which would suggest you do not have the resources to purchase a new suit, tie, etc. The goal is to blend in. Do not call attention to yourself or your case by the way you dress.
You should plan to meet your attorney right outside the meeting room at least 20 minutes before your scheduled Meeting of Creditors hearing time. Plan to give yourself enough time to find a parking spot, walk-up to the building (and get through security at some locations), find the meeting room, and meet your attorney.
Bring your state issued identification (such as a valid driver's license) and proof of your social security number. The best way to prove your social security number is with your social security card. An original W-2 issued by your employer may substitute for your social security card - check with your attorney first about this. You do not need to bring anything else with you, unless directed to do so by your attorney.
If you filed under Chapter 7, the Meeting of Creditors hearing should be your only required court appearance.
For help, contact the Law Offices of Darren J. DiMarco.Call (760) 496-1990 for San Diego County & (949) 288-6526 for Orange County. Or, you can email us at: email@example.com.