Meeting of Creditors – What to Expect
Section 11 U.S.C. Section 341 mandates that the United States Trustee “shall convene and preside at a meeting of creditors”. Despite the name of the meeting, there are very few creditors, if any, who bother to show up at this meeting! Also, for Chapter 7 and 13 cases, the United States Trustee generally is not present at the meeting of creditors. Rather, the United States Trustee appoints Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 trustees and one of them will be assigned to your bankruptcy case. Your assigned trustee is also the one who will preside at the meeting of creditors. The meeting of creditors for persons residing in the Phoenix area is at the Bankruptcy Court in downtown Phoenix.
At this meeting, debtors who have filed a consumer bankruptcy (Chapter 7 or Chapter 13) can expect a number of things to occur. First, their appointed trustee will administer an oath for truthfulness that they will be required to take. Second, they will be questioned regarding a variety things, common questions include: Have you filed a bankruptcy before? Did you review and sign the bankruptcy petition prepared by your attorney? How long have you lived in Arizona? What are the values of your vehicles and/or real estate?
Every bankruptcy case is different and every trustee is different. At the time of this writing, according to the U.S. Trustee website, there are twenty-three different Chapter 7 Trustees in Arizona and three different Chapter 13 Trustees. Couple this with the fact that no two bankruptcy cases are exactly alike, and you have the potential for many different types of questions. Depending on the circumstances, there may be questions that seem odd or confusing. Do your best and answer these questions as truthfully as possible and, if necessary, consult with your attorney.
In the rare case that a creditor does show up at your meeting of creditors, they will usually be given an opportunity to speak and ask you questions. The trustee will usually try to keep the questions on a guided path so that they only address issues pertaining to the bankruptcy filing.
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