The meeting of creditors is also known as the section 341 meeting (section 341 refers to a particular section in the bankruptcy code). The meeting of creditors gives the trustee and the debtor's creditors an opportunity to interview the debtor and examine the debtor's petition, statements and schedules initially filed with the court. Although, this meeting is called "the meeting of creditors," creditors very rarely show up at these meetings. The trustee does not have the power to resolve disputes between creditors and debtors, this authority is left up to the bankruptcy judges. If a creditor does show up, it is typically to aid in the process of discovery. The bankruptcy judge is not allowed to attend the meeting of creditors, so that he or she is not biased by any information presented at this meeting.
Typically your meeting of creditors will consist of you, your attorney and your trustee. Although there will be other debtors on the docket, you will meet with your trustee individually. At the beginning of the meeting the trustee will inform all of the debtors about the consequences of receiving a discharge under Chapter 7. This will be done either verbally or in writing. There are a few things you will need to provide the trustee before the meeting of creditors. These documents include: 60 days worth of pay stubs, your most recently filed tax returns, copies of bank statements reflecting the amount in your account on the date that the petition was filed, or an affidavit stating that said documents do not exist. On the day of the meeting of creditors, you will have to provide the trustee with proof of your social security number and a government issued picture id. It is preferable that you bring your social security card and your driver's license.
Some common questions trustees will ask include:
-Did you sign the petition, schedules, statements and related documents and is the signature your own?
-Did you read the petition, schedules, statements and related documents before signing them?
-Are all of your assets identified on the schedules?
-Have you listed all of you creditors on the schedules?
-Have you ever filed bankruptcy before?
-What is the address of your current employer?
-Do you have a domestic support obligation?
The actual meeting with the trustee does not take very long at all, and as long as you are honest with your attorney and your trustee you have nothing to worry about!