The Meeting Of Creditors

I.  What is the 341 Meeting of Creditors?

After you file your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition, you will receive notice in the mail of the time and place of your Meeting of Creditors or 341 meeting.  YOU MUST ATTEND THIS MEETING IN PERSON.  In the Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division, your Meeting of Creditors will be held on the first floor of the Federal Courthouse in downtown Jacksonville.  The meeting is presided over by the U.S. Trustee assigned to your case, who asks you questions in an effort to verify your identity, identify your assets and determine if fraud is involved in your bankruptcy filings.  At the beginning of the meeting, you will be placed under oath and any answers you provide the trustee are subject to the penalties of perjury.  The entire proceeding is electronically recorded and anything you say can be used in later bankruptcy proceedings.  Your creditors also have an opportunity to appear at the Meeting of Creditors and ask you questions; however, this is rare and typically only occurs if it is believed that you have substantial assets to pay your debts.

Note that the meeting of creditors is a “cattle call” proceeding, meaning, you and 10 to 20 other creditors are scheduled at the same time and you must sit and wait to be  called.

II.  Preparing for the Meeting of Creditors.

The Meeting of Creditors should not be a stressful event.  Prior to your meeting, your trustee will request certain documents be produced and your attorney will help you comply.  In most cases, a telephone conference is also held with the trustee prior to the actual meeting of creditors, during which the trustee will ask many of the same questions raised at the meeting of creditors.

A.    What you need to bring to your Meeting of Creditors:

1.  Your driver’s license or a government issued picture ID;

2.  Your social security card.  If you do not have your social security card you may request a new one from the Social Security Administration and obtain a letter from the Administration noting your request and social security number.  You may also bring a W-2 or your annual statement from the Social Security Administration; and

3.  Any documents requested by the trustee not previously produced (please
discuss the trustee’s document request with your attorney prior to your meeting of creditors).

B.     What will the trustee ask you?

 Although no one knows exactly what the trustee will ask at your meeting of creditors, the following questions are generally raised:

1.  Please state your name and current address for the record.

2.  What is your home telephone number?

3.  Please provide your picture ID and Social Security card for review.

If your social security number and ID match the information obtained by the trustee, the trustee will usually state that: “I have reviewed the original State of Florida driver’s license and original Social Security card provided by the debtors and they match the name and Social Security number on the § 341(a) meeting notice.”

If the documents do not match the petition, the trustee shall attempt to ascertain

4.  Have you previously filed bankruptcy?  If so, did you receive a discharge and when?

5.  What circumstances led to your filing bankruptcy?

6.  Are you currently employed?  Where?  For how long? What is the phone number and address of your employer?

7.  Are you married?  If so, do you own any property jointly with your spouse?  Do you live with your spouse?  If so, do they contribute to the household expenses?

8.  Have you ever been married?  If so, are you entitled to any pension benefits, judgments or other property as a result of that marriage?

9.  Do you have a domestic support obligation? To whom? Please provide to me the claimant’s address and telephone number, but do not state it on the record.

10.  Do you live alone?  If not, with whom do you live, what is their relation to you, and what contributions do they make toward the household bills?

11.  When did you first consult an attorney about filing bankruptcy?  Which may be followed by: Why did you wait so long to file the bankruptcy?

12.  Do you have any pending suits against anyone or any reason to file suit against anyone?  If you are a Plaintiff in a suit, what is the status of the case and who is your attorney?

13.  Have you been in any kind of accident during the past 4 years?

14.  Where do you do your banking?

15.  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 you signed them?

16.  Are you personally familiar with the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements and related documents? To the best of your knowledge, is the information contained in the petition, schedules, statements, and related documents true and correct? Are there any errors or omissions to bring to my attention at this time?

17.  Are all of your assets identified on the schedules? Have you listed all of your creditors on the schedules?

18.  Is the copy of the tax return you provided a true copy of the most recent tax return you filed?

19.  Have you read the Bankruptcy Information Sheet provided by the United States Trustee?

Depending on your case, you may also be asked:

20.  Do you own or have any interest in any real estate?  If so, what is the address of the property?  What is your interest in the property (i.e. own, joint tenants, lease agreement)?  When did you purchase or acquire the interest? How much did the property cost? Are there any mortgages on the property? What do you estimate the present value of the property to be?  How did you arrive at that value?

21.  Do you rent?  If so, who is the owner?  Is the owner related to you?  Have you ever owned the property in which you live?

22.  Have you made any transfers of any property or given any property away within the last year valued at more than $600?  If so, what did you transfer, to whom, when and what was the value of the property?  Did you receive payment and what did you do with the funds?

23.  Does anyone hold property belonging to you? If so, who, what property and what is it worth?

24.  Are you entitled to life insurance proceeds or an inheritance as a result of someone’s death?

25.  Does anyone owe you money?  Who, how much and why haven’t you collected it?

26.  Do you own an automobile?  If so, what is the year, make, and model of the car and what is it worth? Do you owe any money on it? Who is the lender?  Is it insured?  If so, by whom?

27.  Do you have any winning lottery tickets?

28.  Do you anticipate that you might gain any property, cash or otherwise, as a result of a divorce or separation proceeding?

29.  Regarding any consumer debts secured by your property, have you filed the required Statement of Intention with respect to the exemption, retention, or surrender of that secured property? Have you entered any agreements in this regard?

 III.  How long will the meeting of creditors last?

Typically, your interview with the trustee will last less than 5 minutes and you will be at the courthouse for less than 1 hour.  However, as noted above, the meeting of creditors is a “cattle call” process and if the trustee falls behind schedule and you are one of the last to be called, you may be at the courthouse for 2 or more hours.

For information on filing bankruptcy or the Meeting of Creditors, please contact Matthew C. Bothwell, P.A.  We are here to help.