In the state of Georgia, before you can even file for bankruptcy, you must participate in an approved credit counseling course. Once you have completed that course, and have filed a bankruptcy petition, you may be wondering, “What’s next?” It doesn’t matter what Chapter of the Bankruptcy Code you file under, there are certain things you can expect as you head to Bankruptcy Court.
Here is some information you need to know about bankruptcy court.
Notice of First Meeting of Creditors
About one week after your bankruptcy filing, you should expect to receive a Notice of Commencement of Case. This sets the time for the first meeting of creditors, also called a 341 meeting.
The meeting will take place between 21 and 40 days after you file your case. At this meeting the trustee and your creditors will ask you questions that you have to answer under oath. The trustee’s main task is to sell any non-exempt property to repay the general unsecured creditors. It is also the trustee’s job to look for bankruptcy fraud, make sure that all paperwork is accurate, and conduct an investigation into your property and finance.
Some things to be aware of for this meeting:
- You are under oath to tell the truth
- You are testifying in a legal proceeding
- Talk to your attorney about the appropriate attire
- If you filed jointly with your spouse, you will both need to attend
- The meeting will only take about 10- 15 minutes
Things to bring to Bankruptcy Court:
- Government issued photo I.D. such as your driver’s license
- Social Security card or pay stubs with your social security number on them
- Car titles
- Bank Statements for the previous six months
- Tax Returns for the previous two years
- Pay Stubs for the previous sixty days
- Copies of recorded mortgage documents
Things NOT to bring to Bankruptcy Court:
Do NOT bring a cell phone into the court house
- Do NOT bring anything illegal such as drugs, pocket knives, mace, pepper spray, or weapons
In the First Meeting of Creditors
Plan to arrive at the location 10 minutes early. The meetings are scheduled so that the trustee can schedule between 8 and 10 meetings per hour. Everyone who has a meeting scheduled at that time will likely be in the room with you, along with the attorney representing them.
The trustee will begin by calling the calendar for the meeting to be sure that everyone is present and ready to move forward. Once the calendar is complete, the trustee will call the first case that is ready.
When your name is called, you will move forward and sit at the table with the trustee. Your bankruptcy attorney will sit with you at your first meeting. You will be asked questions by the trustee and your creditors. However, you will not be harassed or humiliated. You will be treated respectfully.
There is no need to be tense. Discuss any concerns you may have with your attorney before the meeting. During the meeting, your lawyer can assist you, but cannot testify for you. Be calm and answer the questions honestly and to the best of your ability.
Here are some of the types of questions you will be asked:
- Does anyone owe you any money?
- Are you expecting to inherit anything from anyone?
- Does anyone hold anything that belongs to you?
- Do you have anything that belongs to someone else?
- Have you owned real estate in the last six years?
- What is your marital status?
- Do you have any dependents?
- How did you determine the value of the property listed on the paperwork?
- Do you or have you ever owned a business?
- Do you owe any child support, alimony, or other domestic support?
- What got you into financial trouble?
- Has your attorney explained to you what a Bankruptcy discharge is
Once the trustee is finished, your creditors may be given the opportunity to ask questions. The trustee may continue the hearing at a later date if:
- the trustee needs more information
- you were missing documents
- the trustee requests that you amend your paperwork
If the trustee requests any further information be sent to his or her office, you should get this information to your lawyer as quickly as possible. It is your legal responsibility to provide the trustee with any information that is requested.
The attorneys at Hall & Navarro are passionate about law. We serve Effingham County, Bulloch County and surrounding areas. The law offices are located in Springfield, Georgia and in Statesboro, Georgia. The attorneys at Hall & Navarro provide focused and experienced representation from your initial consultation until the resolution of your legal matter. We offer a broad range of legal services and are dedicated to serving individuals and businesses.
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