When you file for bankruptcy you are required to attend a hearing called the meeting of creditors. Even though it is called your meeting of creditors, most of the time your creditors do not show up. If they show up they have the right to ask you questions, but they do not have the right to hassle or harass you. Make sure to bring your driver license or government-issued photo ID, and also your social security card. If you do not bring both of those things with you, the Trustee may not hold your meeting of creditors.
Most of the questions are asked to you by the bankruptcy Trustee appointed by the Court to administer your case. You want to answer those questions yes or no as much as you can. If you are asked a question that does not lend itself to a yes or no answer, give a brief description and only answer the question you are asked.
For example, the Trustee states that you spend $X amount of dollars per month for vehicle insurance and asks how many vehicles are covered by that insurance policy. A good way to answer the question is to state one or two or however many vehicles you have and leave it at that. A not so good way to answer that question is as follows: Well, it all depends. There is one vehicle that’s titled in my name, another vehicle I own but it’s not in my name it’s in my brother’s name. And me and my brother insure all our vehicles through our cousin because he’s the better driver. And my cousin lives in one of those zip codes where the vehicle insurance rates are lower. That kind of answer is way too long.
You have to answer any question the Trustee asks you but try not to answer the questions in such a way so that every answer you give trips off two more questions. Keep it simple. Answer each question in the most limited way possible without being obstructive. That translates to yes or no as much as you can, brief description only if you need to, and you only have to answer the questions you are asked. If there is something you do not know or do not remember, do not guess. Just say you do not know or you do not remember, we can provide that information later. If you get stuck, I am right there with you. I have helped thousands of people through this process over the last eleven years.
The most important thing to do that day is relax. Take a few deep breaths. The more relaxed you are when you are up at the hearing table the easier it will be to answer the questions and the better job you will do. That is easy for me to say and harder for you to do. But that advice is based on helping thousands of people who themselves had never been there before, and I have noticed a high correlation between how relaxed people are and how well they do answering the Trustee’s questions. Trust the process, this has been done before. I am not learning how to do this on your time.
The above information is a general overview and is not intended to be used as legal advice. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, the best thing to do is call our office at 248-557-3645 and schedule a free consultation so you can receive advice which is tailored to your specific circumstances.
By: Michael Benkstein, Esq.
Managing Attorney, Bankruptcy Department
The Law Offices of Joumana Kayrouz, PLLC