The Creditors’ Meeting
Solano County Bankruptcy Lawyer tips on Creditor's Meeting
The creditor’s meeting is typically the only time when you have to appear in court. Here the trustee may ask you questions about your debt and your assets. A good bankruptcy attorney knows how to prepare the petition and resolve any issues before the meeting. For most people the creditors’ meeting is brief. Usually creditors do not show up at the meeting. You must bring to the creditors meeting the following:
- Tax return (most recent)
- Documentation of your monthly expenses
- Bank statements, brokerage account statements
- Wage stubs, profit and loss statement
Additional information such as checkbooks, bills, contracts etc may be required under certain circumstances.
Most creditors meetings last only a few minutes and are fairly simple. Your name will be called and you must step forward to the front of the meeting room. The trustee will ask you to swear that under penalty of perjury you will say the truth.
What questions the Trustee may ask you
The trustee is looking for assets to give to the creditors. For every assets the trustee recovered from you he will receive a certain percentage of the value of the asset. Some of the typical questions are:
- Will you receive a tax refund this year
- How did you valuate your house and your car
- When did you purchase your home
- Are there any liens or mortgages on the home
- Do you own your home fully or partially
- Did you transfer any assets to insiders
- Have you transferred any property within the last year if yes what was the purchase price and what did you do with the funds received
- Did you recently make any large charges on your credit cards
- Do you have a claim against someone or did you file a lawsuit against someone. If yes who is representing you and what is the estimated value of the claim
- Does someone owe you money. What is the amount of money owed to you and can the money be collected
- Do you have a life insurance with cash value
- Are you in a divorce or separation proceeding Do you own a business. If yes what are the assets of the business and how did you arrive at the estimated value of the business assets.
If creditors appear at the meeting they have the right to question you under oath about your debts.
Do you anticipate a tax refund?
If you believe you will receive a tax refund in the year you file for bankruptcy you have to disclose this to the trustee. Mostly you can keep your refund because it can be exempted however a careful inventory of your assets is necessary to protect your tax refund. A bankruptcy attorney will be able to help you cover your tax refund with the applicable exemption.
What is the value of your home and car?
When you file for bankruptcy you will have to estimate the value of your home and of your car. This is mainly for the purpose of knowing whether you have equity in your home or car and whether the trustee can take some of that equity.
Before the 2005 reform to the bankruptcy code the trustee typically used the quick sale value. Depending on the district and on the individual trustee the fair market value of the house may be required. To get that the fair market value ask a realtor or go to www.zillow.com. If it is possible that there may be significant equity in the house an appraisal by a certified real estate appraiser is recommended.
To reach at the accurate current market value for your vehicle you must use the replacement value. The replacement value is how much a car of the same age and condition would cost at a retailer. You can obtain this value by going to the website of the National Automobile Dealers Association at www.nada.com.
Transfers to relatives
An insider is a person with whom the debtor has a personal relationship. It can be a friend a business partner or a relative.
Transfers of assets to insiders are particularly scrutinized if you file for bankruptcy within a certain time frame after the transfer.
Do you have a valid claim against someone?
If you know you have a claim against someone or if you already sued someone for money you must disclose this fact to the bankruptcy trustee. Depending on how large the anticipated money reward is the trustee may have the right to take all or part of it unless you can successfully exempt it. A bankruptcy attorney should help you protecting any potential money you may receive through a law suit.
Do you have life insurance with cash surrender value?
The cash surrender value of your life insurance if declared under the proper exemption in most cases may be exempted so that you can keep it. Be careful because only a review of your entire assets will determine for certain if you can keep it or not.
We are bankruptcy lawyers in Solano County. Our Contra Costa office is located in Walnut Creek. Give us a call to find out how we can help you.