Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Why creditors won't show up are your meeting of creditors.

Despite the name, it is extremely rare for a creditor to appear at your required "meeting of creditors".  I get asked a lot by my clients who file if their creditors will appear at the hearing to ask questions and grill them about why they are claiming bankruptcy and not paying their debt back to the creditor. The short answer is "probably not".

Bankruptcy offers extremely powerful protection against creditors.  Creditors know, that unless there are some very unusual circumstances, it won't do any good to waste time and money to appear at the hearing.  Usually when a creditor receives a bankruptcy notice, and the debt is dischargeable, they simply note their file and close their collection account and you will never hear from them again. Even if they have a non-dischargeable debt like certain taxes, fines, or student loans the creditor will not need to appear at the hearing. They simply can resume collection once the debtor receives their discharge.

Sometimes local secured creditors will appear at hearings to see if the debtor wants to reaffirm a loan.  For example, if you have a Les Schwab account they are likely going to be there to see if you want to keep that account and will want to work something out if you choose to.

Other creditors that sometimes appear are private individuals that are owed money.  They are sometimes confused and appear to get their questions answered. Normally, the Trustee will simply advise them that they need to talk to an attorney to discuss their rights in the bankruptcy process. They are not allowed to verbally attack a debtor, or ask questions that are out of line.  If they want to ask more than a handful of questions they would need to schedule a "2004 exam" - basically a deposition to question the debtor directly at a later date. These exams are very unusual in the normal bankruptcy case.

The bottom line is that if you file bankruptcy you likely will not need to face your creditors at the meeting of creditors. Most have already written off your debt, closed your account and moved on.

For more bankruptcy information feel free to visit us online, or call us at 503-352-3690 or 360-213-2722.