If you are a debtor in Western Kentucky or Southern Indiana who has recently filed for bankruptcy, here’s what you need to know about your upcoming Court hearing (based on 8 Frequently Asked Questions).
1.) What exactly is a “Meeting of Creditors?” A Meeting of Creditors (also known as a “341 Meeting”) is a mandatory hearing that is issued by the Bankruptcy Court.
It’s when you go to Court so that the trustee can meet with you and your attorney to review your bankruptcy petition and ask you questions under oath. Creditors are given the option to come to the meeting to ask questions about your bankruptcy, although most creditors opt not to come.
2.) Why is this necessary? When you appear for your meeting/hearing, your trustee will verify your identity, and then ask you questions about the information that is in your bankruptcy petition.
They do this because they are required by law to make sure that all of the financial numbers are accurate, including your monthly income and the value of any assets that you own. They need to do this in order to eliminate any possible red flags that point to fraudulent behavior.
Additionally, if you’re in a Chapter 13 plan, the trustee will decide whether or not your repayment plan is feasible based on your income. If s/he believes that it’s feasible and that all of your information is accurate, a judge will confirm the repayment plan and give your trustee permission to distribute money to your creditors.
If you’re in a Chapter 7 plan, the trustee will decide if you meet the criterion (i.e. you make below the median income for your household size) to not repay your creditors and receive a full discharge of debts.
3.) Can I request a specific hearing date? No. You are assigned a date and time, and that’s when you have to appear. If you do not show up to your hearing, your case may be dismissed, and you will have to pay additional fees.
It’s important to mark the date on your calendar ahead of time and rearrange your work schedule accordingly. You will get 30-40 days notice prior to your Meeting of Creditors, so that gives you plenty of time to adjust your schedule.
You also must arrive inside of the Courthouse 15 minutes before your hearing starts. For example, it your hearing starts at 9:00 am, you must meet your bankruptcy attorney inside of the Courthouse at 8:45 am.
This is important so that your attorney can answer any questions or provide you with additional information that is pertinent to your hearing before it begins.
A Meeting of Creditors is a required for every debtor who files for bankruptcy.
4.) Where do I go? If you are in the Western District of Kentucky, your Meeting of Creditors will be held in Room 509 (5th floor) of the Gene Snyder Courthouse located at 601 West Broadway, Louisville, KY 40202.
If you are in the Southern District of Indiana, your meeting will be held in Room 115 of the Lee Hamilton Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse at 121 W. Spring Street, New Albany, IN 47150.
5.) Is there a dress code? No, there is not a specific dress code, but you should dress respectfully. If you want to dress up, you may, but jeans are acceptable. Most trustees will make you remove hats or other head coverings in order to confirm identity (unless for religious reasons).
6.) How long does the actual hearing last? As long as there are no unforeseen circumstances, the hearing itself is usually very brief, lasting about ten minutes on average. The wait time varies, as the trustee may or may not be behind schedule, but the hearings usually run on time.
7.) What do I have to bring? You are required to bring your current driver’s license and your social security card. You must have both or else the Trustee will not hold your Court hearing.
If you are in a Chapter 13 plan in the Western District of Kentucky, you will also need to bring your first monthly plan payment to your hearing. The payment needs to be a check or money order made out to “William W. Lawrence, Trustee”.
Your subsequent monthly payments made after the Meeting of Creditors can be mailed to:
200 S. 7th Street
Suite 310, Legal Arts Building
Louisville, KY 40202
If you are in a Chapter 13 plan in the Southern District of Indiana, you will need to mail your first monthly plan payment directly to your Trustee’s office so that it arrives before your hearing date. The payment needs to be a check or money order made out to “Joseph M. Black, Trustee” and mailed to:
Joseph M. Black, Jr.
Office of Joseph M. Black, Jr.
P.O. Box 846
Seymour, IN 47274
**Please note that your bankruptcy case number should always be written on any check that you send to the trustee’s office!**
8.) Is it normal to be nervous? There is no need to be nervous, as your bankruptcy lawyer is with you during your hearing. If the trustee asks a question that you don’t understand, your lawyer will explain it to you so that you can answer it accurately and confidently.
While the term “Court hearing” sounds intimidating, it’s not a trial with a jury involved. It’s a meeting held in a boardroom, and it’s over before you know it!
As an experienced Louisville bankruptcy attorney, I understand that there are lots of questions surrounding the bankruptcy filing process. That’s why my clients can reach me on cell phone via text or phone call, or via my personal email.
I want to provide any reassurance that they need so that the process leaves them feeling hopeful, not stressed.
If you haven’t filed for bankruptcy, and want to know if it’s the best option for you, you can reach me on my cell at (502) 435-2593 (or email me at email@example.com) to schedule a free consultation. I’ll do whatever I can to get you on a path toward financial stability, and we can start today!
All the best,
Tracy L. Hirsch
Have questions about your free consultation? Text me at (502) 435-2593!