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Meeting of Creditors: What is It and How do I Prepare?

Everyone who files for bankruptcy must attend a meeting of creditors. Attending the meeting is a mandatory part of any bankruptcy proceeding in the US. Your application for bankruptcy will be denied if you don’t attend the meeting.

Here you will learn what is the Meeting of Creditors and how you can prepare for one after filing a bankruptcy plan.

Meeting of Creditors: An Overview

The Meeting of Creditors takes place between 20 to 45 days after filing for bankruptcy. The meeting is carried out to confirm that the assets you have disclosed in your bankruptcy petition are complete and accurate.

This meeting is also known as 341 Meeting of Creditors. The meeting is aptly named since it is required by section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code.

The meeting is generally held in a federal building, but it does not take place in the courtroom. Most likely you may be required to meet in a conference room. The Bankruptcy Trustee will conduct the meeting. While creditors may be present in the meeting, but this is not always the case.

How to Prepare for the Meeting of Creditors?

Here are some of the important things you need to do before you attend the Meeting of Creditors.

1. Verify Information

Before attending the meeting, you should verify that all the information in the application is accurate. Make sure that the personal information in the bankruptcy petition matches with the state issued identification card.

Also, you should double check that you have listed all the assets in the application. This is critical as your application will be rejected if you don’t declare all your assets.

2. Gather Required Documents

You should have with you all the documents that are mentioned in the letter sent by the Bankruptcy Trustee. The following are some of the documents that are generally required for the meeting.

  • Pay stubs
  • Tax returns (last two years)
  • Mortgage documents (copies)
  • Car titles
  • Property deeds

Apart from the above, you may also be required to bring documents that can be used to check your identity. These include government ID that mentions the name and social security number, driving license, US passport, resident alien card, etc.

3. Anticipate Questions

The Trustee can ask you anything during the Meeting of Creditors. However, generally, the question relates to the declared assets.

You may be asked to confirm under oath that you have declared all your assets. You may also be asked that all the information in the bankruptcy petition is accurate. You will be asked whether you want to make any changes in the document.

The Trustee may also ask if you have any claims such as personal injury or worker compensation claims. As well as if you have read the information in the Bankruptcy information statement and know the difference between different types of bankruptcy such as Chapter 7., 11., and 13.

Final Remarks

A Meeting of Creditors is a mandatory requirement when filing a bankruptcy application. The aim of the meeting is to ensure that the applicant has divulged all the information, and also that he/she understands the procedure moving on forward. The meeting is not a cross-examination but an attempt to ensure the applicant is honest and fully understands the purpose of filing bankruptcy.

You should consult with a professional bankruptcy lawyer. An experienced bankruptcy attorney will provide you detailed information and fully prepare you for the Meeting of Creditors.

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Attorney Eli Tamkin is a Cleveland bankruptcy lawyer.  He has been practicing law since 1989 and in Cleveland Ohio since 1994. Since then, he has dealt with a variety of legal issues, including bankruptcy, real estate, divorce, personal injury, and probate. Many times, answering questions on bankruptcy draws on knowledge of other legal areas as well. His experience in these other areas, as well as in bankruptcy enables him to address your particular needs and to offer you advice that is applicable to your situation.

Can I Keep My Tax Refund if I File a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

If you are contemplating about filing for a bankruptcy, you probably have a lot of questions regarding the aftermath. At the top of the list will probably be questions about your tax refund.

Before you file, it’s important you understand that it could affect your refund. In this article, you will learn how chapter 7 could affect your tax refund and also what measures you can take to protect it.

Tax Refund and Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a court-appointed trustee who is a representative of your creditors will collect your assets and liquidate them. The proceeds are used to pay your creditors.

All your assets will be transferred to the bankruptcy estate when you file chapter 7. This includes both tangible assets like your house and car, and intangible assets such as tax refund that is owed to you, but not yet paid.

If you have filed at a time when a tax refund is due, the trustee can claim it or a portion of it along with other assets. Even if your tax return is to be prepared a few months after filing, it will be claimed by the trustee if the refund is owed to you.

The fact that you didn’t know that a tax refund was due does not mean that a refund is not due.

How to Prevent Your Tax Refund from Being Transferred to a Trustee?

Proper timing is important if you want to protect your tax refund. You can prevent your refund from being collected by the trustee if you receive and spend the refund BEFORE you file a Chapter 7 as long asyou spend the money for necessities and you do not pay back money you owe to relatives, and also you do not pay back any creditor more than than the usual payment.  Be prepared to tell the trustee how you spent the money at the 341 creditor’s meeting.

However, you should consult with a bankruptcy attorney before using this strategy to protect your refund. You can easily spend the refund in ways that may seem sensible but can raise red flags upon close evaluation.

Another way you can protect your tax refund after filing for bankruptcy protection is through exemptions. Congress and state laws have established exemptions. The federal or state exemptions can be claimed by filing Schedule C: The Property You Claim as Exempt (individuals).

You can use cash-on-hand exemption ($475..00) or wildcard exemptions ($1,250.000) for protecting your tax refund, However, you can use the exemptions only if they have not been used to exempt other assets. Also, you should note that to claim exemptions in a particular state, you must have lived in the state for about two years prior to filing for bankruptcy.

Moreover, earned income credit (EIC) and child tax credit (CTC) are exempted from the bankruptcy estate without the need to claim them. EIC is a benefit for individuals with low to moderate income. On the other hand, CTC provides a credit of up to $1,000 per child under the age of 17.

You should consult with an experienced Cleveland bankruptcy lawyer to understand you options about protecting your tax refund when filing a chapter 7.

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Attorney Eli Tamkin is a Cleveland bankruptcy lawyer.  He has been practicing law since 1989 and in Cleveland Ohio since 1994. Since then, he has dealt with a variety of legal issues, including bankruptcy, real estate, divorce, personal injury, and probate. Many times, answering questions on bankruptcy draws on knowledge of other legal areas as well. His experience as an attorney in these other areas, as well as in bankruptcy enables him to address your particular needs and to offer you advice that is applicable to your situation.

What Happens to All my Debts on My Credit Report after I File a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a viable option when you’re overwhelmed with financial difficulties. It releases you from personal liabilities for most debts, depending on your financial situation. However, before you file, you should know about the aftermath.

One important question that you need to consider when filing a Chapter 7 is what happens to your debts on your credit report. Knowing the answer to this question will ensure that you don’t face unexpected financial problems after filing.

Debts on Credit Card Report After Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

After you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there is a Stay imposed by the Court whereby creditors are prohibited from engaging in any more collection activities.  About 3 months after you file, or about 2 months after the 341 creditors meeting, the Court will issue an order, discharging you of you debts.

But discharge of a debt after a Chapter 7 does not erase your financial history.

All your debts will still show on your credit report. However, the report will also show that your debts are discharged and you have zero debt.

But why are your debts shown in the credit card report? Shouldn’t the debts be wiped out from the credit report once they are discharged?

To understand why credit card report shows discharged debts, you should know the purpose of the report.

Information in the credit report is used by credit agencies to assess your credit worthiness. In order to help credit agencies to properly assess your risk, the credit reporting agencies don’t wipe out debts that are discharged in bankruptcy.  The debts will remain in the credit report for 10 years after filing for bankruptcy protection.

How Will Bankruptcy Status Affect Your Credit Score?

A  bankruptcy can have a negative effect on your credit score;  However, it is possible to Repair your credit score over time. The most effective way to restore your credit score is for a creditor to report to the credit bureau that you paid a bill. . You should consider paying your bills as early as possible as this will have a major impact on your credit score.

In conclusion, a bankruptcy will have a negative impact on your credit score. But the negative consequence will wear off with time, and you will be able to rebuild your credit. For more information on how debts will affect your credit history after filing a Chapter 7, you should contact an experienced Cleveland bankruptcy attorney.

A bankruptcy lawyer will help you not only discharge debts quickly, but also provide guidance on how to improve your credit score. You can get information on how to discharge both secured and unsecured debts by filing a Chapter 7.  Moreover, he will assist you in removing false status reported in your credit report. This is a time-consuming and extremely difficult process that can only be solved with the help of an attorney.

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Attorney Eli Tamkin is a Cleveland bankruptcy lawyer.  He has been practicing law since 1989 and in Cleveland Ohio since 1994. Since then, he has dealt with a variety of legal issues, including bankruptcy, real estate, divorce, personal injury, and probate. Many times, answering questions on bankruptcy draws on knowledge of other legal areas as well. His experience in these other areas, as well as in bankruptcy enables him to address your particular needs and to offer you advice that is applicable to your situation.

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