Chapter 7 Meeting of Creditors

Meetings of creditors for Denver cases are held in the U.S. Trustee's Meeting Room, Byron G. Rogers Federal Building, 1961 Stout Street, Suite 16−200, Denver, CO 80294, Denver, Colorado.

Under section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code, a debtor must attend a meeting of creditors (also called the “341 meeting”). The meeting is conducted by a panel trustee, who is usually a private attorney hired by the United States Trustee’s Office. The trustee as well as the date and time of the meeting are assigned automatically by the court at the time the bankruptcy petition is filed, which is also when the case is assigned to a specific judge. The 341 meeting occurs approximately 4-6 weeks after the bankruptcy petition is filed at the court.

Meetings of creditors are scheduled for every day of the week. Each case is assigned to a half-hour docket of approximately 5-6 cases. The 341 meeting is an opportunity for the trustee to review the bankruptcy petition and supporting documents like the statement of financial affairs, schedules of assets and liabilities, budget, and means test. A chapter 7 trustee’s job includes identifying, collecting and liquidating (turning into money) any nonexempt assets or property of the bankruptcy estate available to pay unsecured creditors.

At least ten days before the 341 meeting, a debtor (through his or her attorney if represented) should have provided the trustee with copies of the most recent federal and state tax returns with supporting documents like W-2s and Forms 1099. A debtor also must provide legible copies of certain pay stubs and financial statements. The trustee reviews the debtor’s pay stubs received post petition to figure out how much the debtor had earned, but not yet been paid, as of the date that the petition was filed at the bankruptcy court. The trustee also reviews bank or other financial statements to see how much money the debtor had on deposit in bank or other financial accounts on the petition date. The Trustee’s Information Sheet and a statement about domestic support obligations must be completed and signed by each debtor before meeting with the trustee. At the meeting, each debtor must provide the trustee with a current, government-issued photo identification (usually a driver’s license) and a social security card to verify identity. Photocopies of IDs or social security cards may not be acceptable. A trustee may continue or postpone the meeting to another date if a debtor does not have proper documentation or identification.

During a 341 meeting, a trustee asks a debtor questions under oath or penalty of perjury and allows any creditor who shows up to ask questions. The debtor’s attorney appears with the debtor at the meeting, but the trustee’s questions are to be answered by the debtor. Creditors usually do not appear at the 341 meeting, but they still have sixty days after the meeting to file an objection to discharge. Questions should be answered truthfully and concisely, without rambling. The trustee or a creditor can ask follow-up questions if more information is necessary. Listen to each question carefully, and briefly answer the question asked. If a question is unclear, ask that it be re-phrased.

The actual time spent with the trustee is usually minimal – less than 5-10 minutes in the average, no-asset case. But a trustee’s docket may be delayed by an hour or more, especially later in the morning or the afternoon. Anticipate a delay when making parking arrangements and scheduling other matters that day.

My bankruptcy help usually has been limited to residents of the Denver 341-meeting-of-creditors region, which includes the following counties in Colorado: Denver, Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Cheyenne, Clear Creek, Douglas, Elbert, Gilpin, Grand, Jackson, Jefferson, Kit Carson, Lake, Lincoln, Park, Routt, Summit, Washington, and Yuma. Meetings of creditors for residents of other Colorado counties are assigned by the U.S. Trustee to Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Grand Junction, and Pueblo.

Checklist of Key Documents Required for Chapter 7 Meeting of Creditors

☑︎ Driver license or government-issued photo ID

☑︎ Social Security card

☑︎ Most recently filed federal tax return (must be provided to trustee no later than seven court days before meeting of creditors to avoid dismissal of case)

☑︎ Bankruptcy Information Sheet Form

☑︎ Chapter 7 Trustee’s Information Sheet

☑︎ Domestic Support Obligations Form

☑︎ Pay stubs showing any earnings earned but not received as of the date of the filing of the bankruptcy petition (usually the first couple of pay stubs received post petition depending on pay frequency)

☑︎ Financial statements showing the balance as of the date of the filing of the bankruptcy petition for any checking, savings, money market, certificate of deposit, custodial, or other financial account that debtor owns, has his or her name on, or to which debtor has any right whatsoever