Many debtors are apprehensive about the first meeting of creditors and do not really understand what it is. This article will briefly explain what happens and what is expected of you. In Oregon, each bankruptcy petition signer must attend or the chapter 13 bankruptcy will be dismissed. You will want to verify the address of where the hearing is held and understand directions before the date of your hearing.
Ideally, you should come about a half an hour early so that you can hear other cases before yours. Present at the hearing is the Portland Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee or one of his staff attorneys and an assistant. Other individuals and their attorneys waiting for their hearings will be in the room as well. In Oregon, creditors rarely attend and if they do, your bankruptcy attorney is there to represent you.
The Portland Chapter 13 Bankruptcy trustee will handle all the different hearings that day. Your hearing should not last a long time perhaps ten minutes at the longest. The trustee will ask you several questions to determine if you have any assets or income that might justify increasing your Chapter 13 Plan Payment. The questions are nothing to worry about and debtors are nearly always asked the same questions. In Oregon, the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee will want to know the following:
1.) How much in wages you were owed on the date the bankruptcy was filed
2.) Have you repaid any debts to friends or family members in the last year
3.) How much money did you have in the bank account on the date of filing?
4.) Are you own a home, what is the county tax assessment, and what do you think it would sell for?
5.) Have you paid an unsecured creditor more than $600 in the last 120 days?
6.) Have you been garnished in the last 120 days and if so by whom and how much did they get?
7.) Have you sold any property in the two years prior to filing your Chapter 13 Petition?
Please note that the filing date is NOT the date in the upper right hand corner of the notice the court sent you, it is listed on the first line directly below the shaded area near the top of the notice. He will also ask about tax refunds. Come early and you can observe others before you.
Make sure to bring COPIES and not ORIGINALS of the following information with you regardless of whether you have already provided them to your bankruptcy attorney:
- copy of your bank statement(s) which cover the filing date and the day before it(the online variety is fine)
- Your last 3 Months worth of Pay stubs
- Your last filed Tax Return
- A valuation for any real estate owned such as a county tax assessment or a CMA
You will be required to prove your identity by presenting a photo ID and proof of social security number
Acceptable forms of photo ID include: (1) a drivers license, (2) a government ID, (3) a state picture ID, (4) a student ID, (5) a United States passport, (6) a military ID, and (7) a resident alien card. You will also be required to provide documents verifying the accuracy of you reported social security number.
Acceptable forms of proof of social security number include: (1) a social security card, (2) a medical insurance card, (3) a pay stub, (4) a W-2 form, (5) an IRS form 1099, and (6) a Social Security Administration report. Original photo ID and ORIGINAL proof of social security number required.
It is understandable if you are nervous. However, I want you to know that this is not an event where you will be subject to grueling or extensive questioning. In the end, nothing is likely to be decided with any real finality at your Oregon Chapter 13 Creditors Meeting other than the next steps for getting your Plan confirmed. The hearing itself more than anything is the starting point of the dialogue between your, your attorney and the Chapter 13 Trustee to determine an appropriate payment plan. The Trustee wants your Chapter 13 Plan to succeed.
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