People are often nervous about the Vancouver, Washington Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Meeting of the Creditors. The real source of this anxiety is that they have no idea what to expect.

In Washington, each Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petition Filer must attend the Meeting of the Creditors or their 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. If you filed your case in the Vancouver, Washington metro area, your hearing will be easy to find: All Chapter 13 Creditors Meetings are held in the Vancouver Federal Building at 500 West 12th on the Second Floor. The Federal Building is across the street from the Clark County Courthouse. 

You should arrive about thirty minutes before your hearing so that you can hear other cases before yours. Present at the hearing is David Howe, the Washington Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee and an assistant.  Other individuals and their attorneys waiting for their hearings will be in the room as well. In Washington, creditors rarely attend and if they do, they will be well behaved.

The Washington Chapter 13 Bankruptcy trustee will handle all the different hearings that day. Your hearing should not last much longer than five minutes. The Washington Trustee will have your Bankruptcy Attorney ask some introductory questions off a list to determine your identity. After your Bankruptcy Attorney runs through these question,the Washington Bankruptcy 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 Washington, the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee will almost always ask the following questions:

1.)               How much money did you have in the bank account on the date of filing? 

2.)                Have you repaid any money to family or friends in the last couple years?

3.)                Have you paid any creditor more than $600 in the last 120 days?

4.)                Do you own a home, what is its taxed assessed value, and what do you think it would sell for now?

5.)                Have you been garnished in the last four months days and, if so, how much did they get?

6.)                Have you sold anything (like real estate or cars) in the last few years before you filed our Chapter 13 Petition?


Remember that the filing date is listed on the notice the court sent you, it is listed on the first line directly below the shaded area near the top of the notice. 

Remember to bring COPIES and not ORIGINALS of the following information with you regardless of whether you have already provided them to your bankruptcy attorney:

  1.   Your last filed Tax Return
  2.   Your last 3 Months worth of Pay stubs 
  3. Copies of alll your bank statement covering both the filing date and the day before it. Note: Online printouts are fine as long as they identify you as the account holder
  4. A valuation for any real estate owned such as a CMA or a county tax assessmen statement.

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 U.S. passport, (5) a military ID.  

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. Important: If you cannot find any proof of social security number, get to the hearing early and get it from the IRS Office on the first floor, they will print out a tax statement that will satisfy the Trustee. 

Getting nervous about your Washington Chapter 13 Creditors Meeting is understandable. However, you should  know that this is not a court proceeding in which you will be subjected to harsh treatment or browbeating tactics–no one is going to be shaking their fingers at you or asking you to justify why you are filing at al.

In the end, little will be determined with any real finality at your Vancouver, Washington Chapter 13 Creditors Meeting other than the next logical steps for getting your Chapter 13 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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