Here is an outline of what to expect in Manhattan (Southern District of New York) and Brooklyn (Eastern District of New York) Bankruptcy meeting of creditors.
First, you will sit in a room with several other (usually 10 to 35 people) debtors waiting in line for there cases to be called. The trustee will have different calendar calls (usually 9:30 is the first and 2:30 is the last). At 9:30 the Bankruptcy trustee will call the first case. Please note that if your case is set for 9:30 there are usually several other people at the same time and the 9:30 calendar can go far over the 12:30 calendar (plan on sitting for a few hours). Once your case is called the trustee will ask for your license and social security card (originals are required). Next, he will verify them and ask the attorney for his appearance. The trustee will put the debtor under oath. The trustee will then ask if there are any creditors who would like to ask questions (rare that there are any and the trustee will not let them ask many questions in the interest of time). Now the trustee will start asking some basic questions about the petition. Yes and no answers are greatly appreciated. Similarly, the exact dates are very helpful.
Currently, do to the COVID virus the meetings are being done over the phone or via zoom. You will still need your license and social security card with you. Make sure to take the second online debtor education course before that meeting. If you use my office I will call you the day before to prepare you and we will both call into the teleconference about 10 minutes before the meeting. Make sure to keep your phone on mute and not to put the trustee on hold. There will be several people on the phone at the same time. Once your case is called take your phone off mute to answer the trustee’s questions.
If you have retained me then I will forward you the call information via email as soon as I get it.
So, here are some sample questions:
1. Have you read the Bankruptcy information sheet?
2. Would you still like to file for bankruptcy?
3. Is this your signature on the petition?
4. Have you read the entire petition and would you like to make any changes to it?
5. Have you ever owned any real property? When, and what happened to it? How much did you make from the sale of the property? What did you do with the money?
6. Do you have a car?
7. When is the last time you used a credit card and for what?
8. When is the last time you paid a credit card off?
9. Do you have the right to sue anyone?
10. Are you holding any property for someone or is anyone holding property for you?
11. How did you get in this situation?
12. What is the highest balance you have had in an account in the last year before filing your case(at 1 moment in time)? What about the last 2 years? Where did the money come from and what did you do with it?
13. Have you given any friends or family members money, assets or anything of value in the 6 years before filing your case? Typically the trustee is looking for something valuable like a large gift or multiple payments that benefit someone else(such as paying a family member’s car loan or their mortgage).
Then maybe a few direct questions about your petition. Then usually the trustee will say have a nice day and you are finished! Do not hesitate to contact my office if you have questions about this process (212-244-2882)