This morning I sat and waited with my client for her 341 meeting of the creditors. The room is open so everyone can see and hear all other cases being administered. If you have filed a bankruptcy using an experienced or knowledgeable attorney then this process should be fairly smooth; generally the trustee will ask you no more than five minutes worth of questions about your assets and liabilities. While I don’t get to see how other attorneys run their practice I do get to see their cases get administered at the 341. Today I saw probably one of the worst bankruptcy filings that I have seen in a long time. Here are some things to look out for.
A bankruptcy attorney will likely ask you to provide him or her with certain documents, typically bank statements, tax returns, paystubs, household goods inventory, etc. The attorney needs these documents for two purposes; one the documents are needed in order to fill out the bankruptcy petition of the debtor; two the documents are likely required by the bankruptcy trustee prior to the meeting of the creditors. If your attorney has failed to ask you to provide these documents, unless they don’t exist, then you have hired a bad bankruptcy attorney.
The bankruptcy petition is the legal document that your attorney files on your behalf in federal court. The most important parts of this document, for purposes of bankruptcy, is that it lists all of your creditors. You must sign a document saying that the information contained in the bankruptcy petition is true and correct to the best of your knowledge under the penalty of perjury. In order to sign such document your attorney MUST REVIEW YOUR PETITION WITH YOU prior to filing. If your attorney is asking you to sign blank papers, you should walk away immediately. The attorney today filed the bankruptcy petition without listing a single creditor of the debtor…. Therefore no debt will be discharged in the bankruptcy.
Social Security and Driver’s License
A competent bankruptcy attorney will let you know ahead of time that you need to bring proof of ID and social security card with you to the meeting of the creditors or your case will not get heard.
It’s never too late to change bankruptcy attorneys, even after you have filed your case. Obviously you will have to pay additional fees to the new attorney but it’s better to pay and have the process completed correctly.
If you are thinking of filing for bankruptcy and would like to schedule a free consultation with Shmucher Law, PL then feel free to give us a call at 954.309.5559 or 305.741.5553.