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What to expect at the Chapter 13 creditors meeting

In Massachusetts, many people who are struggling with debt will not qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. For these individuals, filing for Chapter 13 is generally still an option. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor enters into a three- or five-year repayment plan, supervised by the court. If the debtor makes all installment payments under the plan he or she will receive a discharge at the end of the plan.

After a debtor files for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the court will appoint a trustee to manage the plan, collect payments from the debtor and distribute them to creditors. The debtor will be required to attend a meeting of creditors within 21 to 50 days after filing the Chapter 13 petition. If a married couple files for Chapter 13 together, they must both attend the meeting.

In most Chapter 13 cases, the creditors' meeting is relatively short and matter-of-fact. Despite its title, in most cases, creditors do not show up for the meeting. The participants are usually the debtor, his or her attorney and the trustee.

The trustee will place the debtor under oath and ask a series of questions. If creditors are present, they may also ask questions. The trustee may ask the debtor for certain documents, like pay stubs, mortgage statements and financial statements. Any issues with the proposed plan are typically resolved at the meeting or shortly after the meeting. After the meeting, a hearing will be scheduled for the court to approve the plan.

The Chapter 13 creditors' meeting is an important step in the bankruptcy process. It is important for the debtor to show-up prepared and ready to answer questions. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help the debtor get through the meeting with a minimum of stress.

Source: USCourts.gov, "Chapter 13 - Bankruptcy Basics," accessed on April 3, 2016

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