Good manners will get you a long way in your bankruptcy meeting of creditors. Today I had meetings all morning and into the afternoon. The process could have been much more pleasant and efficient had some of the debtors present respected those around then and themselves. Your failure as a debtor reflects upon you and your attorney.
Here are the the finer points of good manners at the meeting of creditors:
- Dress right.
- Be on time
- Have your correct paper work
- Answer the question the trustee asks
Good manners in the meeting of creditors means you dress right. I know, you are filing bankruptcy. No one expects you to buy a new suit for the meeting. You just need to remember that it is an official proceeding of the bankruptcy court. At a minimum the clothes should be and smell clean for the benefit of those around you. At least in the Northern District of Ohio, no shorts.
Be on Time
Being on time for your meeting of creditors shows good manners as well. Forget on time, be at least a half hour early. Things happen. Accidents, road closures, expected parking garages. Give yourself adequate time to be where you need to be. Make sure in advance you know where to be. In Cleveland, the Federal general division and the bankruptcy court are in different buildings about a mile apart. If you rely on a GPS, you will wind up at the wrong building.
Have Your Paperwork
Some trustee’s want you to bring additional paperwork. At a minimum you will need a drivers license, or other valid government issued id plus a social security card, or original W2. Don’t assume your social security number is on you Ohio drivers license. It isn’t. Hasn’t been for years. Having what you need to bring makes your meeting go smoothly.
Answer only the Question Asked
Answering the questions the trustee asks show good manners and respect for him and everyone else there. Your trustee will take in up to 5 cases each half hour. He knows what he wants to get from the meeting. He’s not your buddy. This is not a conversation. He will ask questions. Listen, and answer the question he asks. Don’t volunteer information. If he asks a question that yes, no or a number will answer, don’t add explanations.
I know you are a bit nervous, don’t become a chatter box. All it does is drag out your meeting, and make the trustee late for everyone after you. In addition your loose lips could raise issues the trustee will have to investigate further because they are now recorded.
Good manners in your meeting of creditors means showing respect for the other people who are there. This means other debtors, trustees, and attorneys. Bad manners draws attention to you. This is the last thing you need in a bankruptcy case.
If you enjoy the bankruptcy alphabet game, visit the sites of these other lawyers:
- Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska Bankruptcy Attorney, Ryan D. Caldwell says G is for General Unsecured Creditor.
- New York Bankruptcy Lawyer, Jay S. Fleischman who says G is for Garnishment.
- Maui Bankruptcy Attorney, Stuart Ing who talks about Garnishment too.
- Northern California Bankruptcy Lawyer, Cathy Moran says G is for Guaranty.
- Colorado Springs Bankruptcy Attorney Bob Doig says G is for Goals.
- Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney, Mark J. Markus says G is for Gifts.
- Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney, Monica D. Shepard has an article that says G is for Guilt.
- Philadelphia Suburban Bankruptcy Lawyer, Chris Carr MBA thinks G is Garnishment as well.
- Livonia Michigan, Bankruptcy Attoney, Peter Behrmann claims G is for Guaranty.