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I Filed Bankruptcy Myself and I’m Concerned About My Trustee Meeting

Written by Steve Rhode

Question:

Dear Steve,

I filed Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy pro se as I couldn’t come up with the money to pay an attorney. My filing has been accepted by the bankruptcy court. I was able to file as non-consumer debt, since more than 51% of what I owe is due to a failed S-Corp restaurant that was closed 7 months ago, but I remain a guarantor on the debt.

Since I filed the papers on my own with the bankruptcy court, is there anything I should be extra diligent about learning for the creditors meeting? Anything I should be scared of? I filed honestly and to the best of my ability. The people in the Bankruptcy clerk’s office seem helpful and respectful. Will the Trustee be this way too?

Maureen

Answer:

Dear Maureen,

At the core of this the situation is not about respect and helpfulness, which are awesome by the way. I can certainly appreciate the predicament you are in and why you made the choice to go it alone.

However, the underlying issue here is one of getting specific legal advice for your situation. Neither the clerks or the trustee is there to correct any mistakes you might have inadvertently made.

As the U.S. Courts website says, “Filing personal bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 takes careful preparation and understanding of legal issues. Misunderstandings of the law or making mistakes in the process can affect your rights. Court employees and bankruptcy judges are prohibited by law from offering legal advice.” – Source

The Trustee meeting can be a simple affair or a bit of a grilling depending if your creditors show up. That bit is hard to predict.

Without specific advice from an attorney in your district who is experienced in working in that court district, I’m afraid the best you do is not set any expectations and try to study up and be familiar with the United States Bankruptcy Code, the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, and the local rules of the court in which the case is filed.

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Please update me in the comments below about how your meeting goes.

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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

4 Comments

  • The meeting was today. It was brief and quite honestly not deserving of all of my worry. I had done the paperwork correctly and honestly.
    My mortgage holder did have someone there and asked why I was NOT reaffirming my mortgage.
    I am current on my mortgage and my 2 consultations with attorneys led me to not reaffirm, but continue making payments. The representative told me the credit union would begin foreclosure
    immediately if I don’t reaffirm. I told him 2 attorneys advised me they could not repossess my home in Michigan if I am current on my payments. The payments will not be reported to the credit bureaus,but they cannot take my house. I sure hope that is accurate, but the Trustee heard the “threat” of foreclosure and said nothing. Can you advise if the attorneys were accurate?

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