I Can’t Make It to My Creditors Meeting — Now What Do I Do?

29 Oct I Can’t Make It to My Creditors Meeting — Now What Do I Do?

There really are few reasons which are good enough to justify rescheduling a bankruptcy meeting of creditors (or section 341(a) meeting). After all, the bankruptcy filing amounts to “making a federal case out of things,” and it just doesn’t seem right for the debtor to fail to make room in his or her schedule to show up to be examined by the trustee, as the law requires.

Bankruptcy trustees have been known to remark that the debtor chose voluntarily to file the bankruptcy case, and if the debtor wasn’t going to have time to appear for mandatory meetings, perhaps a better time should have been chosen to file the case.

Rescheduling the creditors meeting can mean additional attorney fees, inconveniencing the other parties involved, disrupting your lawyer’s schedule, and, worst of all, impressing people with how little the bankruptcy case might really mean to the debtor. Rescheduling will also result in extra court notices being served on the trustee and other parties in the case. Thus these parties are unnecessarily reminded of the case’s existence — and if they have been unsure about whether they should file objections to the case, a rescheduling of the creditors meeting might be just what they needed to help them decide to go ahead and object.

If the debtor has a real emergency, such as a serious illness or other circumstance making it impossible to attend, rescheduling the creditors meeting would normally be necessary. It is a simple matter for your bankruptcy lawyer to contact the trustee, inform him or her of the problem, obtain a new date for the meeting, and send out a notice of the rescheduling to the creditors and other parties in interest.

Yes, the meeting of creditors can be rescheduled, but it should done only as a last resort and only when absolutely necessary.

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Craig W. Andresen is a consumer bankruptcy lawyer in Bloomington, Minnesota, with 22 years’ experience in consumer and small business bankruptcy cases. He is the Minnesota chair of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, and is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Bankruptcy Section. Mr. Andresen lectures often on the topic of consumer bankruptcy at local and national legal seminars.
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