What is a Section 341 Meeting or Meeting of Creditors?
The Section 341 Meeting (so-called after §341 of the Bankruptcy Code), also called the Meeting of Creditors or Creditors’ Meeting, is a meeting that a debtor is required to attend after filing for bankruptcy. The meeting is conducted by the case trustee or the U.S. Trustee. The Bankruptcy Judge does not attend this meeting. The 341 meetings are held at 380 Westminster St., Suite 620 Providence, R.I. The debtor must appear at this meeting and testify, under oath, about his/her financial condition, assets and liabilities. The debtor will be asked questions about the information contained in the bankruptcy paperwork filed with the court. Creditors may also attend this meeting and may question the debtor about his/her financial affairs. Generally however, most of the questions originate from the case trustee. If a debtor fails to attend this required meeting, the case trustee may seek to dismiss the bankruptcy case. A debtor cannot receive a discharge in bankruptcy without attending this meeting unless a special exception is granted by the U.S. Trustee.
The Creditor's Meeting is held between twenty (20) to forty (40) days after the bankruptcy case is commenced. Within about a week after the bankruptcy case is filed, the debtor will receive notice by mail of the date and time of the Creditor's Meeting. The debtor is required to bring certain identification information to this meeting (such as proof of identification, bank statements, tax returns, etc.)
What is a ‘Creditor Mailing List'?
The creditor mailing list is a list of the names and current addresses of your creditors and other parties that should receive notice of your bankruptcy. The list is prepared by the debtor and their attorney and must be filed at the same time the bankruptcy case is commenced. As a debtor, it is your responsibility to ensure you have listed current, valid addresses for your creditors. If mail sent by you or the Clerk's office regarding your case is returned as "undeliverable," it is your responsibility to find a valid address for the creditor and to notify the Clerk's office of the correct address. Additionally, if you obtain a different address for a creditor after you file your bankruptcy petition, you must notify the Clerk's office in writing of the new address. (See creditor list instructions). Failure to properly serve a creditor at their required address could result in that debt being held nondischargeable in bankruptcy.
It is also possible for creditors and other parties to add themselves to the creditor mailing list. Names may be added or changed when a creditor files a proof of claim in your bankruptcy case or files a notice of change of address. Attorneys who appear in your case on behalf of a creditor will also be added to the creditor mailing list.
What is an adversary proceeding and when is an adversary proceeding required?
An adversary proceeding is a civil action within the bankruptcy case where a plaintiff sues one or more defendants. An adversary proceeding, as opposed to a motion, is required when a party seeks certain types of relief, such as a restraining order and injunction, denial of or exception to discharge, or for turnover of property. An adversary proceeding requires a filing fee. Click here for fees. The court will issue a summons which the plaintiff must serve on the defendant, who must respond to the complaint. The parties will conduct discovery, and the court will determine how to dispose of the complaint, either by summary disposition or after a trial.
What is an Ex Parte matter and how do I file for it?
The term "ex-parte" simply means without notice. An ex parte matter is any motion or request for relief where the requestor wants the court to grant relief without giving notice to all interested parties. Ex parte relief is seldom granted and is generally limited to requests for hearings on shortened time, or to other special circumstances where there is some justification for not having to give notice to all interested parties.
What is Exempt Property?
The debtor is permitted by law to keep certain property as exempt. Exempt property will not be sold and distributed to creditors. The debtor must file a list of all property claimed as exempt. You may inspect that list at the bankruptcy Clerk's office. If you believe that an exemption claimed by the debtor is not authorized by law, you may file an objection to that exemption. The bankruptcy Clerk's office must receive the objections by the "Deadline to Object to Exemptions" listed on the 341 notice you received.
What is the automatic stay?
The filing of a bankruptcy petition automatically stays (stops) most actions, including collections, foreclosures and repossessions, against the debtor or the debtor's property. It is called "automatic" because the stay begins automatically at the time the bankruptcy case is filed with the Clerk's office. Once the stay is in place, creditors are prohibited from taking certain actions against a debtor without court permission. Some creditors, particularly those involved with repossessions or foreclosures, may immediately file pleadings with the court to go forward with foreclosure or repossession actions. It is strongly recommended that you consult with a bankruptcy attorney to verify that the automatic stay is applicable to your specific circumstances!
What is the Bankruptcy Code?
First enacted in 1978 and substantially revised in 2005, the Bankruptcy Code contains the statutes (laws) that grant legal forgiveness of debt for businesses or individuals in financial difficulty. There are two primary types of bankruptcy relief available under the Code: liquidation (Chapter 7) or reorganization (Chapters 11, 12 and 13). These options are best discussed with a qualified attorney. The Bankruptcy Code is available on line at the court’s website, as well as at local law libraries. The text of the 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Statute is also available on our website
What is the difference between Chapters 7, 11 & 13
Chapter 7: Often called the "liquidation chapter," Chapter 7 is used by individuals, partnerships, or corporations who have no hope for repairing their financial situation. In Chapter 7, the debtor's estate is liquidated under the rules of the Bankruptcy Code. Liquidation is the process through which the debtor's non-exempt property is sold for cash by a case trustee and the cash is distributed to creditors. At the conclusion of this process, individual debtors receive a discharge of their dischargeable debts.
Chapter 11: Often called the "reorganization chapter," Chapter 11 allows corporations, partnerships, and individuals to reorganize their debts, without having to liquidate all their assets. In a Chapter 11 case, the debtor presents a plan to creditors which, if accepted by the creditors and approved by the Court, will allow the debtor to reorganize personal, financial or business affairs and again become financially productive.
Chapter 13: An individual with regular income who is overcome by debts, but believes such debts can be repaid within a reasonable period of time, may file under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. Chapter 13 permits the debtor to file a plan in which the debtor agrees to pay a certain percentage of future income to the Bankruptcy Court for payment to creditors. If the Court approves the plan, the debtor will be under the Court's protection while repaying such debts.
What is the function of the U.S. Trustee and where are they located?
The Office of the United States Trustee is an Executive Branch agency that is part of the Department of Justice. It is primarily responsible for monitoring the administration of bankruptcy cases and detecting bankruptcy fraud. It is also responsible for appointing case trustees to administer Chapter 7 cases and a standing trustee to manage Chapter 13 cases. The U. S. Trustee also provides support and oversight to debtors who have filed under Chapter 11. The individuals appointed by the U.S. Trustee to serve as case or standing trustees in bankruptcy are appointed on a rotating basis and come from a list that changes over time.
The Rhode Island office of the U. S. Trustee is located at:
10 Dorrance Street, 9th Floor, Providence, R.I. (401) 528-5551.
What is the proper way to electronically sign a document?
The required method for electronically signing a document is to type /s/ YOUR NAME on the signature line, such as /s/ John Doe. See LBR 5005-4(b)(2)(C)(ii).
What Should I do if I paid fees in the wrong case?
Contact the Clerk’s office immediately and the fee can applied to the correct case once the document is re-filed in the correct case.
What should I do if I’m not sure that I’ve completed the filing of a document?
Run your Transaction Log from CM/ECF- it's FREE. The log displays all transactions completed by you during a selected date range. If you are not certain that a transaction was successful, review the Transaction Log before you attempt to re-file a document. To run the Transaction Log go to Utilities >> View Your Transaction Log >> Enter a date range. All successful ECF transactions by date, case number and type will display.
What your signature means
If you are a debtor, your signature on the petition and statements and schedules constitutes an oath that the information is accurate and complete. The Bankruptcy Code provides serious penalties for false statements (see section 727(a)(4)(A). Title 18 of the United States Code (Crimes and Criminal Procedure) section 152 also makes it a crime to knowingly and fraudulently omit property, make a false oath or account, or make a false declaration or verification. If you are a creditor U.S.C. section 152 makes it a crime to knowingly and fraudulently present a false claim.
When should I file a Proof of Claim with the Court?
In virtually all Chapter 7 cases, the first notice you receive from the Clerk's office will tell you not to file a claim until told to do so at a later date. Upon examination of the debtor, if the case trustee believes the Chapter 7 case may have nonexempt assets available for distribution to creditors, he/she will notify the Clerk's office to send a special notice to creditors to file claims and establishing a claims filing deadline. If you receive a notice that sets a deadline for filing claims, you must timely file the proof of claim with the Clerk's office in order to be eligible to participate in any distribution in the case. If you are mailing your claim to the Clerk's office, you must ensure that it is received by the filing deadline in order to be considered timely filed. In Chapter 11 and 13 cases, the first notice you receive from the Clerk's office will contain a deadline for filing claims. If you want to participate in the debtor's repayment plan, you MUST file a proof of claim with the Clerk's office by the deadline indicated on the notice. Your claim must be received by the Clerk's office by this deadline (not mailed by that date).
If someone who owes you money has filed bankruptcy, but you have not received a written notice about the bankruptcy, you can submit to the Clerk's office a written Request to be Added to the Creditor Mailing List. Include your mailing address in this request so that the Clerk's office can add you to the creditor list and send you future notices about the debtor's bankruptcy case.
Where can I get more information?