As I sit in the Riverside Chapter 7 meeting of creditors room and watch the debtors go talk to chapter 7 panel trustee Karl Anderson. I see attorneys hand the trustee amendments that were done the day before the hearing. Or amendments that have not yet been filed. These late amendments to the petition pose two problems for the trustee.
First the Trustee has not seen the amendment and has not had time to review it. If he takes the time to review the amendment at the hearing, then he may miss something in the paperwork and then will have to call the debtor back on another day when he does find that the amendment raises more questions.
The second problem is that by reviewing and amendment at the hearing, the trustee takes time away from other cases that were prepared and ready to go. This delays the hearings of many people for the convenience of one person.
The solution is to file amendments to the petition before the meeting of creditors at least two weeks in advance. The Court will then send a ecf copy to the trustee to review. In addition, a hard copy should be sent to the trustee by US Mail. This extra caution saves some debtors. Then also bring a copy of the amendment to the hearing–just in case the trustee has time to review at the hearing.
When I make an amendment, I enclose a cover letter with the amended schedules and state what has been amended and why. I try to make the Trustee and the Trustee’s assistant’s job as easy as possible. The cover letter explains the situation and focuses their attention on the important part of the new papers rather that having them guess what was changed.
Practice Pointer: Spell out in a cover letter what is being amended and why it was amended. Then send the cover letter and filed stamped copy of the amendment to the Chapter 7 Trustee at least 2 weeks before the meeting of creditors. You might follow up by calling the trustee’s assistant to see if the amendment was received.
Then at the meeting of creditors, bring another copy of the file-stamped amendment that the trustee can keep for his file. This way you and your client, will be certain that the trustee has the most up to date paperwork on your case.