With increasing prices, many people are struggling under mounds of debt. Credit cards, car loans and personal loans add up quickly, and you may not be able to afford the payments any longer. If you've found yourself in this situation, you may be considering filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. While bankruptcy can be just what you need to get out of debt, it can also be stressful. Check out these four things to expect at your bankruptcy meeting of trustees.

You'll Need ID and Paperwork

Above all, make sure you bring an official, government-issued identification, such as your driver's license or military ID, so you can prove your identity. You'll also want to bring your Social Security card. Without these two items, the hearing cannot take place because they protect the government and you against bankruptcy fraud.

You may also need copies of car titles, home deeds, etc. You've likely given all this information to your attorney, but don't assume they will bring it for you. Speak with your attorney so you know what you should bring yourself, and it's never wrong to bring copies for yourself in case something is misplaced.

You'll Be Under Oath

The meeting of creditors is nothing like an actual court hearing, but you will be under oath before answering any questions. However, do not let this overwhelm you and deter you from filing for bankruptcy. The hearing does not take place in an actual court room, and there is no judge or jury. Instead, you speak with the trustee before an audience of people waiting for their own hearings.

Another way the meeting of creditors is different than an actual court hearing is that it is extremely short. You may have to sit in the audience for a while before your hearing, but once it's your turn, the process is fast, and you can immediately leave unless instructed otherwise.

Creditors Can Speak to You

Another reason you may shy away from filing for bankruptcy is that the creditors can speak to you and ask you questions at the meeting of creditors. On the plus side, most creditors do not bother to attend, as it is usually a waste of time and money for them because your debt will likely be erased.

If you own a home and/or car that you want to keep, those lenders may attend, but they are only there to ensure you plan on repaying them after the bankruptcy. Other creditors may attend and ask questions if you recently incurred a lot of credit card debt or if the information on your bankruptcy papers doesn't match your credit card application.

You'll Be Asked Specific Questions

Once it's time for you to speak with the trustee, you only need to worry about answering some standard questions. Depending on where you live and who your trustee is, the questions will vary, but you will be asked to confirm your personal information (name, address, etc.). Other questions include:

  • Is all your property listed?
  • Have you filed before?
  • Do you own a business?

The questions are basically just to have you admit that the information on the application is correct to the best of your knowledge. If there is something wrong or abnormal, you may be asked about that, but your attorney will be with you to help. Before the meeting, your attorney will go over any potential questions and provide you with clear, accurate answers.

If you can't pay your credit card and loan payments anymore, consider bankruptcy. While it may seem scary, it is actually a great way to get out of debt once and for all. For more information, contact an attorney who offers bankruptcy law services in your area today.