You don’t have to but I would be remiss if I was representing a client who went to a 341 meeting and I didn’t attend with the client. The date and time of the meeting is arbitrarily assigned, and it’s happened that I have not been available to go to a meeting of creditors. When this happens I give my client the option of going to a rescheduled meeting with me or attending the original meeting with an attorney that I will provide to fill in for me.
Anticipating the 341 meeting can be a real nerve-wracking thing for clients. More so than the actual meeting itself. You are going out in public, you are being identified as a debtor, you have to go up and answer the questions of the trustee. The trustee puts you under oath and it’s a real anxious time for many of my clients that have filed the bankruptcy. One of the reasons that they hire an attorney is to have an attorney attend the meeting of creditors with them.
What’s The Amount of Time that They Would Set a Second Meeting From the First One?
It depends on the schedule of the trustee. I don’t know if trustees meet every other week, every three weeks, every four weeks but usually when it’s continued, it is continued to that trustee’s next meeting date. You might have some flexibility in the time but not generally with the date.
Is There Going to Be an Actual Court Decision Made at the 341?
No, there’s no decision made. What happens is when the trustee calls for creditors, if no creditors show up, the trustee usually says something like, “That’s all I have; you’re free to go” or “That concludes the meeting of creditors”. So that’s it. The meeting is concluded. If you bring your ID and you’ve given the trustee the documents and there are no issues that the trustee thinks need to be addressed further, you’re done with the meeting of creditors.
How Long Potentially Can That Meeting Last? How Long Is It Going to Take?
Some trustees have a half-an-hour calendar, some have an hour calendar. Generally they run on time. When you go in there, if it’s a half-an-hour calendar, you’ll probably be there about half-an-hour or less. If it’s an hour calendar you’ll be there an hour or less and your particular time on the hot seat as a debtor will probably take 2 to 5 minutes if it’s not an unusual case. It can be rather painless. One of my jobs as the attorney is to make sure that I have ferreted out and disclosed the issues in which the trustee may be interested, and to be prepared to assist my client in explaining anything that may need explaining to the trustee. The petition that we file reflects what’s going on with the debtor’s financial circumstances. If you’re qualified, if you’re honest, if you do the steps of the process, other than the fact that most people feel a bit of shame around it, it really can be a painless process.
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