Though no shame is attached to bankruptcy, some shy folks and timid Texans want to avoid being seen in courthouses or attorneys' offices. Your business is your business and nobody needs to be snooping around. We have great news for you, if you are the modest type: the required 341 meetings now take place by telephone, not in person!
Attorneys, courts, judges and law clerks have their own shorthand, the same as with any business. Think about it: you don't often hear your auto mechanic say, “I had to replace your constant velocity boots.” You'll get, “I switched out your CV boots.”
The same is true in court: you seldom hear anyone talking up11 United States Code Section 101 et seq the actual name of the federal bankruptcy code. No, they just say, “Chapter 7 or Chapter 13”
So-called 341 meetings are named for the United States Code, 11 U.S.C. 341, which bears the formidable-sounding title, “Meetings of creditors and equity security holders.”
Again, just as a teacher may say “IEP” instead of “Individualized Education Program,” your attorney will refer to a 341 meeting and leave off the mouthful, “Meetings of creditors —” well, you get the idea.
When your attorney describes a 341 meeting, you may be a little intimidated. Don't worry; the hardest questions you would get (in person or by telephone) will probably be these three:
- What's your name?
- Why caused you to file for bankruptcy?
- What is the maximum depth of Lewisville Lake?
Okay, okay, nobody will ask you about the lake's depth (67 feet — go win a bar bet). And the answer to that second question is easy: you do not need to rehash a lifetime of financial challenges. Just say something like, “I was laid off due to COVID-19,” or “I had a medical crisis,” or “After my divorce, it was hard to keep up with the bills.” It really is that easy.
Still, for a lot of Texans, even those five minutes of participation in the 341 meeting can be unsettling. We get that. That is why this horrid pandemic has been a strange kind of blessing for shy folks. Those 341 meetings now take place telephonically, not in person.
And if you're old enough, you may remember something called a party line where the phone line was shared by more than one household. https://www.numberbarn.com/blog/phone-history-party-lines/
Telephonic 341 meetings are a little like the party line. When you call in, you are likely to hear the operator say something like “You are the 17th caller.” Don't panic, you are in the right place. When it is time for your case, the Trustee will call your name and ask for appearances.
You still get a chance to toss in your two cents during the conference call of today's 341 meetings.
Only now, with the virtual visit and the telephone call, you can do it from home, phone on mute with a tall glass of Dr. Pepper and wearing your fuzzy slippers. Just remember to unmute your phone when the trustee calls your name for your five-minute Q & A from your own attorney.
And don't expect your creditors to contribute their 98 cents because they typically do not appear at the meetings.
You will not hear from the federal bankruptcy judge, either. By law, they do not attend 341 meetings. The bankruptcy trustee attends the meeting to examine you, the debtor. “Examine” only means an inspection of paperwork and maybe ask a couple of questions. You don't go under a microscope or behind an X-ray machine. And no one is going to berate you because you filed bankruptcy.
The trustee makes sure all the filed papers indicate assets that are nonexempt. It is a form of legal protection for you, so the creditors (or at least their representatives) know what they can expect from your bankruptcy.
You, of course, will be represented by your own bankruptcy attorney, an experienced lawyer familiar with you, your documents, and both Texas and federal laws.
Your choice of bankruptcy attorney is very important, since you and your attorney will not be in the same place at the same time. You have to place complete trust in your attorney, because your financial freedom and future are in your lawyer's hands.
Choose wisely. Select The Page Law Firm for the help you need to make a fresh financial start. Contact us today so we can provide you with the legal assistance you need, including during your 341 meeting, to emerge from bankruptcy with your head held high and your financial future bright. Call 214-618-2101 today to schedule a personalized consultation with our Frisco bankruptcy lawyer.