The short answer…absolutely not!
So what are those numbers, and what do they mean to a person who has filed for bankruptcy?
341 is actually a section in the Bankruptcy Code (the federal law that covers bankruptcy) and the shorthand term for the first meeting of creditors in a bankruptcy case. Don't get fooled by the word first. In fact, don't get fooled by the word creditors either. In a consumer bankruptcy case, there typically is just one meeting, and by and large, the creditors don't attend these meetings, with the possible exception of a disgruntled former spouse.
The meeting is conducted by the bankruptcy trustee or someone from the trustee's staff. The bankruptcy judge is not at the meeting. This is not because the judge is too busy to attend, but because the law says that judges cannot attend.
The purpose of the meeting is for the trustee to examine the debtor. Examine means the debtor has to answer a few questions from the trustee about what he/she owns and owes and show identification and proof of his/her social security number. Until I went to order a replacement card a couple of months ago, I hadn't seen my social security card since the 1970s. I am constantly amazed at how many of my clients still have their original social security cards! And the cards are in pretty good shape too.
A trustee's responsibility in a chapter 7 bankruptcy is to review the debtor's documents that have been filed with the court and determine whether there are any assets that can be liquidated or sold for the benefit of the unsecured creditors such as taxes and credit cards. A chapter 13 trustee also reviews the debtor's documents and is responsible for paying the debtor's creditors as proposed in the debtor's plan of reorganization.
Different trustees conduct their meetings differently, and the debtor's bankruptcy attorney will know what the debtor needs to do in order to be prepared for the meeting. The meeting typically lasts about 5 minutes. After the meeting is over, most of my clients tell me that wasn't bad at all. 3,4 and 1 aren't scary numbers at all. So, grab your identification card (driver's license will do) and your social security card, take a deep breath, relax, and attend your meeting with confidence.
The Page Law Firm is dedicated to helping our clients make a fresh financial start. We provide legal assistance throughout the process of bankruptcy. Call 214-618-2101 today to schedule a personalized consultation with our Frisco bankruptcy lawyer.
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