By: Julie Koenig
Normally you will only be required to attend one 341 meeting - in rare circumstances the Trustee will continue the meeting for additional information. The COVID-19 Pandemic stopped the 341 meeting being held in person - now they are held over the telephone. The Trustees and debtor’s counsel have found that holding the meetings over the phone is extremely beneficial to all parties - you no longer have to take off from work and travel to downtown Houston for the meeting - you can take a short break and just dial in by phone. Also, you no longer have to face any creditors that may attend, they also have to appear by phone if they want to ask any questions. Usually only former spouses or former business partners with a grudge bother to attend the 341 meeting. Julie Koenig will of course be on the phone with you at the 341 meeting and if it makes you more comfortable, she will be happy to meet with you in either the Downtown or the Woodlands office so you can attend together.
The Trustee conducts between 3 & 5 meetings per half hour. Sometimes they are on time and sometimes they are late. Regardless of the time your meeting is set, please allow at least an hour for the meeting. Creditor meetings usually begin at 9:30 a.m and continue on the half hour until approximately 2 - 4 p.m.
When your meeting is called, the Trustee will swear you in, ask you to state your name for the record, and ask a series of questions. The meeting is being recorded so you must speak up and verbally answer each question. Examples of the types of questions the Trustee is liable to ask are:
When the Trustee is finished asking questions, any creditor or, in limited circumstances, a representative of the U.S. Trustee's office, is allowed to ask you questions - but they are limited to the information set forth on your schedules and statement of financial affairs. If a creditor tries to vary from those documents, that is why I am there - to stop them. Few creditors other than ex-spouses and ex-business partners ever attend the 341 meeting.
Once all questions have been answered, the Trustee has a few options. If he or she is satisfied that they have all of the information they need, they can conclude the meeting. If he or she requires additional information, the meeting will be continued for a period of 2 weeks. Often, if the Trustee asks for additional information and you provide it to us well in advance of the continued 341 meeting, you will not have to attend the continued meeting. At the conclusion of the meeting, the Trustee can close your case as a no-asset case or hold it open for asset recovery. If it is closed as a no asset case it means the Trustee is satisfied that you can keep (exempt) everything that you own and there is nothing further for the Trustee to do except close your case. If you have non-exempt assets that the Trustee can sell, the Trustee will keep the case open to sell those assets. Even if the Trustee keeps your case open, you are essentially finished with the bankruptcy process except for certain Federally mandated waiting periods.
The first mandatory waiting period is 30 days from the conclusion of your creditor’s meeting to allow any party in interest or the Trustee to object to your exemptions. If you have questionable exemptions, Julie will inform you prior to filing your case and discuss how to handle them. Usually the only person that will object to your exemptions is the Trustee and that is only on rare occasions!
The second mandatory waiting period is 60 days from the date first set for your creditor’s meeting to allow any creditor to object to the discharge of their particular debt or to allow any creditor, the Trustee, or the United States Trustee to object to your entire discharge - but only under very limited circumstances. An objection to the discharge of a particular debt includes, but is not limited to:
Certain debts are rarely or never dischargeable which include but are not limited to:
These creditors do not have to file anything with the Court - the debts are automatically not discharged.
An objection to the entry of your entire discharge is even more limited and includes, but is not limited to:
At Cooper & Scully, Julie and her paralegal, Charlene Garcia, work very hard to ensure that your Schedules and Statement of Financial Affairs are extremely accurate to avoid such circumstances.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.