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Quick and painless 341 meeting! (very long post)

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  • Quick and painless 341 meeting! (very long post)

    Warning - this is a very long post! But since reading about other people's 341 meetings here and on other sites helped me a lot this past month, I wanted to tell my experience for others to read.

    I just had my 341 meeting this week (Chapter 7). It was a lot less stressful than I thought it would be, and once I was up there at the table with the trustee, I was barely nervous at all. I was a lot more nervous in the week leading up to it. The trustee seemed very focused on his tasks, but I saw him smile and even laugh with some debtors before me, so I think that made me feel a little better, knowing that he didn't seem like he'd be one of those "mean" trustees I've read about. I also felt better seeing that hardly anyone was in the room, so I wouldn't have much of an "audience."

    On the wall next to the meeting room, there was a paper with the list of people scheduled for their 341 that day, and the names (in each group of people scheduled for each particular meeting time) were in order by case number. There was one person scheduled before me at my scheduled meeting time, so I knew that person would be going before me. The court's website had a calendar you could see if you had a PACER login, so I had already seen the order of the debtors' meetings and knew I'd be going second at my scheduled meeting time. For that day, there were usually four debtors (I'm counting joint debtors as one debtor here) scheduled for each half-hour meeting time. The Chapter 7s and Chapter 13s were separate, and more people were scheduled for the Chapter 13 meeting times, so I guess those usually go faster. (By the way, although I needed a login to see the court calendar, PACER didn't add any charges to my running bill for viewing the calendar, and since this quarter is almost over and my total charges are still under $15, it looks like my fees are going to be waived for this quarter.)

    The door to the meeting room was open, and you could either go in and wait or you could wait in the seats out in the hallway. My attorney asked if I had any questions before going in the room. I also saw another person's attorney take him aside to tell him what to expect. There were less than 10 other people in the room when I went in, including attorneys.

    At the front of the room was a table with the trustee, debtor and debtor's attorney. There were a lot of empty seats in the room, but I sat towards the back of the room, and even though it wasn't a huge room or anything, I could barely even hear the debtors before me during their meetings. So I don't know if anyone could hear me either when it was my turn (my back was facing the other people who were waiting for their turns, since that was the way the room was set up). I could hear most of what the trustee was saying during the other meetings, but I couldn't always hear the debtors.

    I think the trustee was running a little bit late, so there were one or two debtors before the first person who was scheduled at my same meeting time. The time of my actual meeting ended up being about 15 minutes after the scheduled time, but that 15 minutes includes those other debtors and the person who went right before me (the person who was scheduled at my same meeting time).

    After the person before me was done, the trustee said who the next person to go up was - I knew it was me based on the schedule I had seen, but I waited for him to say my name, just in case I wasn't next. He said my name and I went up to the table. He double-checked how to pronounce my last name before he pressed the button to record the audio of the meeting. He then had me raise my right hand and swear I was going to tell the truth (you just say "yes" or "I do" after he asks if you swear to tell the truth).

    I put my license and social security card on the table in front of him right away. After confirming my identity and giving me back my license and social security card, he had me look at my signature on the petition to make sure it was my signature. He asked whether the petition was correct to my knowledge, whether I had listed all my debts and assets, and whether anything needed to be changed in the petition at that time. He basically went down a list of questions that were on paper in front of him. He read the questions very quickly, although I assume he would've read the questions more slowly if I needed him to. He checked off yes or no on the paper, depending on my replies.

    Here are some of the other questions I remember him asking: Did you read the bankruptcy information sheet, have you paid any of your creditors a large payment over $1,000 in the last 90 days, have you sold or transferred any property within the last year (I'm not sure if he said the last year or not – it might've been the last two years), have you owned or operated a business within the last six years, do you own real estate, do you own a car, have you been through a divorce in the last three years, are you expecting any money from inheritance, lawsuits, etc., can you sue anyone for anything and be awarded money (I forgot how he worded that question), do you have any winning lottery tickets, is anyone holding property for you, do you have any domestic support obligations, and do you have a safe deposit box (when he asked about this, he asked if I had a few similar things related to money/valuables - I forgot exactly, but I didn't have any of the items he asked about). I think he might've asked if I had a bank account too.

    I rent my apartment and he asked a couple of questions related to that, such as whether a relative owned the property I rented. He also asked if I had paid a security deposit and how much it was.

    I'm pretty sure he asked if I had filed bankruptcy before and also whether anyone owed me money. There was also a question about reaffirmations, and my attorney answered that one (I hadn't reaffirmed anything and I don't remember what the exact question was). I've read that some people are asked at their 341 why they filed for bankruptcy, but the trustee didn't ask me that. I've also read that some people are asked if anything has changed since filing (such as an income increase), but I'm pretty sure he didn't ask me that.

    After a couple of my replies, he asked a follow-up question to each of those, but neither were huge issues. I'm self-employed and get paid via PayPal, and I was sure he would ask me questions about what I do and possibly ask about some of my PayPal transactions (since I pay some bills and make purchases with my PayPal debit card), but he didn't ask any of those questions. He didn't mention PayPal at all. I had given three months' worth of PayPal statements to my attorney when I filed, so maybe the trustee looked through those already and had no additional questions. He confirmed that I was presently self-employed and didn't have an employer, but I don't think he asked anything else about self-employment.

    The trustee's eyes were mostly on the paper where he was checking off yes or no, until he got to the part about inheriting any money in the next 180 days – at that point, he looked me in the eyes and I knew this was especially serious. He said if I inherit money in the next 180 days, I must let him and my attorney know about it, or else there could be penalties, such as the bankruptcy discharge being revoked, and possible criminal charges.

    He put my 2011 tax return (that my attorney had sent him) in front of me and asked if it was an accurate representation of the tax return I had filed. He pointed to my name and address on the paper and asked if that was my current address. He then said he no longer needed the tax return and I could take it. He didn't ask if I was expecting a tax refund next year (although I didn't receive a federal refund this year, so I don't know if he would've asked about a future refund if I had received one this year).

    At the end, the trustee asked if there were any creditors there for my case, and there weren't any. He then said he'd be filing his report of no distribution (I think he said he'd be doing that within the next few days). He said that that concluded the meeting. He then wished me good luck and I was done. My actual meeting with the trustee was around five minutes.

    My imagination of what the trustee would ask was a lot more detailed than what he ended up asking. There were all these potential questions swirling around in my head and I had thought about how I'd reply to all the questions I could think of, and he didn't ask any of those "extra" questions I had thought of. Of course, a different trustee might have asked those other questions, but this one didn't.

    I also printed a lot of paperwork just in case I needed it, but I didn't need any of it. My attorney also brought my paperwork, but the trustee didn't ask to see any of it. I was pretty thorough with the files I gave my attorney (some papers/hard copies and some PDFs), so I'm sure the trustee already had everything he needed.

    The only issue I really had was that I didn't know the area that well, and I went into the wrong building at first! It was a busy downtown area with construction and not much street parking, but there was a nearby parking garage. I ended up going into the wrong building and had to leave and walk past another building before I got to the correct building. Luckily, I was there about 45 minutes before my scheduled time, so I didn't panic about being late for the meeting.

    So after finding out where your meeting is located, if you realize you don't know the area, I'd recommend either going there ahead of time to check it out or leaving early the day of the 341, to give yourself enough time to make sure you know how to get there, find out how the parking is, whether you'll have to pay for parking, etc. Even if you do know the area, you never know how long it will take to find a parking space (if parking is limited), so that's another reason to leave early. And you never know how traffic will be, whether there will be an accident delaying traffic, etc., so of course there are many good reasons to leave yourself extra time.

    I already took the second bankruptcy course, so basically, I just need to wait as patiently as possible for the next two months until discharge, at which point I can take that final sigh of relief!
    Last edited by SadPanda; 09-27-2012, 09:13 PM.

  • #2
    Very interesting and informative. I didn't know the trustee would have dibs on any future lawsuit you might file.


    • #3
      Great post - very well done!!

      Congrats on a smooth 341 and welcome to Club 60!!
      ~~ Filed Over Median Income Chapter 7: 12/17/2010 ~~ 341 Held: 1/12/2011 ~~ Discharged: 03/16/2011 ~~
      Not an attorney - just an opinionated woman.


      • #4
        rta - I'm not sure of the specifics, since I'm not involved in any lawsuits and I'm not planning on filing any lawsuits. I just did a quick search and the NOLO site says this:

        Any personal injury claim or lawsuit that results from an event that took place before you filed for bankruptcy comes under the control of the bankruptcy trustee, whether or not the actual claim or lawsuit was filed before you filed for bankruptcy. If you cannot claim the potential lawsuit recovery as exempt, the trustee will take the money that you win in the personal injury lawsuit and pay your creditors in the bankruptcy.

        Chapter 7. If the lawsuit or claim is likely to bring in more than your exemption, the Chapter 7 trustee will take control of the claim or lawsuit. Once the trustee collects the money, the trustee will disburse the exempt portion to you and the remainder to your creditors. If there are still funds remaining after all of the creditors are paid in full, the trustee will give it to you.

        Chapter 13. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can pursue the claim on your own. However, when there is a recovery, you must amend your plan (if it did not provide for full payment to all creditors) and turn over the nonexempt funds to your creditors.
        Here's the link:

        So based on what it says there, it sounds like if you sue someone in the future about something that occurred AFTER you filed your bankruptcy, you can keep the money, but if whatever you're suing about occurred before you filed for bankruptcy, they can take some of the money, no matter when you file the lawsuit. I'm not sure if I'm right about that, though.


        • #5
          Thanks, ValleYum!


          • #6
            Thanks for looking it up, SadPanda. That was sweet of you to be so helpful. It's an interesting point that I didn't know about. I have no lawsuits planned, though I'm dealing with a collections action at the moment, and it will go away once BK is filed.


            • #7
              Good job. When you're honest and truthful, the 341 is pretty much a non-event......

              Welcome to the club.
              All information contained in this post is for informational and amusement purposes only.
              Bankruptcy is a process, not an event.......


              • #8


                • #9
                  I can tell you from experience that you van be glad you are not involved in a lawsuit at the same time as a personal bankruptcy. It really complicates things. Since the trustee has full control of your estate, they actually have the ability to accept or decline an offer of settlement.


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