When you file a bankruptcy petition with the federal bankruptcy court, you are required to appear, with your attorney if applicable, in one of our 3 courts—Columbia, Charleston or Spartanburg, depending on your county of residence. Odds are if you file a bankruptcy right now, due to Coronavirus restrictions in SC, you will not be required to attend your 341 meeting in person. Many bankruptcy courts are deciding to be more lenient in allowing telephonic attendance. Typically in the past, you were required to have an emergency or a severe medical condition that prohibited you from travelling long distances or appearing in person. Now, with COVID-19, the Charleston court (the one we normally file with) has required that all debtors call in for their meeting.
So what is the difference? Not much on the surface to be honest. You will still “appear” before the Trustee and answer questions, just in the comfort of your own home. They will require that you call in to a pre-determined number around 5 minutes before your time and you will enter a PIN number to enter the “room” with the Trustee, the attorneys and all the other debtors. Please make sure to put your phone on mute when you call in so that you can minimize noise on the call. When your name is called you would normally come up to the front of the room and present your ID and social security card. These will already be submitted over a secure server by your attorney. After swearing you in, the Trustee will ask you (and your co-debtor if applicable) a series of questions and each in turn will have to answer. Your attorney will be there to help if needed. When all questions are answered, they will end your meeting and you will be allowed to end the call.
Other than muting your call, there are some things to remember. Please be respectful and mindful of the Trustee. Do not interrupt them when they are speaking and when you answer their questions, enunciate and speak up so that they can hear your answers. If they ask a yes or no question, answer with yes or no unless instructed to provide more information. Please do not travel during your meeting. This way, your attention can be on the case and not on your driving. And remember, no recordings of these proceedings can be made by anyone that does not have prior written permission from the Trustee. Lost your instructions that Lam Law Firm sent you? Please refer to this pdf for instructions on how to call in. Remember that each Trustee has their own specific number and your official bankruptcy notice will have your Trustee on it.
Still have the jitters about your bankruptcy and 341 meeting with Lam Law Firm? Please give our office a call at (843) 839-9995 and speak with us about your questions and concerns. We are here to help and make your experience as smooth as possible.