How Our 341 Went And A Question
First let me say our 341 meeting to convert from 13 to 7 took 5 minutes. I think some of what we heard while waiting will be of interest ot the board. The trustee already had our huge folder from our Chapter 13 in front of him, so I guess he must have gone through it previously and already knew everything he needed. In fact, after establishing our identities and determining no creditors had showed up, he just asked if we had acquired any new debt, was there a drastic increase in income, any stocks, bonds etc., and whether we were going to keep the house (no). The only thing he had to tell us was to stop answering in unison, and just let my husband answer and then if I disagreed I could speak up. Then he said OK, and called for the next person. Didn't even ask questions one would expect--why are you converting, etc., which surprised me. We were all ready with the answers which involved our decrease in health and unanticipated present and forthcoming medical expenses, house in bad shape and cannot afford to repair etc. Now, a question about privacy: the whole affair was held in a meeting room. Everyone could hear every single word and know everyone else's business. This upset me a bit. (Our Chapt. 13 was held in a small room with just ourselves, the trustee and the lawyer because two trustees were handling cases and we were lucky to get the one using the little office room.) Actually it was interesting to see the trustee lose his temper twice over two different cases--both involving people who ran up debt due to gambling, and he was livid. He was angry over their irresponsibilty, and in fact would not go further with one case until "I've looked this over more carefully". The man had no source of income and was bragging to the trustee how in one year he won $100,000 playing poker. (from the "what was I thinking" category, I guess, regarding his bragging to the trustee). Another man got in trouble because he hedged on his address (another gambler). Was it NJ or NY? His lawyer even got yelled at for speaking up and the trustee was going to hand the case over to state investigations. Sounds like big trouble for the guy. These interesting cases aside, isn't a person entitled to some kind of privacy when his/her dirty linen is aired? I know courts are technically open to all, but it put some in a very embarrassing position. We felt sympathy for many, and also learned that not all 341s are just automatically OK]d and that in fact can result in criminal investigations. Just wondering if other folks here had similar experiences and/or feelings about this part of the procedure?
Here in Maryland, there is a combination of meetings. The Chapter 13 cases are held in large meeting rooms. For the Chapter 7 cases, it depends on which trustee you have; some hold them in the large rooms, and others take them one at a time. There is no right to privacy in a 341 hearing.
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