Green Chair of Truth–the 341 Meeting Chair

04 Feb Green Chair of Truth–the 341 Meeting Chair

Jill Michaux recently wrote a piece on What To Expect At Your 341 Hearing. She provided a list of questions, typically asked at the 341 Hearing, also known as the Meeting of Creditors. These questions were also probably provided in different forms in the homework provided by your attorney. Even without an attorney, when filling out your paperwork, most of the questions are asked in different ways in the Statement of Financial Affairs (one of the forms required to be filed with the Bankruptcy Court). So, why does the trustee ask these questions again?

Because, as I tell my clients, the chair you sit in at the 341 hearing is known at my office as “the green chair of truth”. Truth pours out when you are sitting in a room, having been sworn to tell the truth with the eyes of the Trustee and your attorney, and others in the room , all resting upon you.

I tell my clients that if they sit in the “green chair of truth” (the chairs in our local hearing room are green, by the way) and truth starts pouring out of their mouths and it is the first time that I have ever heard these particular words of truth, that they will be looking for a new attorney right after the hearing.

I want my clients to tell the truth, but I want them to start by telling me the truth BEFORE the hearing, BEFORE I fill out the schedules and file them with the Court, so that I can look at the full and complete situation and give my best advice on how to deal with the truth.

If the first time I hear those words of truth is while the client is sitting in the “green chair of truth”, that means the client may have already committed perjury, which is a federal offense. When I filed their bankruptcy papers, by signing those papers, the client swore that the papers contained the truth.

I tell my clients I cannot do the job you hired me to do–to give you the best advice possible unless I know everything. And telling me everything means telling me about the things the client doesn’t think are important–like the heirloom china or the clunkers in the backyard.

It is so important to be accurate and truthful when the bankruptcy papers are filed. Don’t be afraid to sit in the “green chair of truth”, tell the truth at the beginning, the middle and at the end, it is a just a chair.

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I'm a consumer protection lawyer in Oregon, working with people in Klamath; Lake; Jackson; Josephine; Curry; and Deschutes County. I speak regularly on bankruptcy and consumer protection issues nationwide.
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