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Attorney Brent Westbrook Talks About Bankruptcy

 

Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us on “This needs to be said”, our friend, attorney Brent Westbrook is here with us today, and he’s going to talk with us about a Google search I found because we’re all guilty of it. We want to know more about a topic and today’s topic is about bankruptcy. And so you go out to Google or whatever your favorite search engine is. And you put in that topic and you just start digging around what you know what is there that I could know what is there, you know, that I should explore about this topic. And I put in bankruptcy because I was preparing for our time together and the topic 3 41 meeting came up and I said, and I’m sure you guys don’t care for us doing the Google search and already doing our legal things on our own.

So I won’t come in. Like I know it, but I was like, I wonder, will he tell me, you know, what will you share with me about this Or will he, you know, wag your finger at me But he said, we can talk about it. So I’m excited. I want to because I don’t think I’ve really explored this in a conversation. So I think as we talk about bankruptcy, the good B word, this reset for your finances that I’ve learned over time, you know, talking to conversations with you all, something that people have looked at as, you know, like two things, an attorney, oh, they’re out to get, you know, you guys are not out to get us. You’re here to help us as a resource. Yeah. So it’s like overcoming those obstacles, but now this is 3 41 meeting based on my, my search is this scary, intimidating time when the creditors come get you, that’s what I walked away with. So I want to talk about it. Right! So,

Yeah, so a lot of clients are, you know, do get very nervous about their 3 41 meetings. So anytime that, a consumer, usually consumer’s filing a bankruptcy, it’s a chapter seven or a chapter 13 after the cases filed. They’ll have to attend a meeting, called the three forty one meetings. So there’s a section in the bankruptcy code and it’s just happens to be section 3 41, that just provides that you have to attend this meeting and, you know, answer questions under oath and your creditors can show up as well. But that’s why we call it a three forty one meeting. Yeah.

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So I can tell you, so the meeting is usually in our district and most districts it’s about 30 days after a bankruptcy case is filed and everyone will get in a chapter seven or 13. They get appointed a bankruptcy trustee, which is kind of like a case administrator okay. On a basic level but creditors can show up for that meeting, but it’s very, it’s pretty rare. You know, less than 5% of cases, we’ll have a creditor show up. I know speaking from my experience, you know, most of the creditors, and there are some times that creditors will show up and ask questions of you but a lot of times it’s a, an ex- spouse. That’s just trying to kind of cause problems or, you know, or it’s like a friend, you know, some friend that loaned you some money in the relationship went bad, and they’re just trying to be honoring, even if there’s really nothing, you know, that the debtor that filed bankruptcy needs to be worried about.

So, most of the questions are pretty routine. If you’re represented by, you know, a good lawyer, they’ve handled, you know, hundreds, thousands of cases with the trustees in your district. And shouldn’t be able to put your mind at ease and go through the questions that you’re going to be asked ahead of time. And now even during the COVID era, you know, our meetings are, or by phone, our three forty one meetings are by phone right now. So, you know, I’ve heard of some districts doing them by zoom. You know, so, so sometimes, post COVID and I think in most districts, they’re not in person where you really have to go to the courthouse or anything for the meeting. So, but it’s not is intimidating. You hear meeting a creditors and

Yeah, I think all your credit card companies, you’re going to be sitting at this conference table, you know, brown having to take you out. Yes.

That’s yeah, nothing. Yeah. Not, not normally a concern in the regular, you know, bankruptcy case,

See how an online search could put you into a state of panic. Oh yeah. Yeah. So okay in preparation, what are some of the things, if you can share, what are some of the things I might be asked or, prepared for, for the 3 41 meeting?

Right! So a lot of them times in, in every trustee asks, you know, the questions a little bit differently and has different questions, but a lot of times what they’re trying to do, is make sure that your paperwork’s accurate, right So they’re gonna want to make sure that you’ve listed all of your assets, that you’ve listed all of your liabilities, that your, your paperwork’s true and correct to the best of your knowledge, that there’s no changes that you became aware of that you need to make since the filing of the case. You know, may ask you about if you own, you know, a real estate or a vehicle they’re going to want to know a lot of times how you arrived at the value of those. Did you, you know, did you look at the, the CA the blue book value for your car Did you talk to a realtor on your house, or did you look it up on the below You know, how did, how did you come up with the value but really, they’re just trying to make sure that your paperwork’s accurate, and, you know, everything’s true and correct, and that it’s completely,

So, and is this, is there an, and so this question to me was, it was weird, but I was doing my online search. I’ve already confessed that, but one of the things, or one of the points that was made was, to pay attention to how you dress. And it may seem silly for me to ask this, but I’m going to go ahead and ask how important is how I dress going to this, not so scary, 3 41 meeting with my creditors. I’m telling you, I was thinking oh, my gosh I would not want to do it because it was like you have to go show up. So anyway, but how important is it, how you dress?

Sure. So the 3 41 meeting is not a judicial proceeding, so you’re not required to wear, you know, a tie or courtroom type of tire. Most of the attorneys do, but casual dress is really fine to attend your 3 41 meeting. they’re not, I think some people think that the, oh my God, if I dress too nice, they’re going to think I’ve got money that I’m not hiding. You know, that I’m hiding

Something or, yeah,

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If I, oh my gosh, if I, if I don’t dress, you know, dress up enough, they’re not going to think that I’m respecting this proceeding, you know And, I don’t think that they, that the trustees put a whole lot of, weight, you know, in that, in the way that someone dresses. And, another thing to, to realize about a 3 41 meeting is that, you know, a lot of people think that they’re going in front of a judge, but, but that’s not. The trustee is a, is appointed to your case to, to administer the case. But they’re not a judge. So, and it’s not a judicial, you know, it’s not you’re not in a courtroom. So, casual dress really is fine, whatever you’re comfortable with. So I’m going to ask another, like, this one is a weird question. So if we’re not going to see a judge, why do they call it a judgment it’s just called it a 3 41meeting and creditors. Yeah. So they don’t, yeah, they don’t call the three forty one meeting that judgment. Okay. Was it what, yeah! Well,

On your credit report, it would go down as a judgment. Wouldn’t it

It goes down as a bankruptcy filing. Oh,

Okay, so still not assessed. Okay. Well then see, look at all those myths people look at that. I’m glad. Well, I hear, yeah,

I think you’re right though, because that section in on your credit report says like judgments and public records, it’s in that same section that you filed.

Right, so that is why, yeah. This is why I can’t talk to my friends around the water cooler about, if I should file bankruptcy. And I knew it was gonna be a weird question. And I don’t mind asking, an embarrassing question because somebody wanted to know that and somebody gave them some bad advice about that. So whether it was weird or not, I mean, its preparing for, you know, your day to go to what I perceive was court in front of a judge. We now know that’s not the case and you’re going to be prepared. And this is once you’ve gone through all the other steps with, you know, getting your consultation, which you can read to give you information. But this is the moment when you’re going in and out when I was doing my Google search, I was like, oh, this is Ooh.

And I hope that he would tell me about it. So you took up a lot of the nervousness out of it, not, not filing bankruptcy, but I’m just thinking of someone who has to be in that position. I was years ago, and I didn’t have this information or this opportunity to interview someone. So, I remember what I felt then, and I didn’t know what it was called. I’m sure they told me, but that’s been many years ago. And so I feel confident that yeah, this person would be someone to talk to, to help me if I found myself needing to reset my finances. So thank you for, taking me, taking me through that. I took a past experience of mine and just wonder, what would I be thinking And I will be online searching, and I’d be talking to my friends because I’d be afraid to talk to an attorney, but today I’m talking to an attorney and that added value, especially for that, this needs to be said, audience, because someone that, that is something emotional. I know, I know from experiences emotional, you don’t want people to know you just couldn’t, you know, take care of yourself financially, for whatever reason it just seems like a bad mark. And then this meeting, when I’m doing my search, terrifying myself, you, you definitely obliged me. And, and let us talk about that meeting and it’s not scary. It’s not right. So thank you. Tell everyone how to get in touch with you outside of “This needs to be said”. Sure.

So our website is just www dot Westbrook Law Group. Com, Westbrook law group.com and our phone number is (636) 493-9231.

All right, until next time, have a super day.

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