Due to a work commitment, I am forced to ask my bankruptcy attorney to reschedule my Section 341 meeting. He is going to charge me an extra $350 to do so. He states that he still has to attend the originally scheduled meeting (which is 3 days from now) as well as file more paperwork. Is this a standard fee, or is he being punitive?
Personal Injury Lawyer
Sounds fair to me. Rescheduling a section 341 creditors meeting requires phone calls to the trustee and assistants, matching the schedules of the trustee, the client and the attorney, drafting the notice of the rescheduled meeting (the court won't do it), filing it in the CM/ECF system, filing a certificate of service, and making sure copies actually get out to everyone on the creditor's matrix. I usually tell my clients that the 341 meeting noticed by the federal court is their priority over whatever else may be going on. Right up front it tells the trustee assigned to the case that in the bankruptcy filer's view, the trustee isn't as important as something else. It sounds like a reasonable fee to me.
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Real Estate Attorney
As notice was sent out to all creditors about the meeting, your attorney has to show up and ask the trustee for a continuance. This means he has to attend the original meeting and the new meeting. $350 is more than reasonable for attending an additional hearing to suit your schedule. If you do not want to pay the fee, move the work commitment.
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It depends on how 341s are rescheduled in your area. Here, I have to contact the U.S. Trustee and make my case. It requires a good reason. If I can get it rescheduled, then I do not have to show up for the hearing. I do have to notify the creditors. It all depends on how long it takes. $350 does not seem unreasonable.
[This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.]
Here in the Central District of California, if you miss the first meeting with the Trustee, it is automatically rescheduled to the next available date, so there would be nothing for an attorney to do. I guess this varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Certainly if it requires your attorney to file a motion with the court or obtain permission from the US Trustee AND attend the first set meeting date in your absence, $350 is not unfair.
Mark J. Markus, Attorney at Law