Proof of Claims
After providing new clients with an initial free consultation, I will first pull a client's credit report. This critical step allows me to understand the amount of debt the client has encumbered and will be crucial in determining the type of bankruptcy I suggest. I have been helping clients understand their bankruptcy rights throughout Riverside, Orange, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and San Diego Counties for nearly 20 years. As a prestigious and well-known bankruptcy lawyer, I can help you file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy or help you with a debt settlement to avoid bankruptcy.
When a debtor files bankruptcy, whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, there is a list of creditors to whom they owe money. This list is obtained from their attorney by "pulling their credit," which supplies an itemized list of the creditors they owe money to and the amounts they owe. Creditors that appear on the credit report will be automatically added to the debtor's voluntary petition for bankruptcy. Debtors must check their bankruptcy petition carefully and always add any creditors they know they owe money that were omitted.
If a creditor is omitted from the bankruptcy petition, they still can make a proof of claim on the bankruptcy estate. The creditor must file an Official Form 410 Proof of Claim to the presiding Federal bankruptcy court. The form must include information about the creditor, the amount owed, the basis for the claim, and any supporting documentation required.
Creditors' Affect on Bankruptcy
The debtor's bankruptcy estate comprises the debt they owe and their assets. The trustee needs a complete list of creditors to decide how to distribute any funds for the bankruptcy estate they are in charge of. The bankruptcy trustee reviews all proofs of claim to determine their validity and the appropriate classification. The classification of the claim will determine the preferential payment order in which the funds can be distributed. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the filed claims influence the debtor's repayment plan, as the plan must address how each claim will be dealt with.
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the deadline for filing a proof of claim is typically set relatively early. This is because Chapter 7 involves liquidating the debtor's non-exempt assets to pay off creditors, and the process moves relatively quickly. The deadline, known as the "bar date," is usually set shortly after the meeting of creditors (341 meeting). Creditors who fail to file a proof of claim by this deadline are generally barred from participating in any distribution from the bankruptcy estate.
Chapter 13 Proof of Claims
In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the process is longer, as it involves the debtor making payments under a repayment plan that lasts three to five years. Therefore, the deadline for filing proofs of claim in Chapter 13 cases is often later than in Chapter 7. Creditors might have more time to file a claim, and in some situations, the court may allow a creditor to file a late claim if certain conditions are met.
While late claims are generally not favored in bankruptcy, in a Chapter 13 case, a late-filed claim may still be considered if the repayment plan has yet to be confirmed or under other specific circumstances. The court has the discretion to allow or disallow late claims based on the case details.
Monitoring the Case
Creditors should monitor bankruptcy cases closely and be aware of the deadlines for filing proofs of claim. Failing to file a claim on time can result in losing the right to participate in distributions or have their claims considered in the repayment plan.