When a creditor is owed money and wishes to receive payment in a bankruptcy, the filing of a proof of claim form is required. This form can be filed by both creditors and debtors. There are benefits to filling the proof of claim form for the debtor, so do not discount this option until you have discussed your claim with a qualified bankruptcy lawyer.
Creditors Failing to File Proof of Claim
Creditors will not file a proof of claim in all instances. Although failing to do so will result in nonpayment, it is not always significantly beneficial for the creditor to file the proof of claim. There are a number of common reasons why this may not happen in your case:
- The debtor files a no-asset Chapter 7 bankruptcy (which results in no distribution to creditors)
- The debt amount is low
- The creditor has made an error concerning the debt
Filing a Proof of Claim on Behalf of a Creditor
If you are filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may file a proof of claim on behalf of a creditor, if you wish to repay that particular debt as part of your claim and the creditor has failed to file its claim. This typically includes non-dischargeable or secured debts you want included in your Chapter 13 repayment plan.
The benefit of filing a proof of claim for non-dischargeable debts and, thus, including them in your Chapter 13 repayment plan, is those debts do not magically disappear. Even though the creditor did not file a proof of claim, non-dischargeable debts, such as student loans or child support, will be waiting for you after your repayment plan ends.
Chapter 7 No Asset Bankruptcy
If you file a “no-asset” Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are claiming you do not own any non-exempt cash, valuables, or property which can be used to pay creditors. With no assets to sell and distribute, a creditor has nothing to file a proof of claim against and so the case is typically more straightforward than bankruptcies which include non-exempt assets.
However, if you are filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and there are assets available for the trustee to sell, a creditor may then file a proof of claim in order to be included in distribution. There are a number of elements a creditor must include with a proof of claim. The U.S. Courts Bankruptcy Forms page provides official bankruptcy forms, including Proof of Claim form 410:
- Bankruptcy case number and debtor’s full name
- Creditor’s mailing address and information
- Total debt owed as of petition date
- Reason for claim (goods or services provided, loan balance, credit card default, etc.)
- Claim type (secured or unsecured)
The creditor is also required to include any evidence that supports the proof of claim, such as signed contracts. The creditor or a representative will then sign the form before submitting the proof of claim. If you are considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Georgia, reach out to the offices of H. Lehman Franklin P.C. at 912-764-9616 or email us at email@example.com for advice and representation.