Proof of Claim and Bankruptcy
One of the main steps in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is the filing of the “proof of claim.” A proof of claim is a document a creditor files with the court to prove that you owe them a debt.
Who is responsible for the Proof of Claim?
You and your creditor. Let’s explain:
Once you begin your bankruptcy case, you are responsible for listing all of your creditors in your documentation. This is not only important for making sure that your creditors get any money that is due them, but it also ensures that you are not liable for any perjury in your case. It is a legally punishable offense to omit any known creditors from your bankruptcy documentation.
Once you’ve created your creditor documentation for your bankruptcy, the creditors will be notified that they must file a proof of claim against you for any debt you owe them. Your creditors are now responsible for these documents and deadlines. Rules and deadlines are very strict for creditors regarding the main filing deadlines, revision deadlines, and duplicate filing issues. However, these are none of your concern – if your creditor misses any deadlines, or the court dismisses all duplicates, they may forfeit their right to be paid any amount once your case is discharged.
As a precaution, after all proofs of claim have been filed, it is important that you and your lawyer review them for any duplicates the court may have missed, or for any misfiled or untrue claims that were filed. Generally, the courts will do this for you, but it’s always good to have another look at this information since it’s your credit and bankruptcy case, and you don’t want to be liable for false or duplicated claims.
During the proceedings of your bankruptcy case, each creditor’s proof of claim will be constantly revisited. Every creditor will be given due consideration when resolving your debt to them once your case is discharged. Different debts are given more priority, depending on the chapter you choose to file under, and therefore makes the proof of claim one of the most, if not the most, important document included in a bankruptcy case and proceedings.
Bankruptcy laws change frequently and are full of specific requirements and instructions, such as those for filing a proof of claim, that need to be followed exactly. For these reasons, it is highly recommended that you seek legal advice from a bankruptcy law specialist . It will not only support your bankruptcy case to be represented by a lawyer in court, but will actually help your case to have that representation, in many instances.