Want To Know How To Protect Yourself If You Get A Bankruptcy Filing In The Mail?

Contributed by Jillian Nolan Snider

It all starts with the notice of bankruptcy filing you received in the mail.  The notice provides information regarding a person or entity you’ve done business and who still owes you money.  Most people see the notice of bankruptcy filing and lose all hope of recovery considering their money lost or discharged. But, there is a simple way to protect yourself as a creditor, and your claim, by filing a proof of claim in the debtor’s bankruptcy case.

A proof of claim is prima facie evidence of what the debtor owes you. Filing a proof of claim is the first step in recovery of all or a portion of your claim.  A proof of claim is a form document.  The proof of claim should contain the creditor’s name, address and the amount of the debt as of the date on which the bankruptcy case was filed.  The creditor must also specify whether the claim is secured or unsecured and attach copies of any and all documentation  proving your basis for, and the amount of, its claim.  As a creditor, you should file this claim as soon as practicably possible before the “bar date.” The failure to file a proof of claim before the bar date may prevent you from getting any distribution because you failed to prove you had a claim.

Preparing and filing a proof of claim is an easy task and in most cases creditors can file their proof of claim without the assistance of an attorney.   However, it is essential that the creditor carefully prepare its proof of claim, making certain that the proof of claim is accurate and complete.  Proofs of claim are subject to objection and dis-allowance by the Debtor or any other interested party such as a bankruptcy trustee if the claim contain errors or is incomplete.  If a claim objection is filed, it’s time to reach out to a bankruptcy/creditor rights attorney because your time to respond could be limited and a failure to respond may result in the dis-allowance of the creditor’s claim.