Part of the bankruptcy process is figuring out who you owe money and then listing them in your bankruptcy paperwork. This can be a very daunting task. To make things even more confusing, creditors may have changed their company name or your debt may have been sold to a third-party debt collection agency. Given all of this confusion, it is easy to see how you could forget to list a creditor in your bankruptcy.
The result of forgetting to list a creditor in your bankruptcy is that the creditor will not receive notice that you have filed for bankruptcy, and it will not receive other notices from your bankruptcy case, including the most important part- your discharge. In some instances, the creditor will continue trying to collect and harassing you.
As part of your bankruptcy, you are required by the bankruptcy code to supply certain information about your debts and your assets, including a list of everyone you owe money to and a list of all of your assets. The list of creditors must contain the creditor’s name and address. The bankruptcy court will mail out a notice to all the creditors listed in your bankruptcy telling them that you filed for bankruptcy. It also lets the creditors know that they can file what is called a Proof of Claim that entitles the creditor to a portion of any monies collected and distributed by the trustee assigned to your case by the bankruptcy court. Remember, your statements in your bankruptcy paperwork are made under the penalty of perjury. If you intentionally leave out information pertinent to your case, it is a crime, and you could face a fine, jail time, or lose the right to receive a discharge in your case.
So you’ve forgotten to list a creditor, now what? You should contact a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney immediately. While your case is still active, your bankruptcy documents can be amended to add the creditor. If your bankruptcy case is already closed, your bankruptcy attorney can assist you in what steps, if any, you can take to fix the issue. In some cases, even if you have forgotten to list a creditor, the debt will still be subject to the bankruptcy discharge and nothing needs to be done. In other cases, your bankruptcy case may be re-opened to add the creditor. Yet in other cases, the debt was not dischargeable, to begin with, and therefore even adding them to your list will not change your circumstances. Lastly, if you’ve missed certain deadlines to add creditors, for example in chapter 13, debt may not be subject to the discharge and you’ll end up still owning that creditor at the end of your bankruptcy.
In the end, it is very important that you discuss this issue with a professional to understand the process and ensure that you and your family are protected. Contact us here at Vohwinkel Law for a free consultation with a professional bankruptcy attorney. You can contact us at 702-735-1500.