When someone owes you money and files chapter 7 bankruptcy or chapter 13 bankruptcy you must decide whether or not to file a Proof of Claim. If you choose to do so you must file the claim timely in accordance to the deadline set by the court. If you choose not to file a Proof of Claim you will not receive the benefit of any distributions from the trustee.

What is a Proof of Claim?

When a bankruptcy is filed all creditors listed by the debtor’s bankruptcy petition are mailed notice of the bankruptcy, the type of bankruptcy filed, the date of the Meeting of Creditors and, if applicable, the time by which they must file a Proof of Claim. If the debtor has filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy you will not be allowed to file a Proof of Claim unless it appears from the petition that the trustee will be able to liquidate their assets or if during the course of the bankruptcy process the trustee identifies asset they can sell to pay creditors. For chapter 13 cases in most cases creditors listed by the debtor’s petition will receive notice of the “bar date,” the date before which all claims must be filed. If you fail to file a claim on or before the bar date the debtor can do it for you or you must convince the court that your failure is excusable.

Should I file a Proof of Claim?

YES! If the court allows you to file a Proof of Claim do so. If you do not there is no chance that you will receive any money from the debtor. Filing a Proof of Claim is now 100% electronic, takes very little time and is a relatively simple process.

How to File a Proof of Claim?

Filing a Proof of Claim in Jacksonville, Duval County or the surrounding area is done online through the bankruptcy court’s website. The notice you receive from the court setting the “bar date” will identify the court in which the bankruptcy filing was made. The online form requires you to identify the court, name of debtor, and case number as wells as the creditor’s name and address. You will also need to state the amount you are owed including interest, if applicable, and the basis for your claim (examples include goods sold, money loaned, services performed, personal injury/wrongful death, car loans, mortgage notes, and credit cards). To help the debtor identify your claim you must include the last four digits of the debtor’s account or other number used by the creditor to identify the debtor, if any.

If your claim is secured you must identify the nature and value of property that secures the claim, attach copies of lien documentation, and state, as of the date of the bankruptcy filing, the annual interest rate (and whether it is fixed or variable), and the amount past due.

You must also attach redacted copies of any documents that show the debt exists, any lien that secures the debt or documents that evidence perfection of any security interest in property.  The Proof of Claim is signed and dated electronically under oath and subject to penalties of perjury.

Objections to Proof of Claim:

After you file a Proof of Claim the Trustee, debtor, or another interested party may object to the Proof of Claim as untimely (i.e. filed after the bar date), improper (i.e. it includes charges or fees that are not allowed by law, inaccurate (i.e. the debt is not calculated properly) or false (i.e. the claim is invalid).

If you have received a notice setting a deadline to file a Proof of Claim, are a debtor faced with Proofs of Claim or have any questions about bankruptcy please contact Jacksonville’s debt relief lawyer, Matthew C. Bothwell, Esq., for your FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION. We are here to help.