How to File a Bankruptcy Proof of Claim Form

You may need to complete this form if you are a creditor in a bankruptcy case

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Are you a creditor in a bankruptcy case? Just because your borrower has filed bankruptcy doesn't mean that you'll never see a penny. True, in many cases (particularly Chapter 7 straight bankruptcy), the court will find no assets it can liquidate to pay your debt. In other cases (Chapter 13) the debtor makes monthly payments for three to five years. You will have a fair chance of getting something out of it, but only if you take the time to fill out, document, and file a proof of claim form.

When to File a Proof of Claim

In a Chapter 7 case, if the bankruptcy trustee finds assets of the debtor that he or she can sell (liquidate), he will notify the creditors that there will be a distribution. In that case, you will be notified of a deadline to file a proof of claim form. You must file a proof of claim. Otherwise, no payment will be made, even if the claim is valid.You can see and download the form here: Official Form B410.

In a Chapter 13 case, you will have 90 days after the meeting of creditors to file your claim form. You will not be paid unless you file a proof of claim. If your debt is secured, but you file no claim form, the debtor can file one for you to ensure that you're paid. When that happens, you have no control over what the debtor includes in the form, but you can amend it. 

New Form as of December 2016

As of December 2016, the bankruptcy courts have required a new style of claim form. In a lot of ways, it's easier for creditors to navigate. It also contains a lot more explanation and notes. You can access it here

General Information

At the top of the form, there is a box to identify the debtor by name and case number and the bankruptcy court in which the case is pending. You can determine the name of the bankruptcy court  and the case number by looking at the other documents you have received from the court or the clerk.

Next, comes a series of questions that identify your claim:

1.  Who is the current creditor?

If you're the creditor, or you represent the creditor, identify that here.

2.  Has this claim been acquired from someone else?

If you bought or otherwise obtained the right to the claim from another person or from a company, identify the person or company. 

3.  Where should notices and payments to the creditor be sent?

4.  Does this claim amend one already filed?

The court's claims registry is the court's list of claims filed in a case. Each claim receives a unique number. If this is an amended claim, you can obtain the number for the original from the office of the clerk for the bankruptcy court where the case is pending.

5.  Do you know if anyone else has filed a proof of claim for this claim?

Perhaps there are two claimants for the same money.

6.  Do you have any number you use to identify the claim?

This would be the way you identify the claim in your system.

7.  How much is the claim?

insert now much you claim is owed. Remember that you will be required to support your claim with additional documentation if it is available.

If the claim includes any amount of interest or other charges already accrued, state that in the space provided.

8.  What is the basis of the claim?

Some examples listed are "goods sold", "money loaned", "services performed." Those are just examples. You are not limited and you can provide whatever description best fits your claim.

9.  Is all or a part of the claim secured?

If the debtor put up collateral on the debt, it is secured. Whether the claim is fully or partially secured depends on the amount owed and the value of the collateral. The claim is only secured up to the value of the collateral. Beyond that, the claim is unsecured. 

This question also asks if the security agreement is perfected. That refers to the way in which the security agreement is registered, recorded or otherwise made available for interested parties to discover. 

10.  Is the claim based on a lease?

Include the amount needed to cure the defaulted lease as of the date the bankruptcy case was filed. 

11.  Is the claim subject to a right of setoff?

If the debtor owes you money, and you owe the debtor money, they may cancel each other out, at least partially. This is a right of setoff. Identify the property you have that could be setoff against the claim. For instance, if you have a deposit account at the bank, the bank actually owes you that money. If you also borrowed $1,000 from the bank, the bank could apply the $500 it owes you against the $1,000 you owe the bank. In that case, the property you identify is the bank account. 

12. Is this claim entitled to priority under 11 U.S.C. Sec. 507(a)?

There are a number of classes of debt that are entitled to priority. These debts will be paid before other types of debt if there isn't enough money to pay all approved claims in full. Understanding the difference between a priority claim and non-priority claim can be tricky, and you should consult a qualified bankruptcy attorney to help you. 

Finally, you are required to identify yourself and sign the claim form. Every claim form is signed under penalty of perjury, which means that you can be prosecuted and filed or jailed for lying on the form.

Supporting Documentation

It is very important you to file any supporting documentation you have with your claim form. This will include promissory notes, contracts, invoices, security agreements, or other writings that evidence the agreement, monthly statements, pay records, ledgers. The supporting documents together should show (1) that a legal debt exists, and (2) the balance owed on the debt. Without the supporting documents, which by the way are required under the bankruptcy rules, the proof of claim is incomplete and will likely draw an objection from the trustee or the debtor.

Updated by Carron Nicks July 2017