Proof of Claim

December 6, 2013

A proof of claim in bankruptcy is a document filed with the bankruptcy court that registers a claim against the debtor’s bankruptcy estate. A proof of claim may always be filed in a Chapter 13 case, but is only allowed in a Chapter 7 when there are available assets to distribute to creditors.

The proof of claim sets out the amount owed to the creditor as of the date of the bankruptcy filing and, if relevant, any claimed priority status. The proof of claim can be filed by a creditor, or the trustee or debtor if the creditor does not file one first. Upon receipt of a claim, the Chapter 13 trustee, debtor, or creditor may object to the proof of claim. Some of the reasons for filing an objection are:

  • the claim is unliquidated, meaning the exact amount hasn’t been determined (such as in a lawsuit without a final judgment);
  • the claim does not account for set-offs that benefit the debtor;
  • the amount of the claim is in dispute; or
  • the creditor claims a higher priority than it is entitled to.

An objection to a proof of claim must be made in writing and filed with the bankruptcy court. A copy of the objection and the notice of court hearing date are mailed to the creditor, the trustee, and the debtor. If the creditor fails to respond to the objection by the time set forth by the court, the objection will be upheld. If the creditor responds to the objection, the issue is tried before a bankruptcy judge who will either uphold the objection and disallow the claim or overrule the objection and allow the claim.

If creditors are entitled to file claims in your bankruptcy case, it is important to monitor these claims closely for errors. Because the trustee may only pay creditors who file claims, debtor’s counsel should file secured claims for creditors the debtor wants to pay, such as a home loan or car payment. Failure to file a proof of claim could result in losing the asset. For more information or a free consultation, please contact the experienced bankruptcy attorney’s at Fears Nachawati Law Firm by calling 1.866.705.7584 or sending an email to fears@fnlawfirm.com.

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