A creditor is a person or entity to whom the debtor owes money or who claims to be owed money by the debtor. Creditors listed in an individual’s bankruptcy case will receive notice of the action, have the ability to file a Proof of Claim, have the opportunity to attend the 341 Meeting of Creditors, and have the opportunity to file a Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay.
Proof of Claim
If required to file a proof of claim, you must complete Official Form B10 (form can be found under Part I). Documentation of the claim is required pursuant to Federal Rule 3001(c) In a Chapter 7 case, a creditor should not file a Proof of Claim until the Clerk gives notice of a deadline to file since many Chapter 7 cases are "no asset" cases. A "no asset" case is one in which there are insufficient funds for the trustee to distribute to creditors.
341 Meeting of Creditors
The purpose of the 341 Meeting of Creditors is to enable the trustee to examine the debtor(s) under oath regarding the information that has been filed with the court. Creditors are also given an opportunity to ask questions. However, since time is limited, the creditor's questions should only relate to general matters regarding the debtor's schedules. If the creditor wishes to do an in-depth examination, it should request a Federal Rule 2004 examination from the court.
Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay
This motion is filed with the Court to ask for an exception to the automatic stay, which is automatically entered when a person files bankruptcy. The stay prohibits creditors from taking further action to collect on debts while the stay is in force. A motion is a written formal statement in which the party who is requesting the exception (i.e., the movant) sets forth the legal basis, citing the applicable sections of the Bankruptcy Code and the Bankruptcy Rules, for the exception/relief requested. The party against whom the relief is requested (i.e., the debtor and the trustee, if one has been appointed) are the respondents. Each motion shall be supported by all documents which assert a valid perfected security interest and all documents which support an assertion of lack of adequate protection or of equity in the property. Motions for Relief from the Automatic Stay are governed by Local Bankruptcy Rule 4001-1, 11.U.S.C. § 362(a) and Federal Rules 4001 and 9014 A Motion for Relief from the co-debtor stay is governed by 11 U.S.C. § 1301.
Ability to File Pro Se (Without an Attorney)
The general rule is that only individuals may appear pro se (see Local Bankruptcy Rules 1002-1(a)(5) and 9010-1). Corporations and partnerships generally may not file papers in a bankruptcy case pro se, and, with certain exceptions listed below, will need to obtain representation by an attorney to file any documents with the Court. See Find an Attorney (Sometimes for Free) to locate an attorney to represent you.
Creditors (including corporations or partnerships) may file pro se any documents that would not constitute the practice law, including the following:
- a Request to Receive All Notices under Federal Rule 2002(i).
- a Proof of Claim (Official Form B 410 - form can be found under Part I), or amended Proof of Claim;
- a Withdrawal of a Proof of Claim;
- a Notice of Transfer of Claim Other Than for Security (Director’s Form B210A - Form is found under Part II);
- an Application for Search of Bankruptcy Records (Director’s Form B132 - Form is found under Part II); and
- a Request to Recover Unclaimed Funds (see Procedures for Requesting Unclaimed Funds).
Though a creditor may file certain documents without an attorney, due to the complexity and legal consequences of filing, creditors are encouraged to consult with a competent attorney before filing documents with the Court. If you would like to find an attorney, click here. If you would like to proceed without an attorney, please review the Top 10 Pro Se Filing Errors.
IMPORTANT NOTICE OF REDACTION RESPONSIBILITY: All filers must redact: Social Security or taxpayer-identification numbers; dates of birth; names of minor children; and financial account numbers, in compliance with Federal Rule 9037. This requirement applies to all documents, including attachments.
Please note that pro se parties are required to maintain a current statement of address and phone number with the Clerk, pursuant to Local Bankruptcy Rule 9010-2.
Lawsuits over the property or property rights of a debtor’s bankruptcy estate or discharge are referred to adversary proceedings. When filing such an action, you must include an Adversary Proceeding Cover Sheet unless you are filing electronically through the Court’s Case Management/Electronics Case Filing System (CM/ECF). Federal Rule 7001 contains a list of matters subject to adversary proceedings. See Local Bankruptcy Rule 7003-1 and the Guide to Filing an Adversary Complaint for additional information.
Review the Filing Fee Schedules for information on the fees required for filing adversary proceedings, motions, appeals, and other filings.
When appearing before the Court, please keep in mind the following Courtroom Procedures.
Access to Tax Information
National Creditor Registration NCRS
The Bankruptcy Noticing Center offers free services provided by the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts, including the National Creditor Registration Service (NCRS), which gives creditors options to specify a preferred U.S. mail, email address, or fax number to which bankruptcy notices should be sent.