Filing for bankruptcy can be a complicated legal process that involves submitting many documents to the bankruptcy court. Along with your bankruptcy petition and schedules, which include information about your assets and property you want excluded from the bankruptcy case, you must submit a bankruptcy creditor index. The court often refers to the bankruptcy creditor index as a bankruptcy matrix.
Purpose of Matrix
The matrix includes information about all your creditors, including their contact information. The bankruptcy court uses this information to notify your creditors of the pending bankruptcy case and to process claim information. For example, the court clerk will use the matrix to send your creditors notice of the meeting of the creditors. This meeting usually occurs about a month after you file for bankruptcy and is held in the bankruptcy trustee's office. During the meeting, the trustee will review your petition and schedules and confirm that the information is accurate.
While each bankruptcy court may differ slightly regarding the format of the bankruptcy creditor matrix, many courts provide a form that clearly displays how the court would like the matrix to be completed. Generally, you will have to provide the name and address of each creditor. In some cases, the court requires that you provide at least one space between each creditor. And many courts also recommend that the index be completed with the names of the creditors in alphabetical order.
You submit your creditor matrix immediately after you file for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you do not submit a complete matrix to the court, it will be your responsibility to ensure any omitted creditors receive notice of the creditors' meeting and of your pending case. In some instances, the court may ask you to complete and file with the court a Certificate of Service to prove you provided your creditors with the relevant notices.
Failing to submit a matrix or submitting an incomplete matrix can have consequences for both you and your creditors. For example, the creditor may not receive notice of the pending bankruptcy case and will miss the opportunity to challenge the bankruptcy or receive a fair share of your assets. Therefore, to ensure the matrix is completed correctly, you can compare the matrix with bankruptcy schedules D, E and F to confirm all creditors are included. Schedule D lists creditors that hold a secured claim, Schedule E lists unsecured creditors with priority claims and Schedule F includes information about unsecured creditors with non-priority claims. A secured loan has collateral, like a home, that the creditor can seize if you fail to make payments. Priority claims, including child support and taxes, are debts that will be repaid before other creditors.