In the Chapter 13 bankruptcy context, a Proof of Claim is a form used by creditors to notify the bankruptcy court that the person who filed for bankruptcy, called the debtor, owes the creditor money. Shortly after the debtor files for bankruptcy, the court mails each of the debtor’s creditors notice that the debtor is filing for bankruptcy. If a creditor wants to receive the money owed by the debtor, she must file a Proof of Claim form. If the creditor does not file a Proof of Claim, she waives the right to receive payment.
Acquire a Proof of Claim form from the bankruptcy court, if the court did not mail one to you. Note that many courts no longer mail the form to creditors.
Write the bankruptcy debtor’s name, the case number, and your name, address and telephone number in the appropriate fields at the top of the first page of the Proof of Claim form. Locate the debtor’s name and the case number on the paperwork you received from the court informing you that the debtor has filed for bankruptcy.
Write the amount of money you believe the debtor owes you under paragraph 1 of the Claim form.
Provide the court with the reason you believe the debtor owes you money under paragraph 2 of the form.
Provide the last four digits of any account the debtor has with you under paragraph 3.
Provide the court with the requested information in paragraph 4 if your claim is secured. A claim is secured if there is collateral for the debt. For example, if you sold a car to the debtor on credit and the debtor stopped making payments to you, your claim for the balance owed on the loan is secured if you and the debtor had agreed that you could sell the car if the debtor failed to pay.
Check the appropriate box under paragraph 5 if you have a priority claim. A priority claim means that you are entitled to payment before other creditors. Only certain classes of creditors are entitled to priority, such as creditors who are owed spousal or child support and creditors who worked for the debtor but have not been paid for their work.
Write the amount of any credit you have given to the debtor under paragraph 6. For example, if the debtor originally owed you $100 and you later agreed to accept only $70, you would write $30 here to show that you gave the debtor a $30 credit against the $100 loan.
Attach any supporting documentation for your claim to the Proof of Claim form, as instructed by paragraph 7. Receipts and contracts are examples of supporting documentation. A claim is not invalid if you do not attach any supporting documentation, but you would most likely have to address questions from the bankruptcy court.
Check the box under paragraph 10 to indicate that you are a creditor, then provide your name, address, telephone number and email address. Sign and date the Proof of Claim form. The court can reject your claim if you do not sign and date the form.
File the Proof of Claim form at the courthouse where the debtor filed for bankruptcy. The court's address is in the paperwork the court mailed to you informing you that the debtor has filed for bankruptcy. There is no filing fee for a Proof of Claim form.
Appear at the hearing the court will schedule and be prepared to answer any questions about your claim. The court will mail you the date, time and location of the hearing. The bankruptcy court and the debtor can ask you questions.