Does Every Creditor File a Proof of Claim for Chapter 13?

By Tom Streissguth

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows a burdened debtor to escape collection actions and lawsuits brought by creditors. A court trustee sets up a repayment plan in which the debtor repays a percentage of his outstanding debts to all creditors who have filed a Proof of Claim form. Important rules in the bankruptcy code govern who needs to file a Proof of Claim to obtain repayment from the debtor.


Chapter 13 bankruptcy gives a debtor a chance to repay a portion of his unsecured debts and then have the court cancel the remaining balance. A court trustee collects monthly payments from the debtor and pays the creditors based on the repayment plan. If the debtor falls behind or stops payments, the case is dismissed or converted to a Chapter 7, in which a trustee seizes non-exempt property and sells it to repay the creditors.

Proof of Claim

When filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor must fill out schedules that list all of his debts. Unsecured debts, such as credit card accounts and medical bills, are not secured by property. Secured debts allow the lender to seize property (such as a car) that has been pledged by the borrower against default. The court notifies all listed creditors using information provided by the debtor. The creditors have 30 days from notification to file a Proof of Claim. This document asserts their right to repayment according to the trustee's schedule. "Creditor" and "claim" are defined in 11 USC §101 of the federal bankruptcy code. Filing procedures and deadlines are covered in 11 USC §501.

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Filing Requirements

To be included in the repayment plan, all creditors must file a Proof of Claim. This includes private lenders as well as public entities such as the Internal Revenue Service, and state and local agencies. If a creditor fails to file a timely Proof of Claim, then the claim will be disallowed. Exceptions are made if the debtor failed to list the creditor in the initial petition, and in this case, the court will require amended schedules from the debtor and proper notification to the creditor. This may happen at any time before the repayment plan is complete and the court grants a discharge.

Forms and Schedules

Debtors filing for bankruptcy list their secured debts on Schedule D, unsecured "non-priority" debts on Schedule F and unsecured "priority" debts on Schedule E. (Priority debts are those which the bankruptcy law will not allow you to discharge and must be paid in full.) The Proof of Claim form filed by creditors is known simply as a "B10." All forms and schedules are available online from the website. Forms can be filled out online and then printed out for signature and filing.

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Who Is a Secured Creditor in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?


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How to Amend a Discharged Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy because your nonexempt assets are sold by a court-appointed trustee to pay your creditors. After all of your eligible assets are liquidated, you receive a discharge of any remaining debt owed to the creditors listed in your bankruptcy petition. However, if you forgot to list a creditor or asset, or were unaware of a debt owed or asset owned at the time you filed for bankruptcy, you may be able to reopen your case to include these items.

Bankruptcy Exemption Requirements

If your debts are out of control and you have little hope of catching up on the bills, you have the option to file for bankruptcy protection. The federal bankruptcy code allows you to file under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the code. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, a court-appointed trustee seizes your non-exempt property to repay your debts. In a Chapter 13 filing, the trustee sets a repayment schedule, and you are allowed to keep your property. Exemptions are an important consideration in both forms of bankruptcy.

Reasons to File Chapter 13

Filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition enables a debtor to pay back debts over a three-to-five year period, through a court appointed trustee. Unlike other forms of bankruptcy, the debtor does not risk losing his home or car through liquidation as long as his monthly payments are current. After successful completion of the Chapter 13 plan, all unsecured debts, such as credit card debt, listed at the time of the bankruptcy filing, are discharged and the debtor's secured debts, such as a car loan or mortgage, are returned to good standing.


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