Short Answer: All creditors must be listed (no exceptions).
People or businesses file bankruptcy, you don’t file against this debt and not against that debt. Therefore, ALL creditors must be listed in your bankruptcy filing; whether they are dischargeable or not; whether the amounts owed are fixed or not; whether you agree that you owe the creditor money or not; and whether or not the debt is owed to friends or relatives. In short even if it is remotely possible that you owe someone money you should error on the side of caution and list the “potential” creditor.
This is made plain by the bankruptcy code, which defines a “creditor” as including an entity that holds a “claim” against the debtor or the estate. Section 101(5) defines a “claim” as a –
(A) right to payment, whether or not such right is reduced to judgment, liquidated, unliquidated, fixed, contingent, matured, unmatured, disputed, undisputed, legal, equitable, secured, or unsecured; or
(B) right to an equitable remedy for breach of performance if such breach gives rise to a right to payment, whether or not such right to an equitable remedy is reduced to judgment, fixed, contingent, matured, unmatured, disputed, undisputed, secured, or unsecured.
11 U.S.C. Sec. 101(5).
Commonly overlooked creditors could include:
- A person that may have the right to sue you for something.
- If you are a contractor, it could include a person that may have a warranty claim against you.
- Student Loans, and other generally nondischargeable debts (criminal restitution charges, fines, etc.).
- A debt owed to a friend.
- A debt owed to a relative.
- A potential debt owed to a person from a former relationship, who may claim you owe them money.
- A current or past tenant.
- A former landlord.
- A customer who potentially could have the right to assert a claim against you.
- An entity you may have written a bad check to.
- A bank on an overdrawn account.
- A party to a contract you may have breached.
- Professionals such as lawyers and accountant to whom you may owe money.
- A former spouse.
- Governmental Creditors holding potential claims for overpayment of public assistance, Social Security or unemployment claims.
Please also note that your schedules are signed under penalty of perjury. Therefore, if you knowingly fail to list a creditor you will be in violation of the bankruptcy law. Moreover, failure to list a creditor can prevent the debt from being discharged in a chapter 13 case or in a chapter 7 case where the trustee administers assets. In addition, failing to list a creditor will make correcting a credit report more difficult.
If you believe you failed to list a creditor in a bankruptcy case you already filed, you should contact your attorney immediately to see if there is sufficient time to add the creditor by amending your schedules.
If you have questions, please feel free to contact us or call 919-875-8773.