What happens if you leave a creditor off your bankruptcy (BK) mailing matrix? What are the consequences of failing to list a creditor on your filed BK documents? This article discusses this potential problem and how to fix it.
One of many judgment articles: I am a Judgment Broker, not a lawyer, and this article is my opinion based on my experience, please consult with a lawyer if you need legal advice.
Generally, unsecured creditors are prohibited from collecting their debt from you, after your successful BK discharge.
The BK schedules contain the names and addresses of your creditors, balances due, and other information about your debts. Depending on your BK situation, failing to list creditors on your BK mailing matrix may later cause significant problems in your BK case.
The seriousness of the potential problem depends on whether you filed a Chapter 7 or 13 BK, whether your debt is secured or unsecured, and whether your Chapter 7 BK is an asset or a no-asset case. Failing to list a creditor on the creditor mailing list might be just fine, or can become expensive.
The mailing matrix (also called the creditor mailing list) is a list, alphabetically arranged, of all your creditors. The court sends a notice of your BK filing to all entities and people listed on the mailing list. If a creditor does not receive notice of the filing of your BK case, that creditor loses their chance to participate in your BK.
Certain people intentionally omit creditors from their mailing lists, and/or debts from their BK schedules. This type of information withholding can become a big problem.
You sign your BK petition under penalty of perjury. If you intentionally omit a creditor or debt, you are lying to the court. If the court finds out, they will probably dismiss your BK case.
How can you be sure the BK court has included all your creditors on the mailing list? Carefully review the mailing matrix, and compare your known creditors to the creditor list on your BK schedules.
You can also check that you have included all your creditors, by reviewing a recent credit report. Some debts will not be listed on your credit report, so do not depend only on your credit report when preparing your BK debt and creditor lists.
What happens when you do not list a creditor on a Chapter 7 mailing list? What happens depends on whether you have an asset or no-asset BK case.
In a no-asset Chapter 7 BK case, there is not enough money for the trustee to distribute anything to your creditors and you do not own any property or assets that the trustee can sell for money.
Unsecured creditors do not need to file a proof of claim in a no-asset BK case. Since no claims are required, omitting a creditor does not change their tiny odds to get paid anything.
However, even in a no-asset BK case, if you fail to list a secured creditor, the creditor may later (perhaps after you inherit assets) take legal actions such as foreclosure, repossession, or a levy; to collect the debt after your BK discharge.
On Chapter 7 BK cases with assets, the omission of a creditor can be more serious. If the creditor does not receive notice of the BK filing, the creditor loses their chance to file a proof of claim, and their chance to receive any payment from your BK case.
In BK cases with assets, not noticing a creditor entitles the creditor to collect money and nonexempt assets from you after your BK discharge.
What happens if one does not list a creditor in their Chapter 13 BK filing? If you fail to include a creditor that should be included in the Chapter 13 case, the creditor will not be notified of the BK filing, and the debt to them will not be discharged at the conclusion of your BK case.
By listing all your debts in your Chapter 13 plan, the plan will take care of the repayment of your debts, rather than leaving control of repayment to some creditor. Post-discharge collection is serious because even after your successful repayment plan, you may still owe the creditors that you did not list in your Chapter 13 BK case.
What should you do if you discover that you have omitted a creditor from the BK mailing matrix? Usually, you will be able to add the debt to your BK case by filing a document with the court that explains your omission.
That filed BK document should provide all required information about the debt, and state whether or not the additional debt will affect your case. If adding the debt affects your case, you may need to amend your Chapter 13 plan or your Chapter 7 (asset) Statement of Intention.
In any bankruptcy, it is best to think carefully and do some research, before you sign and file your BK petition.