Bankruptcy Schedule Mistakes
Mistakes are made all the time in life, but when you make a mistake in bankruptcy it can cost a lot. Mistakes in listing creditors could mean the difference between a bankruptcy discharge and a bankruptcy fail.
The good news is you are usually allowed to correct your mistakes.
When it comes to leaving a creditor off your bankruptcy schedule, you might be able to fix the error of your ways and move forward. But not always. Here’s what you need to know:
Amending an Open Bankruptcy Case
If your bankruptcy case is still open you should be able to amend your schedules. Adding a name to the open schedules means it will be added to the master list of creditors which means the creditor will likely be notified and included in your bankruptcy.
Keep in mind, just because you’ve filed and the filing has been accepted doesn’t mean your case will ultimately be successful. But it’s soon enough in your case that if you make adjustments they probably won’t look suspicious. There is usually an amending fee, so the less you need to amend the better.
But just adding a creditor doesn’t mean that creditor will get timely notice of your bankruptcy automatically. As soon as you file the clerk’s office sends out notice to your creditors. The notice includes alert of the automatic stay and dates for the first meeting of creditors, the deadline to object, and the bar date for filing proofs of claim.
Any creditors you need to add when you amen your schedules are still legally entitled to getting notice and if they do not get actual notice, there’s a chance that creditor won’t be bound to the same deadlines.
Your bankruptcy attorney can make sure all parts of this are taken care of and ensure that any newly listed creditors receive actual notice.
Amending After Deadlines Have Passed
But what happens if your meeting of creditors and the other important dates listed in the notice have passed? Can you still amend your schedules to include additional creditors?
Usually, if it’s just the deadline for the first meeting of creditors, adding a creditor is still fairly easy. Don’t set out to need to do it, but don’t panic if it’s necessary.
This is not so much the case if the date to challenge the discharge has passed. Chances are a debt linked to a creditor that did not receive notice in time to challenge the discharge will survive the discharge – meaning you’ll still owe the debt and the court will offer no protection from collection efforts.
You can learn more about creditors challenging bankruptcy discharges from this information from NOLO.com.
You might still have options, so make sure you discuss any missed creditors with your attorney. Never ignore the problem or not say anything to your attorney because you don’t want to get into trouble or you’re assuming it’s too late. It’s better to give your attorney the information and let him or her decide how you should proceed.
Keep in mind, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a lot more flexible when it comes to dealing with missed creditors than Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In most cases, if a creditor doesn’t get notice of filing in time to object in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the court will side with the creditor and they will not be bound by the discharge.
To learn more about bankruptcy and what’s required of you when you file, contact the bankruptcy Law Office of Robert M. Geller at 813-254-5696 to discuss your situation.