A Proof of Claim is a legal document that a creditor must file with the Bankruptcy Court in order to receive payment under a Chapter 13 plan. Even if the Chapter 13 plan specifically provides for payments to a creditor, a Proof of Claim is required before the Chapter 13 Trustee will disburse funds to that creditor. Generally, creditors will file a Proof of Claim, but a debtor may file a claim on behalf of a non-filing, pre-petition creditor.
Creditors must file Proofs of Claim by certain time limits called “bar dates.” Governmental creditors have 180 days from the date the Petition was filed and all other creditors have only 70 days to file their Proofs of Claim. Unless a party objects to a Proof of Claim, then it is generally allowed (or unquestioned) as filed. Subject to certain exceptions, the Chapter 13 Trustee generally pays a Proof of Claim based upon the plan treatment and how the Proof of Claim is filed. Therefore, it is important that you, as a debtor, review the claims filed in your case. Although the Chapter 13 Trustee may file a routine objection to a Proof of Claim, it remains your responsibility to file objections to claims with the Bankruptcy Court, as you are in the best position to know the terms and amounts of your obligations.
As a courtesy, the Chapter 13 Trustee will send you and your attorney various documents (and also provide online information) regarding claims filed and how those claims will be treated in order to help you review the claims in your case. YOU AND YOUR ATTORNEY SHOULD REVIEW THESE DOCUMENTS CAREFULLY. If you believe a creditor filed a claim incorrectly as to the amount of the claim, type of claim, or both, contact your attorney immediately so that a formal written objection to the claim can be filed with the Bankruptcy Court.
- Notice of Claims Filed – You and your attorney will receive a copy of this report after your Chapter 13 plan is confirmed and the two bar dates have passed. It outlines which creditors have filed claims in your case, the types of claims they have filed, and in what amounts. The length of time of your plan, and the time you will be in the Chapter 13 program, may be controlled by the filed and allowed Proofs of Claim – not the length of time you state in your Chapter 13 plan.
- Notice of Additional Claims – You and your attorney may receive a copy of this report if any claims are filed after the claims bar date. The type of claim filed and provisions listed on your Chapter 13 plan dictate whether the late-filed claim will be paid. It is important to review these with your attorney if you have any questions.
- Trustee’s Report of Receipts and Disbursements – Twice a year, you will receive this report from the Trustee’s Office showing the financial activity in your case for the prior six months. REVIEW IT CAREFULLY. Examine all payments you made, claims filed and allowed, and the Trustee’s disbursements to creditors for correctness. Call your attorney’s office immediately with problems or questions.
- Online Case Information – You can also view activity in your case on a day-to-day basis online. Once you are logged into the online case information system, you will see an accounting of all receipts into your case as well as all disbursements made to creditors. The case activity is current as of the previous business day. Note: online case information cannot be used to estimate a payoff on your case. Requests for the amount of money necessary to pay off your Chapter 13 case, or for the number of months before your case will complete, can only be supplied by the Trustee’s Office upon written request signed by you and your attorney. If you need payoff information, discuss the matter with your attorney so that an appropriate form can be sent to the Chapter 13 Trustee’s Office. Any information regarding the status of case or claim is subject to court approval and is not legally binding.