Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Proof of Claims

BankruptcyChapter 13 debtors file a plan to reorganize their debts.  These plans state how much creditors will received, state the value of collateral, and payment terms. If all goes well the plan is approved by the court and soon after the trustee begins making payments to the creditors.  However, creditors don’t get paid automatically simply because they are listed in a plan.  In order to receive payment the creditors must file a proof of claim.  A proof of claim is a document that clearly states what is owed to the creditors and is supported by other documents evidencing the obligation.  If a creditor fails to file a proof of claim they won’t get paid.

There is a deadline for creditors to file claims.  For most creditors the deadline is 90 days after the first setting of the 341 meeting of creditors.  The deadline for government agencies to file a proof of claim is 180 days after the date the petition was filed.  Missing the deadline to file a proof of claim usually has the same effect as not filing one at all.  The trustee will not pay the claim or else the claim is subordinated to the other claims filed in the case and as a result has very little chance of getting paid.

Sometimes creditors file a timely proof of claim but then amend the proof of claim after the claim deadline has passed.  In Texas bankruptcy courts amended proof of claims are usually allowed, but not always.  Courts consider whether the amendment is actually the equivalent of filing a new claim.  For example, if a creditor amends a claim to change the claim classification from unsecured to priority then the trustee will probably object to the amendment as being late-filed.  Courts do allow amendments simply to make corrections, supplement attached documents, or to give more information about a claim already provided for in the document.