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Do I Have to List All My Creditors & Debtors When Filing for Bankruptcy?



This is a question that is typically asked in our law office at least several times a week. The answer is straightforward and the law is clear. You must list all of your creditors when you choose to file bankruptcy, whether you are filing bankruptcy on medical bills, credit card debt, or you’ve lost your job and cannot pay any of your bills.

The reasoning behind this is simple. You cannot pick and choose to list one creditor but not list a different creditor. You are not permitted to “prefer” or preferentially treat one creditor better than another creditor. For example, you don’t want to list your Credit Union that you wish to pay back, however you do not want to pay back your major credit cards. The Court’s want the playing field leveled with all creditors receiving notice of the filing.

Even if you intend to pay the creditor back in full you are still required to completely list all of your creditors when you choose to file for bankruptcy.

This rule applies whether you choose to file for bankruptcy protection and applies whether you file under Chapter 7 bankruptcy or under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 cases are where a trustee collects non-exempt assets to raise money for creditors. Over 97% of Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings are no asset cases meaning you lose no property at all when you file for bankruptcy relief.

If you leave a creditor off a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case and it turns out to be an asset case in which assets are sold to raise money for the creditors and the creditor you left out does not get any notice, then the debt is not discharged and the creditor will be able to pursue you.

If you leave a creditor off a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case by accident and it is a normal type of creditor such as a routine credit card debt, most Courts will permit the discharge of the debt.

If you leave a creditor off the Chapter 13 repayment plan and you made payments back to all of your creditors, you will probably be stuck with paying back the creditor due to leaving it out of the repayment plan. If, however, you did not pay any money back to your unsecured creditors in a Chapter 13 plan, then the Bankruptcy Court may still permit the debt to be discharged.

There are additional items to note. Even if you leave the creditor off, many credit card companies do regular credit scans and may cancel your credit card due to filing for bankruptcy protection. In addition, the fact that you listed the creditor in a bankruptcy filing does not prevent you from choosing to repay that creditor after you have received your discharge.

In addition to preparing your complete list of creditors, you can find out how to prepare for filing bankruptcy. And to successfully file for bankruptcy relief under Chapter 7 or under Chapter 13, contact an experienced Philadelphia bankruptcy lawyer.

Call The Law Offices of David M. Offen at 215-625-9600 to get answers to all of your bankruptcy and debt questions. Start enjoying life again.

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