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What is a proof of claim in bankruptcy?

Despite the credit challenges it involves after the process is complete, bankruptcy can certainly be beneficial for debtors who are unable to reasonably foresee being able to pay their creditors back. As everybody knows, part of the way bankruptcy works is by writing off some of the debt and sending creditors away partially paid or not paid at all. Still, creditors do have the right to seek what is due to them when a bankruptcy case is filed.

To register a claim in bankruptcy, creditors are able to submit a proof of claim, which is a document that details the amount a debtor owes as of the time bankruptcy was filed. The idea is to let the court know about the claim so that the creditor has the chance to collect some of the debt back, if possible.

There are several important points for creditors to keep in mind when submitting a proof of claim form to a bankruptcy court. The first thing is to ensure all the information provided is accurate and up-to-date. This includes not only the amount of debt claimed, but also the debtor’s name and information, the basis for the claim, and any other information required on the form.

Another important point is to ensure that one is correct when identifying whether the claim is partially secured, fully secured, or unsecured. For secured claims, creditors should attach all necessary documentation supporting the security interest. In addition, creditors should be sure to include any other documentation, such as documents showing the perfection of security interests.

Debtors can and do have the opportunity to challenge claims in the bankruptcy process. There are a variety of reasons why a claim might be challenged, and it is important to work with an experienced attorney to ensure one has guidance in doing so when necessary.

Source: uscourts.gov, “Proof of Claim and Instructions,” Accessed Nov. 3, 2014. 

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