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Debts


The Bankruptcy Code requires a debtor to list all debts or liabilities. A debtor cannot choose to list some, but not all, debts. However, certain debts may be treated differently from others during the bankruptcy case and after discharge. Continue reading for a summary of the debt-related bankruptcy forms and how debt information is obtained for the official forms.

Schedules D, E, F, G and H of the official forms list debt-related claims. 
  • Schedule D lists secured claims, where a security interest (e.g., a mortgage or a lien) in certain collateral (e.g., real estate or personal property) provides some protection for the creditor’s claim. In bankruptcy, a debt (loan) is dischargeable, but a security interest (lien) is not. In general, a lien survives the bankruptcy—except in certain circumstances. 
  • Schedule E lists priority, unsecured claims. Priority claims are not dischargeable in bankruptcy and include, among others, the following: domestic support obligations (alimony, maintenance and child support); earnings owed to employees; security deposits from tenants; claims for death or person injury resulting from the operation of a vehicle or vessel while intoxicated by alcohol, drugs or another substance; and certain taxes (e.g., taxes recently assessed, due less than 3 years before bankruptcy, or for which returns have not been filed).
  • Schedule F lists all other unsecured claims — all debts owed even if disputed by the debtor. Also include the following claims: (1) codebtors (see Schedule H below); (2) claims that are contingent, where your liability depends on or is conditioned by something else that may or may not happen; and (3) unliquidated claims for which the amount of the debt has not been determined, adjusted or settled. By way of example, do not forget to list other parties to a motor vehicle accident, who may try to hold you liable for their personal injury or property damage—even if you are sure that you were not at fault. Get an accident report showing information about any other driver, vehicle owner or occupant, as well as anyone else affected.
  • Schedule G lists executory contracts and unexpired leases: contracts that still require some performance by both parties or leases that have not yet ended. Just because leased property has been vacated or abandoned does not mean that the lease has expired or has been terminated if the end date originally agreed to has not yet passed. A typical example of an executory contract is an agreement for orthodontic treatment where a debtor is making installment payments to cover future treatment to be provided by a dentist. A debtor must choose whether to assume or reject any executory contract or unexpired lease. If the contract or lease is not assumed within 60 days after the petition, it is deemed to have been rejected.
  • Schedule H lists all codebtors. This includes anyone for whom you are a cosigner or guarantor as well those who have cosigned or guaranteed debts for your benefit.

There are three ways for a retained client to provide this law firm with the information needed for the debt schedules. 
  • First, a Consumer Liability Report can be downloaded by the attorney from a third party provider like CIN Legal Data Services. The CLR provides “customized credit reporting & public record data outlining the liabilities associated with an individual designed specifically for use in the filing of a bankruptcy petition.” This is handy because it helps automate part of the preparation of the official forms.
  • Second, provide all “communications” (e.g., correspondence or statements) with an account number and a correspondence or bankruptcy address received from any creditor within 90 days before the petition, especially if an address is shown for bankruptcy notice. See 11 U.S.C. § 342(c)(2)(A). If no notice has been received within 90 days, provide the last 2 communications received with the account number and correspondence or bankruptcy address. See 11 U.S.C. § 342(c)(2)(B). 
  • There is a third way to provide me with creditors that (1) are not listed on the CLR or (2) for which you have no creditor communications. In your online folder, you should find your copy of a file titled “Add-A-Debt.” Send an email requesting a link to that form. Then, complete the form for each creditor that needs to be added. 
If you become aware of a prepetition creditor omitted from the original schedules, the Add-A-Debt form should be completed to add the omitted creditor as soon as possible before the filing of the petition. If you discover that a debt has been omitted after the filing of the petition, the Add-A-Debt form can be used to provide the information needed for an amended debt schedule and for notice required to any omitted creditor. 

See the current Supplement to Representation and Compensation Agreement for additional attorney fees and court fees for adding omitted creditors. As a general rule, a chapter 7 or chapter 13 discharge does not apply to debts for creditors that are not listed in the original schedules or an amendment and that do not receive notice of the bankruptcy. There may be an exception to the general rule if the creditor omission was inadvertent, listed creditors were not paid anything in the chapter 7 case, and the omitted creditor had no basis to object to discharge.