The Proof of Claim is a form which identifies the amount of money the debtor owes the creditor and the reasons for payments. It is important for all debtors to review the Proof of Claim forms with their bankruptcy lawyer to ensure they are accurate and there are no duplicates. The Proof of Claim form should be completed as early in the bankruptcy process as possible. Under 11 U.S.C. § 501 the following may file a Proof of Claim for debt which is accrued prior to the date the bankruptcy petition is filed: the equity security holders, trustee, indenture trustee, co-debtor, debtor or creditor. All Proof of Claims from unsecured creditors must be filed within 90 days from the date of the first Meeting of the Creditors.
The Proof of Claims form requires the creditor to provide the debtor's name, the bankruptcy case number and information to contact the creditor. Evidence for the debt must also be provided including: liens, court judgments, contracts and invoices. The reason for the claim, the type of claim (secured or unsecured), and the date the debt occurred must also be included on the form. Bankruptcy attorneys can help complete the Proof of Claims to ensure accuracy. The Proof of Claim form will provide the date the creditors must provide the information to the Bankruptcy Court. The Bankruptcy Court will determine if the debt outlined in the Proof of Claim is valid and whether or not the creditor will receive payment under the bankruptcy liquidation process. Under Chapter 7 Bankruptcy if a creditor fails to provide a Proof of Claim form to the Bankruptcy Court they may lose their right to payment from the monies collected from liquidating the debtor's assets.
Proof of Claim forms can be downloaded from the United States Bankruptcy website. Creditors who are not listed on the schedule of creditors must file the appropriate form to be added to the list.