Who Notifies Creditors About My Bankruptcy Filing?
The Bankruptcy Court notifies your creditors about your bankruptcy filing. The most common way that creditors find out about the bankruptcy filing is from a letter directly from the Clerk of the United States Bankruptcy Court. All creditors listed in your bankruptcy schedules will receive notice of the filing. The form of the letter is known as a B-9A and it contains all kinds of detailed information about the filing. It lists the debtor, the debtor’s address, and the last four digits of the Social Security number. It names the attorney for the debtor as well as the address and the phone number. Of course, it has the case number. It has the jurisdiction in which the case was filed and most importantly, it has the trustee as well as the date, time, and location of the Meeting of Creditors. There is also some information on the B-9A regarding what actions certain creditors can take or not take now that a case has been filed. Sometimes, the debtor may not want to wait for letters from the court to reach creditors. According to long time Chicago bankruptcy lawyer David Siegel:
In some situations, you don’t want to wait for the clerk to notify your creditors but you want to have your attorney send an Automatic Stay to the creditor in advance of receiving notice from the clerk. This would be common if there is a garnishment or other type of court proceeding and you want the creditor to get notice immediately about your bankruptcy filing. The Automatic Stay is a one-page document that gets sent to creditors either by fax or email notifying them that a case has been filed on your behalf and that certain actions cannot be taken. Those actions include any type of effort to collect on a debt including sending statements, making phone calls or trying to attach bank accounts or wages.
Only Listed Creditors Will Receive Notice, So be Thorough
It is important to emphasize that only creditors listed on your schedules will receive notice of your bankruptcy filing. If you leave a creditor off your filing, they will not be bound by the discharge.
Having said that, if they do receive notice, they should immediately stop harassing you. If you are having problems with a particular creditor, notify your attorney. He or she has the ability to send additional notices and motions to take that creditor before the bankruptcy court for sanctions. Creditors are prohibited from attempting to collect on debts once they receive notice that a bankruptcy case has been filed.
The Bottom Line
As long as you follow the rule of full disclosure, and list all debts and assets, your attorney, as well as the clerk, will help make sure that each creditor is notified about your bankruptcy filing.
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