When filing bankruptcy, your bankruptcy attorney will explain the filing process which includes filling out a list of creditors and the amount of debt that you owe them. The bankruptcy court will notify your creditors that you have filed bankruptcy and let them know what they need to do in order for the bankruptcy court to recognize the debt you owe. The "proof of claim" is the paperwork that a creditor files in order to provide proof of what they are owed.
Proof of Claim in Bankruptcy
Once your bankruptcy petition is filed, non-governmental creditors will have 70 days to present a proof of claim and government entities 180 days. The proof of claim will include the amount owed, basis for the claim, and whether it is secured by property or unsecured.
Objecting to a Proof of Claim
As the debtor, you have the ability to object to a proof of claim filed by a creditor, as does the trustee or other related parties. You would object to a claim if the amount owed is incorrect, there are improper charges, fees, or interest included, the claim is inappropriately labeled as secured or priority, the claim is an attempt to harass the debtor, or significant supporting documentation isn't provided by the creditor. You'll need to carefully review all creditor claims with your bankruptcy attorney to ensure they are all accurate. In order to object to a proof of claim, you will only have 30 days before a scheduled hearing to do so.
Additional Information on Objecting to a Claim
You'll want to work with your bankruptcy lawyer to write and submit an objection to a proof of claim in bankruptcy court. If the creditor doesn't respond within the allotted time, the claim might not be included in the bankruptcy. However, if the creditor does contest the objection, a bankruptcy judge will make a ruling on whether to throw out the claim or allow it to be entered into the bankruptcy case. This is another way an experienced bankruptcy attorney in Sacramento can help your case: the process of objecting to a claim may differ from court to court, so having an expert who knows the local rules can make the difference in having an inaccurate claim excluded from your bankruptcy debt.