Listing Creditors in Bankruptcy

By Derek Prosser

It is almost universal when our clients give us the paperwork to prepare their bankruptcy case, they make notations next to 1 or 2 of their creditors, usually credit cards, saying “do not include” or “I want to keep this one.”  Unfortunately, you’re not allowed to simply not list creditors in bankruptcy.  Whether you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Texas where you’re trying to get rid of all your credit card debt, or you file Dallas Chapter 13 bankruptcy where you might end up paying a portion of your credit card debt back, you still have to list them.

What if I don’t know who to list?

The Bankruptcy Code requires that you list in your bankruptcy schedules everyone that you owe money to.  More specifically, it requires the debtor to list anyone that might have a claim, even if you dispute that you owe it or not.  Remember, the purpose of the bankruptcy laws is to benefit you, so including all creditors, even over-including those you might not owe out of an abundance of caution, is imperative to the success of your case.

Unfortunately, not all debts are clear cut and you’re not always sure whether you owe certain individuals or businesses debts.  For example, you recently visited the doctor and made your co-payment.  However, before you get the potential bill something comes up and you’re forced to file for bankruptcy.  Do you owe the doctor?  Maybe, maybe not.  A prudent Dallas bankruptcy attorney would make sure that potential debt is listed.  But why?

The main reason for making sure these debts are listed is that debts won’t be eligible for the bankruptcy discharge if you do owe them but failed to list them.  Furthermore, failing to list anything in your paperwork that could be construed as an omission, false and/or misleading, which can have grave consequences.  In particular, filing false oaths or failing to list all the information required in your paperwork could cause you to lose your bankruptcy discharge.

If you are considering bankruptcy or are currently in bankruptcy but concerned your creditors have been improperly listed, contact our experienced Texas bankruptcy attorneys today to review your case.

About the Author
Derek Prosser understands that clients need help and need answers and that in order to properly address those concerns, clients need to deal with an attorney first and always, not just an assistant or paralegal.  By effectively counseling from the outset of a case, Toronjo & Prosser Law can anticipate and address potential problems before they arise, as opposed to when they’ve already surfaced (the “Counsel Later” approach), and, in the end, strive for a seamless representation.