What if you Forgot to List a Creditor on your Bankruptcy Forms?


Category: Personal Bankruptcy (8) comments

Filing for bankruptcy is a stressful time. As part of the process you are asked to provide your bankruptcy trustee with a list of your creditors, how much you think you owe on each debt and a list of your assets. Can you forget one or two? It happens, and the fact that a creditor didn’t appear on your official bankruptcy documents does not, in and of itself, cause any problems.

What happens next depends on the circumstances of the omission.

forgot creditor bankruptcy formsThe most common scenario is that someone honestly forgets about one of their debts when filling out their bankruptcy application. A typical example might be an overdrawn bank account that they haven’t used for a few years. If you become aware of the debt while you remain in bankruptcy, all you need to do is inform your trustee so that the creditor can be sent the appropriate documents. In the majority of these cases the creditors actually find out about the bankruptcy themselves (usually because of another debt with you) and contact the trustee on their own. Regardless, no harm was done and the debt simply gets included in your bankruptcy along with all of your other debts.

But what if you don’t discover the debt until after you have completed your bankruptcy? In these cases, your creditor is entitled to the same rate of return that all of your other creditors received from the bankruptcy. For example, if all of the previously disclosed creditors received $0.10 on the dollar for their debts then the newly discovered creditor is entitled to the same $0.10 on the dollar for their debt. Since the vast majority of personal bankruptcy result in no payments to a person’s creditors, in most cases the new creditor is entitled to nothing. You simply send them proof of the bankruptcy, proof you have completed it properly, and proof of what the other creditors received.

A less common and more problematic scenario is one in which the person that filed for bankruptcy deliberately left a creditor off their list. This can result in a lot of trouble.
If the creditor can prove the person that filed ought to have reasonably known about the debt and therefore in all probability made a conscious decision not to list the debt on their bankruptcy forms then the creditor can argue that the debt should survive the bankruptcy process. Further, if this matter is brought before the Court, the Court could decide to question the original intent of the person that filed for bankruptcy. The Court has the right to impose whatever terms they want in order to complete a bankruptcy. In extreme cases the Court has the right to refuse to grant a discharge from bankruptcy if they think the person that filed has been less than honest in their dealings with their creditors, their trustee, or the Court.

So, for the people that made an honest mistake, the fact that a creditor didn’t appear on the official documents does not cause any serious problems. You should not be worried if you can’t recall every single debt when talking to your trustee.  Make your best efforts, and advise your trustee ahead of time if you are concerned. They can provide you with some information on how to complete your bankruptcy forms as fully and honestly as you can.

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  1. Rene

    Hi there,

    I have a question. I was discharged from Bankruptcy on April 7, 2012. I just received a notice from revenue Quebec stating that I owe them back taxes of $2134 dating from an invoice that they sent me on September 28, 2011. The invoice was sent while I was in my 9 months of bankruptcy. Is there anyway that this can be included in my bankruptcy from 2012?

    Thank you,

    Rene

    Reply
  2. Matthew

    Hi! I have a question as well.

    I was discharged from bankruptcy way back in June 2010. I included all my debtors, including “Company A”, “Company B” and “Company C”.

    To my shock I’ve just received a call from an agent of “Company B” who has since purchased my account for debt collection purposes. They do not dispute that I included “Company B” in my bankruptcy, but they say assert that I owe them for a separate (pre-declaration of bankruptcy) debt that I did not include in my bankruptcy that is owed to “Company B”, and, consequently, I am still liable for this separate debt. (Debt was an unsecured loan of sorts with a private for-profit financial institution.)

    Obviously I highly doubt doubt the validity of this claim because as far as I’m aware, the most important thing when declaring bankruptcy is including all the creditors that you owe, not the amounts owed.

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. J. Douglas Hoyes

      Hi Matthew. Sounds like a scam to me. All of the debts that existed at the time of your bankruptcy are included, whether or not they appeared on your original bankruptcy paperwork. Regardless, Company B was aware of your bankruptcy, so the fact that they sold your debt to a debt buyer has no bearing on this. I don’t see how their claim can be valid. It’s more likely that the debt buyer wants to try to recover some money, so they are telling you lies in the hope that you will pay them something.

      Reply
  3. Maryam B.

    My situation is similar to Matthew’s above and I’m wondering if your response also applies to me.
    In my 2006 bankruptcy, I listed all accounts in my name (3) with TD- Canada Trust and I paid all fees required and was granted an Absolute Discharge in 2007. I have just been contacted by FDR who claim I owe for a 4th TD account that I neglected to list in 2006. (It was a joint account with another person and I’d forgotten about it.) The amount owing in 2006 was $1080 and FDR now wants $2118.41 to settle it, “due to interest charges accumulated”.
    Since TD-Canada Trust was notified of my bankruptcy and received a portion of the debt owing on each of the 3 accounts listed as part of the bankruptcy settlement, it is clear they knew about my bankruptcy. I have sent copies of my bankruptcy papers to FDR, showing the payments made and the Absolute Discharge Notice but they claim I still owe them for the account not listed.
    What are my options at this point?

    Reply
    1. J. Douglas Hoyes

      I would suggest you review this with your trustee, because I agree with you; the debt existed at the date of your bankruptcy, and since TD was aware of your bankruptcy, it should be included.

      Given the age of the debt, it is highly unlikely that the collection agency will sue you for it (since in most provinces the limitation period is two years, and this is far past that), so the simple solution may be to advise the collector that the debt was included in your bankruptcy, and regardless it is past the limitation period. That should eventually stop the phone calls.

      Reply
  4. Bitabella

    Thank you for being there.

    I declared bankruptcy in 2012 as a physician who went through depression and was not able to work having to give up my license. I included all my debt, including 5K taxes owed on my medical corp and provided them the binder.

    I received absolute discharge in late 2014. CRA contacted me about 6 months ago asking for taxes owed on corp. they are aware of my bankruptcy as I owed some personal taxes. Bankruptcy trustee told me they have included it and CRA should not contact me and they would clear it. Fast forward to moe, CRA contacted me again saying trustee did not file taxes for 2012, 2013 or 2014. This time I emailed my trustee and she wrote that they did not file taxes as my corp did not declare bankruptcy.

    I wrote back I trusted their advice, provided all info including corp binder and what I owed. I was the sole shareholder with no money left in corp, with no medical license to keep the corp and trusted they would do what is needed to be done to have a fresh start.

    It feels like they forgot to include. They didn’t care to let me know they made a mistake 6 months ago when they found out and I feel betrayed. I trusted them when I was down, suicidal barely affording their monthly fee. Can they just wash off their hand for this mistake?

    God bless you
    I read your blogs, videos and wish I was living in ON to seek your help throughout those black days

    Reply
    1. J. Douglas Hoyes

      Without knowing the full circumstances of your bankruptcy it is impossible to give you a complete answer. Clearly you filed personal bankruptcy, so any debts owed by a separate corporation would not be included. However, if the corporation is no longer operating, it may not be an issue. I would suggest you review this again with your trustee and ask them to explain in detail your options. If you are not satisfied with your trustee, you can discuss your situation with the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy.

      Reply

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