Cite as: Keith M. Lundin, Lundin On Chapter 13, § 57.1, at ¶ ____, LundinOnChapter13.com (last visited __________).
Probably the single most important act for a creditor in every Chapter 13 case is to timely file a correct proof (or proofs) of claim.1 No amount of negotiation or litigation within the Chapter 13 case is a reliable substitute for the simple expedient of filing a proof of claim. There are few or no good strategic reasons for a creditor to purposefully fail to file a proof of claim.2
The most effective time to file a proof of claim is immediately upon receiving notice of the filing of the case. Creditors should not wait until confirmation or later to file. Failure to file before confirmation limits standing to object to confirmation.3 Failure to file before the claims bar date forfeits the creditor’s rights to distributions from the trustee.4
A timely filed claim can generally be amended;5 an unfiled or untimely filed claim usually results in a windfall for the debtor or other creditors.6 It is astonishing and baffling that a significant portion of listed claims are never filed in Chapter 13 cases. Millions of dollars that would have been distributed to creditors go elsewhere.
In many jurisdictions, a proof of claim form is supplied with the notice of filing. It is a simple matter for the creditor to fill out the proof of claim and mail it to the appropriate place. The failure to do so almost guarantees that payments will never be made to the creditor.7
1 See discussion of filing claims beginning at § 131.1 Official Bankruptcy Form 410 and Variations.
2 See § 288.1 [ Failure to File Proof of Claim ] § 135.5 Failure to File Proof of Claim.
3 See § 219.1 [ Standing to Object ] § 116.1 Standing to Object.
5 See § 284.1 [ Amended Claims ] § 133.4 Amended Claims.
6 See §§ 289.1 [ Untimely Filed Claims in Cases Filed before October 22, 1994: The Hausladen Phenomenon ] § 135.6 Untimely Filed Claims in Cases Filed before October 22, 1994: The Hausladen Phenomenon and 290.1 [ Untimely Filed Claims in Cases Filed after October 22, 1994 ] § 135.7 Untimely Filed Claims in Cases Filed after October 22, 1994.
7 There will be rare situations in which the trustee or the debtor files a proof of claim on behalf of a creditor. See § 134.1 Timing, Form, Superseding and Amended Claims before 2005, § 134.2 Filing of Claims by Debtor or Trustee after 2005 Amendments to Bankruptcy Rule 3004 and § 134.3 Strategic Considerations: When to File Claims for Creditors.