Forgetting to include Creditors in Chapter 7 Personal Bankruptcy

| Jan 7, 2016 | Chapter 7 |

What do you do if you filed a Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy and received your discharge and then realized you forgot to include a creditor. Prior to 1996 the debtor was required to file a motion to reopen the bankruptcy, pay a court fee, then file an amendment to add the creditor. There was also a court fee involved in filing the amendment. However, in 1996, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Judd v. Wolff, in the appeal of a New Jersey case,  concluded that in a no asset Chapter 7  bankruptcy case it would be a waste of the court’s time to reopen a case to add a creditor when there is not going to be a distribution anyway. As a result, as long as the creditor has not been intentionally omitted from the bankruptcy schedules, the debt is eliminated even if the creditor was forgotten. Often a debtor will have their attorney write a letter to the creditor, citing Judd v. Wolf and advise of the impact of the case and the fact that the debt is discharged. Of course it is always better to list all creditors when the initial bankruptcy is filed. A credit report is a helpful tool in making sure all creditors are listed. However, if a creditor is forgotten, it can still be addressed.