Another category of debt which bankruptcy law does not wipe out, is for people or institutions which do not have complete names and/or addresses, so as to be unable to give them notice of the pending bankruptcy or bankruptcy notification. If the creditor, real or disputed, does not receive notice of the bankruptcy, they have no opportunity to participate in or object to the bankruptcy within the 90-day period the bankruptcy law provides. If these creditors do not receive notice and are excluded from having the opportunity to object to your bankruptcy while your bankruptcy is pending, the presumption is that the debts to these creditors are not wiped out.
Under certain circumstances, it may be possible to re-open your bankruptcy case to add additional creditors once the discharge has been issued. This procedure requires the filing of an adversary proceeding where the burden of proof is on the debtor to show that the failure to include the additional creditors was due to an inadvertent mistake, and that the creditor was not prejudiced by your failure to include them in the original bankruptcy filing. The filing fee to the bankruptcy Court to reopen a closed case is nearly as much as the filing fee for the original case, and the cost of prosecuting the adversary proceeding is more extensive and requires an additional, separate fee as great or greater than the cost of the filing of your original bankruptcy case. Therefore, you are greatly encouraged to list any and all persons that you think you might owe as the cost of obtaining their complete names and addresses now is a lot less than trying to add it in the future. This is especially true since the electronic bankruptcy filing software allows us to directly import the names and addresses of your creditors and collection agencies from at least two of the credit reporting agencies.
We will discuss more exceptions of debt in our next few articles, so make sure to come back for more!
By: Joel S. Treuhaft, Esquire