Occasionally you may find that you are a creditor in a bankruptcy case. If the bankruptcy trustee finds assets of the debtor that he or she can sell (liquidate), he will notify the creditors that there will be a distribution. In that case, you will be notified of a deadline to file a proof of claim. The proof of claim is a form that a creditor must fill out if they wish to get a payment from the trustee. If no form is filed with the court, no payment will be made, even if the claim is valid.
At the top of the form, there is a space to indicate the name of the bankruptcy court. Enter this name in the space next to "United States Bankruptcy Court." For example, it may read "United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California." You can determine the name of the bankruptcy court by looking at the other documents you have received from the court or the clerk.
Below the name of the court, enter the name of the debtor. Also, enter the number of the case. Your name will go right below this information, next to "Name of Creditor." Make sure you enter the actual name of the person or entity to whom the debtor owes money. For example, if the debtor owes your company money, put down its name, not your own name. Next, enter the address where notices should be sent regarding your claim, in addition to a telephone number and email address. There is a separate box if you want to have the trustee send payments to a different address than the notice address.
Part 1 of the Proof of Claim asks for the amount of your claim as of the date the bankruptcy case was filed. Check the box in this section if the claim includes interest or other charges added to the claim.
Part 2 asks for the basis of the claim. This is where you write a very brief explanation as to why you are owed money. You might write "promissory note" or "loan."
Part 3 asks about the last four digits of any number you use to identify the debtor. Part 3(a) asks you to write down how the debtor may have disclosed your debt on his or her bankruptcy schedules. Part 3(b) is for a uniform claim identifier number, which is only generally used by very large creditors.
Part 4 should only be filled out if your claim is secured by property. This means you have a lien on property owned by the debtor. You must check one of three boxes for the type of property which secures your claim. This includes "real estate," "motor vehicle," or "other." Next, indicate the value of the property. You must also disclose the interest rate on the claim and whether it is fixed or variable as of the date of the bankruptcy filing. If your claim is secured, you must also indicate the extent to which it is secured or unsecured, and the basis for perfection (this will be discussed further in a separate article).
Part 6 asks you to check a box to determine if your claim is entitled to priority. A priority claim is one of the first claims paid in a bankruptcy case if there is a distribution. A claim is a priority claim if it is a domestic support claim; for wages, salaries, or commissions; for taxes or governmental penalties; for contributions to an employee benefit plan; and deposits for purchase or rental of real estate. You should consult an attorney to determine if your claim is a priority claim as these categories can be very tricky.