Filing for bankruptcy is often a necessary yet scary and confusing process for debtors. No one plans to accumulate so much debt that they can’t pay it back, but things happen. While you may not want to file bankruptcy, it is often the best choice if you are struggling to get by.
Though filing for bankruptcy is a challenging process, it will go a lot smoother if you look into hiring an attorney to help. Working with a lawyer will help ensure you get the most benefit from your case, and they can answer any questions and help alleviate your concerns.
If for some reason you realize that you forgot to add a creditor after you have already filed, your attorney can help you understand your options. Generally, adding debts after a bankruptcy is filed is allowed so long as the debt existed before you filed and it is added within a certain amount of time. However, the situation can vary depending on whether you filed a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
If you are looking to add a creditor from a debt incurred prior to filing bankruptcy, it will be considered a pre-petition debt. It is not uncommon for debtors filing bankruptcy to forget to add a creditor when filing. So if this happens, it is not typically a problem as long as you present the missed creditor to your bankruptcy attorney as soon as you realize it was missed. Though pre-petition debts can be added after filing in most cases, you will likely have to pay an amendment fee.
Post-petition debts are those that are incurred after bankruptcy has been filed. While most post-petition debts are not eligible to be added after you have already filed, there are some situations where it may be allowed, including:
- If you convert from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7, debts incurred after the Chapter 13 filing and before the conversion date can be added to the Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- If your initial Chapter 13 case gets dismissed and you try to file again, you will be able to add any new debts that are incurred to the new petition.
- If you file a Chapter 13 after a Chapter 7 discharge, you can add any new debts incurred after the initial filing to the new petition.
In some situations, debtors may be interested in adding secured debts to their bankruptcy after filing, and some secured debts are seen as both pre-petition and post-petition. Mortgages and car loans, for example, are both pre and post-petition debts because they were incurred prior to the petition but continue to increase after you file.
Adding secured debts like this after you file is possible but can make things more difficult. Before adding any new debts to your petition, it is always best to consult with your attorney to discuss your options and understand how it will affect your case.
With Chapter 7 bankruptcies, if you want to add a creditor after you have already filed, you will need to notify your attorney as soon as possible. Only debts that are incurred before filing can be added to your Chapter 7 bankruptcy. When you meet with your bankruptcy attorney, make sure you bring financial information on all of your debts and creditors, so you don’t have to worry about adding one after you file. If you do miss one, you will have to pay a fee to have your petition amended. If a creditor is not listed in your Chapter 7 and your filing is declared a “no asset” case, even omitted creditors are considered discharged in most jurisdictions. However, omitted creditors can survive a Chapter 7 filing if it is declared an “asset” case.
Pre-petition debts can also be added to Chapter 13 bankruptcy after you file, but again, you will want to notify your attorney of the missed creditor as soon as possible. Adding debts to Chapter 13 is possible, but if certain deadlines have come and gone in the case, a debt can be found to be non-dischargeable.
At Sawin & Shea, we believe in providing compassionate and understanding representation to those struggling with debt and looking to file bankruptcy. If you file and later realize you forgot a creditor, we will work with you to amend your petition to ensure all eligible debts are included. Our attorneys have experience in bankruptcy cases and can help walk you through the process every step of the way. We can even offer guidance after your bankruptcy case has ended.
Contact us at 317-759-1483 or send us an email for a free consultation today!