Creditor Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are the office hours?
2. Do I have to attend the 341(a) meeting to get my money?
3. Do I have to hire an attorney to get the money owed me?
4. What is a proof of claim?
5. Now that I have filed a proof of claim, when will I get my money?
6. What is the purpose of the trustee?
7. How do I contact the trustee in a case?
8. What is the Plan of Reorganization?
9. When I file a motion, who should be listed on the "Certificate of Service"?
10. May I fax you a motion?
11. When will I know if an order has been signed?
12. May I speak directly to the judge?
13. Will you fax me some copies of documents that I need?
14. What is PACER?
15. How do I check on the status of a case?
16. What is a discharge?
17. What is the difference between a Sec. 523 complaint and a Sec. 727 complaint?
18. Why is the bankruptcy case closed if my adversary is still pending?
19. Do you have a list of properties that are for sale?
20. How can these people get away without paying me?
21. If I submitted an agreed order with all the proper signatures prior to the hearing, do I still have to appear at the hearing?
The Clerk’s office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with the exception of legal holidays.
No. However, the business of the 341(a) meeting may be of interest to you as the meeting includes the examination of the debtor(s) under oath and, in a Chapter 7 liquidation case may include the election of a trustee or of a creditors commitee. This is your opportunity to ask the debtor(s) questions related to their financial affairs. This may also be a reason for a creditor to attend the 341(a) meeting.
Each bankruptcy case involves a different set of circumstances and some are more complicated than others. It is your decision as to whether or not you need legal representation. The clerk's office is prohibited from recommending, advertising, or promoting the services of any law firm or attorney.
A proof of claim is a written statement setting forth the amount and basis for the creditor's claim. A proof of claim must conform to the Official Forms. The form is available on the back of the 341(a) meeting notice or if the case is later determined to be an asset case, you will be notified and the claim form is available for download from the Official Bankruptcy Forms section of the U.S. Courts website. Follow the instructions in completing the form and fill it out completely including date and signature.
In a chapter 13 or 11 case, money is generally distributed after a plan has been confirmed. In a chapter 7 case (if non-exempt assets are available for liquidation) the trustee will liquidate assets and make a determination of the distribution of assets after review of all claims and expenses. The trustee will file a “Distribution Report” indicating how the assets will be distributed and the percentage of recovery, in any, to those creditors who filed claims. Some cases are more complicated than others and the trustee may have more difficulty with liquidation.
In Chapters 7 and 13, a trustee is appointed by the U.S. Trustee in order to administer the case. The trustee in these cases conducts the 341(a) meeting of creditors, keeps records, makes reports and recommendations regarding each case, and is primarily responsible for disbursement of the estate's money to creditors who file claims. The trustee has many other duties but these are the basic functions. In a Chapter 11 case, a trustee may be appointed by the U.S. Trustee, but only after a motion is made by a party in interest and is so ordered by the court. For more information about trustees, go to the U.S. Trustee web site.
The trustees each have their own offices. They are not affiliated with the clerk's office. The address and telephone numbers are available either through individual bankruptcy case party information data, from the telephone directory, or on our website under Trustees.
The plan, generally filed by the debtor, states how the debtor proposes to pay their various debts. Creditors and interest holders have an opportunity to object to a proposed plan and it does not become effective unless the court approves it after a hearing on the plan and any objections filed are addressed.
You should list all parties in interest as required by Local Rule 9013(c).
The clerk’s staff promptly sends out copies of signed orders upon their entry to the appropriate parties. Motions with negative notice language are not considered by the court until the objection time has run.
Federal Law prohibits any ex parte (without hearing) contact with the court in order to prevent the appearance of any improprieties or allegations of preferential treatment and to uphold the integrity of the Court.
Because search and copy fees must be prepaid pursuant to 28 USC 1930, documents are not faxed. Two methods to obtain copies of documents and other Court records on a regular basis is to: 1.) Subscribe to the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) system. For further information regarding PACER go to: http://pacer.psc.uscourts.gov 2.) The clerks office can email copies to you. If the case was electronically filed (placed on the system) the clerks office can attach the document and send it in an email. If the case was not electronically filed (not placed on the system) you would then need to visit the clerks office or subscribe to the Pacer System in order to obtain copies.
14. What is PACER?
PACER is an electronic, public-access system that allows you to use a terminal or computer and modem to dial into a specific public information center and directly access official bankruptcy case information. See Question No. 13 for PACER link (above).
You can be a regular subscriber to the PACER system as referenced above. Also, general case information is available through McVCIS (Multi-Court Voice Case Information System) which is an automated data information telephone line. The number for the Western District of Texas is 210-299-2023 or 1-888-436-7477. If the information you are seeking is not available through the McVCIS, you may telephone any divisional office in this district for information.
Generally, by filing a bankruptcy a debtor is seeking a discharge of debts. A discharge means that certain debts become unenforceable against the debtor personally. Creditors whose claims against the debtor are discharged are prohibited from any attempt to collect from the debtor. Timely action may be taken on behalf of a creditor to deem a debt non-dischargeable or that the debtor should not receive any discharge of debts by filing the appropriate complaint (adversary proceeding) in the Court.
A Sec. 523 complaint involves the question of whether a particular debt may be discharged while a Sec. 727 complaint pertains to the debtor's eligibility for a discharge of all debts.
The court does not necessarily lose jurisdiction to hear disputes simply because the bankruptcy case has been administratively closed. A Chapter 7 case can be discharged and closed while a Sec. 523 complaint is pending because the discharge does not apply to those debts for which Sec. 523 complaints have been instituted.
No. We suggest that you contact the panel trustee for information regarding liquidation proceedings. A list of auctions, sales, etc. is not made available to the clerk's office or to the court.
The Bankruptcy Code and Rules written by the United States Congress are designed to give a fresh start to the honest debtors who have become unable to timely pay their debts in hopes that they once again become productive members of society and not dependent upon public assistance to live. Unfortunately, this means that creditors sometimes lose their money. This is a policy decision by Congress that the court cannot change. However, there are guidelines as to who may be a debtor and laws relating to possible abuse with strict consequences if any laws are broken. The court functions as a neutral impartial body to rule on disputes that arise in these cases.
Each judge has their own procedures regarding appearance at this type of hearing. Contact the courtroom deputy that works for the judge hearing your case for the appropriate procedures. The Division Section of this web site has the necessary contact information. For more information about agreed orders, see the U.S. Bankruptcy Court Local Rule 9022.