27 Sep Confusing Terms: Not Filed
Bankruptcy has a language all its own. It takes common ordinary words and turns them into specific words of art easily understood by those familiar with the bankruptcy process, yet confusing to most everyone else. An example is the term “Not Filed”.
In some parts of the country, the bankruptcy trustee will gather a list of the claims filed by creditors in a case and create a report. Sometimes this is called a Notice of Claims Filed, or something similar. The notice is designed to inform the debtor which creditors filed a claim, the amount of the claim, and the classification of the claim.
In Southern Illinois, the trustee starts with a list of all creditors, then adds information about any claims filed by those creditors. If a creditor does not file a claim, the trustee indicates the classification is “Not Filed”.
You cannot imagine how many times clients call and ask why I did not file bankruptcy on that creditor. Or, if the client will still owe money to that creditor because the claim was not filed correctly. I generally start by explaining “Not Filed” means the creditor did not file a claim. I tell the client a creditor must file a Proof of Claim with the Court or it will not receive any money from the trustee. I then ask the client to explain how the trustee knew to put that creditor on that list if I did not include the creditor in the case. By this time, the client understands the meaning of “Not Filed”.
Andy Miofsky, Esq.
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