Effective December 1, 2007, the official proof of claim form filed in bankruptcy cases changed. While the basic information included on the proof of claim form remains the same, there are some changes creditors should be aware of which are summarized below.
The old form limited a creditor to a single name, address and telephone number when listing where notices should be sent. The new form recognizes that creditors may want bankruptcy notices sent to an address other than where payments are to be sent. For instance, a creditor may want a bankruptcy department or legal counsel to monitor bankruptcy notices but wish to have payments sent to a payment processing center. Under the old form, payments would often times be sent to the address listed on the proof of claim form which could result in confusion and delay in processing payments. The new form should alleviate this issue by allowing a creditor to insert different information for directing where notices are to be delivered and where payments are to be remitted.
Section 1 - Amount of Claim
Under the new form, the total amount of the claim is to be inserted in Section 1. Under the old form, the amount of the claim was inserted between other sections in the middle of the form. From a chronological standpoint, having the amount of claim often the first section is an improvement as this is the most pertinent piece of information.
Section 2 - Basis of Claim
The old form provided a series of boxes to check to note the basis for the claim. The new form requires the creditor to type this information. The instructions on the reverse side of the form provide some examples of information to be inserted in this section (i.e. goods sold, money loaned, services performed, personal injury or wrongful death, car loan, mortgage loan, and credit card). Creditors should be able to be clearer when describing the basis of their claims under the new form by not being limited to the few categories provided under the old form.
Section 3 - Last Four Digits For Identifying Creditor
The new form makes it clear that the creditor is to only list the last four digits of the account number. Bankruptcy Rule 9037 provides that the filer of documents must include only the last four digits of social security numbers, the year of birth (rather than the full birth date), the initials of minors, and the last four digits of account numbers. The instructions to the proof of claim make it clear that a creditor must also redact any private information from documents attached in support of the proof of claim (such as promissory notes, loan applications, account print-offs, etc.) which is may be overlooked.
Section 3a - Debtor May Have Scheduled Account As
Section 3a is a new addition to the proof of claim form implemented in an attempt to rectify differences between the way a debtor lists a claim and the way a creditor files its claim. This space is to be used to report a change in the creditor's name, a transferred claim or other information clarifing a difference between the claim as listed on the proof of claim and the claim as scheduled by the debtor. This additional information should be useful to trustees or claims agents when matching up claims. Since this information is now requested on the form, the creditor should review the petition and schedules prior to filing a proof of claim in order to determine if it is necessary to complete section 3a.
Section 4 - Secured Claim
The section regarding secured claims was substantially revised. There is more information required on secured claims under the new form including the following:
- The debtor is to type in a description of the collateral whereas the old form provided a few boxes for the creditor to check when indicating whether the collateral was real estate, motor vehicle or other.
- The new form requires the creditor to insert the annual interest rate which was not required under the old form. If the rate is variable, the creditor should use the rate in effect as of the bankruptcy filing.
- The creditor is now required to set forth the basis for perfection. While the form does not set specify what "basis for perfection" means, presumably creditors should insert the method used to perfect the security interest. Examples might include "deed of trust" for a mortgage, "lien on title" for a car loan or "UCC-1 Financing Statement" for a loan secured by inventory or equipment.The new form requires the creditor to list both the secured and unsecured portions of its claim. Under the old form, there was one space to insert the value of the collateral. Under the new form, creditors will need to analyze not only the value of their collateral, but also whether and to what extent other creditors may have priority liens on the same collateral in order to determine the amount of the secured claim.
Section 5 - Amount of Claim Entitled to Priority
This section has been revised to conform to changes in priority afforded the claims of certain creditors under §507 of the Bankruptcy Code as amended under BAPCPA. The revised format of this section makes it clear that a claim must qualify under section 507 of the Bankruptcy Code in order to be given priority status. This is an improvement over the old form which often left creditors wondering whether their claim was entitled to priority. Under the new form, the creditor is guided through a checklist of the pertinent 507 elements before being given a blank to insert the amount of any priority claim. This should reduce confusion over whether a claim is entitled to priority status which often occurred under the old form.
Creditors should take steps to make sure they are using the new proof of claim form and are completing it properly.
Click Here, for the new proof of claim form.