As if dealing with a bankruptcy case wasn’t stressful enough when you’re trying to get the money that is owed to you, it seems as if the rules are changed every year. Keeping up with these new rules and ensuring you are following them can make or break whether you get even a fraction of what you’re owed.
Well, the rules have been changed again after the Supreme Court submitted proposed changes to Congress in April 2017 and they have officially gone into effect December 2017. Make sure you’re aware of these changes to the rules so you’re on top of your game.
CHANGES TO DEADLINE FOR PROOF OF CLAIMS
This is probably one of the most important changes made to the bankruptcy rules. Before December 2017, creditors had 90 days to file a proof of claim in an asset Chapter 7, 12 or 13 case. The 90 days begin after the first Section 341 Creditors’ Meeting, which is usually held 30 days after the petition date. However, with the changes to the rules the amount of time a creditor has to file has been significantly reduced. Creditors now have 70 days after the petition date to file a proof of claim. This is almost a 50-day reduction. In order to stay on top of your proof of claims, creditors should set automated alerts in their accounts receivable software to remind them to file.
CHANGES TO OBJECTIONS TO A CREDITOR’S CLAIM
This rule actually really helps creditors out. Previously, when a debtor sent an objection to a creditor’s claim, the notice could be sent to the wrong address or sent to the payment lockbox. This means the credit manager often didn’t see the notice until it was too late. With the new rule, objections must be sent to the creditor via first class mail and the creditor can choose the address that the objection should be sent to.
CHANGES TO OFFICIAL FORM PLAN
Again, this rule is more in favor of the creditor. Previously, there was no universal form a debtor had to use for delivery of a plan to creditors. This rule formalizes the process for a delivery of plan, so nothing can be added to a standard plan term without a creditor noticing. In the new official form, a debtor or their attorney must add any non-standard plan terms in the designated section for special provisions. If it is not added in this section, the provisions will not be effective.
Keeping all these rules straight is key to ensuring you come out of a bankruptcy case as far ahead as possible. Overall, though, it’d be nice if you don’t run into a bankruptcy case at all. It’s important to pay attention to your customer’s payment habits and, if you notice a customer is going downhill on their payments, you address the situation as soon as possible. Recognize the signs that a customer is headed towards bankruptcy and try to collect as much as possible before they officially file.