Creditor or Other Non-Debtor Pro Se Filer

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The information contained within the Iowa Northern Pro Se Information Center is accurate as of the date of publication, but it should not be cited or relied upon as legal authority. This information is provided solely as an overview to the bankruptcy process, and should not be used as a substitute for reference to the United States Bankruptcy Code (title 11, United States Code), the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, or to local rules or standing orders of this court. Finally, the information contained within this site should not substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.

In a bankruptcy case, a creditor is a person or business to whom the debtor owes money. Actions that a creditor may take are greatly dependent upon the type of case pending and are often complicated. Consult a lawyer to determine your rights and possible legal remedies if you are a creditor in a case, regardless of whether you receive notice of the filing or not. NOTE: Only individuals may apear Pro Se

Key Terms and Concepts Pertaining to Creditors

Matrix - Debtor(s) are required to file, with their bankruptcy petition, a mailing matrix of all creditors to whom they owe money. The matrix must alphabetically list the names, with complete address of the debtor's creditors, scheduled creditor assignees, agents, or attorneys and equity security holders. The parties listed in the creditor matrix will receive notice of the debtor's meeting of creditors, and the bankruptcy discharge, as well as notice of other events which may affect all creditors and parites in interest.

Automatic Stay - The filing of the bankruptcy case automatically stays (stops) certain collection and other actions against the debtor and the debtor's property. Under certain circumstances, the stay may be limited to 30 days or not exist at all, although the debtor can request the court to extend or impose a stay. If a creditor attempts to collect a debt or take other action in violation of the Bankruptcy Code, the creditor may be penalized.

Prohibited Collection Actions - Once the automatic stay is in place, creditors generally may not take certain actions. Prohibited collection actions are listed in Bankruptcy Code Section 362. Common examples of prohibited actions include:

• contacting the debtor by telephone, mail or otherwise to demand repayment;
• taking actions to collect money or obtain property from the debtor;
• repossessing the debtor's property;
• starting or continuing lawsuits or foreclosures;
• garnishing or deducting from the debtor's wages.

Meeting of Creditors - Creditors who are listed by the debtors on the matrix will be notified of the meeting of creditors where they have an opportunity to appear and to inquire about the debtor's financial status, conduct of financial affairs and any other matters that are relevant to the administration of the debtor's estate. However, creditors are not required to attend this meeting.

Claims - A claim is a right to payment held by a person or business against the debtor(s) and the debtor's bankruptcy estate. For more information on Filing a Proof of Claim in a Chapter 7 or 13 case, click here. To download the Proof of Claim form, click here (Form 410).

Chapter 13 Trustee - The Chapter 13 trustee oversees the debtor's repayment plan, receives payments from the debtor(s) according to that plan, and disburses payments to the creditors in the case pursuant to the plan and bankruptcy law.

Discharge - Discharge in a bankruptcy is a release of a debtor from personal liability for certain debts, and prevents the creditors owed those debts from taking any action against the debtor or the debtor's property to collect the debts. The discharge also prohibits creditors from communicating with the debtor regarding the debt, including telephone calls, letters, and personal contact.