In Filing pro se

Once a debtor has completed Schedules D and E, any debts that remain are listed on Schedule F. This includes credit cards, medical bills, unsecured loans, balances owed after repossession or foreclosure, or claims of any sort that are not priority or not secured. Schedule F follows the same format as Schedules D and E. There is information about the claimant: name, address, account information; who owes the money, such as the debtor, the debtor and co-debtor (spouse) or the debtor and a third party who is not in bankruptcy. Then there is information about the claim, whether it is contingent, unliquidated or disputed; and, finally, the amount of the claim. After completing Schedules D and E, Schedule F should be a snap.

Claims Secured by Property Other than the Debtor’s. It’s possible for a claim to be secured as far as the creditor is concerned but unsecured as far as the debtor is concerned. This happens when the collateral that the creditor holds belongs to someone other than the debtor, as, for example, if the debtor co-signs for someone on a car loan. The bank has a secured claim, but the claim is secured by property that the debtor doesn’t own. When the debtor lists this claim, it would be shown on Schedule F as an unsecured claim, not on Schedule D as a secured claim.

Multiple Accounts with the Same Creditor. Sometimes a creditor will maintain separate accounts for the same person. If this is the case and you have separate bills for various amounts, list each account separately.

Bills Sent to Collections. Often a creditor will turn an account over to a collection agency and the debtor will be receiving statements and demands from the collection agent on behalf of the original creditor. If this happens, the debtor should list the original creditor in Part 2 of Schedules E/F. In Part 3, which is where others who should be notified of the bankruptcy are listed, list the collection agent.

Utilities. Utilities pose a special problem for bankruptcy filers. A past-due utility bill is an unsecured debt that should be listed. A utility cannot deny service because someone files bankruptcy, but what the utility company can do is condition continued service on the person making a security deposit to cover the cost of future service. Utilities will often demand three months of utility payments as a deposit in order to continue service after someone files bankruptcy. To avoid this, try to bring any past-due utility amounts current before filing so that there is no outstanding balance, and the utility company doesn’t have to be listed as a creditor.

Disputed Claims. A claim can be disputed in one of two ways, or both. The amount can be in dispute. This is the most common. Or the existence of the claim can be disputed. This occurs, for example, if the debtor was in an automobile accident. The other party might say the debtor was at fault, but the debtor believes it was the other party’s fault. In a case such as this, the debtor should list the claim and indicate that it is disputed. Do not omit a potential claim because you think you don’t owe it. If there’s any sort of a claim that the debtor owes money, that claim should be listed so that it is covered by the bankruptcy. Just be sure to mark the claim as “disputed.”

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