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A claim is a written statement filed by creditors of a party who files for bankruptcy to benefit from the distribution if money becomes available.  The Bankruptcy Code defines a claim as a right to payment or a right to an equitable remedy for a failure of performance if the breach gives rise to a right to payment.

After a claim is filed, it is the duty of a creditor to find out if the claim is correctly listed on the debtor’s schedules.  The debtor must give notice to those creditors whose names are added and whose claims are listed as a result of an amendment to the schedules.  The notice also should inform such creditors of their right to file proofs of claim and that their failure to do so may stop them from voting upon the debtor’s reorganization plan or taking part in any distribution under the reorganization plan.

A creditor of a business that chooses to file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy should file with the court a proof of claim form.  A proof of claim is a written document a creditor files, together with all supporting evidence of such claim, including documentation reflecting perfection of a security interest, if any to establish a claim against the estate of the debtor.  There will be a deadline to file a Proof of Claim.

Generally, any creditor whose claim is not scheduled or is scheduled as disputed, contingent or unliquidated must file a proof of claim and append proof documenting the claim in order to be considered as a creditor for purposes of voting on the plan and distribution under it.  However, filing a proof of claim is not required if the creditor’s claim is scheduled but is not listed as disputed, contingent, or unliquidated by the debtor as the debtor’s schedules are deemed to form proof of the validity and amount of those claims.

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