You file a bankruptcy case and realize that you forgot to list one or more creditors on your bankruptcy papers.  

What happens now?

The answer varies depending on, among other things, where your case is filed and what chapter of bankruptcy was filed.

Failure to list debt is not always fatal in bankruptcy

In the 9th Circuit(which includes California, Oregon, Arizona, Washington and Nevada, Idaho, Alaska, Hawaii and Guam) if your case was a No-Asset Chapter 7 bankruptcy in which no assets were liquidated and sold by the Trustee, and you receive your discharge, there is no consequence for unintentionally failing to list a creditor.

Thus, if you get your discharge, you are discharged from ALL dischargeable debts regardless of whether they were listed or received notice of the bankruptcy.

The two main cases on this are In re Neilsen, 383 F.2d 922 (9th Cir. 2004) and In re Beezley, 994 F.2d 1433 (9th Cir. 1993).

If the creditor in question has grounds to object to the discharge of the debt– for example, if the debt was incurred through fraud– they can still move to reopen the Chapter 7 case and litigate their nondischargeability claim if they received no notice of the original bankruptcy.

In a Chapter 11, Chapter 13 case, or in a Chapter 7 case where assets are being distributed by the Trustee, the failure to list a creditor is more serious and can result in that debt not being discharged.

If your case is filed outside the 9th Circuit, you should consult with a bankruptcy attorney in your area regarding the law in your jurisdiction.

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