Details matter. After years of procedural wrangling, significant changes to the federal procedural rules take effect today. While the changes are focused principally on streamlining procedures in consumer cases, they include provisions – such as a requirement that secured creditors file proofs of claim – that impact all cases. Here’s a run through of some key points. You can find the full text of the amendments here.
Proofs of Claims: Secured Creditors Beware!
- Secured creditors must now file proofs of claim to have their claims allowed. Although in accordance with Section 506(d), if they don’t, their liens will not be rendered void for only that reason. FRBP 3002(a).
Claim Objections: Who to Serve, Whether to Have a Hearing, Where to Object
- To object to a claim, you must serve the affected creditor by 1st class mail directed to the name and address on its filed claim form.
- The Court no longer needs to schedule or hold a hearing on every claim objection.
- Any party-in-interest may seek a determination of the amount and priority of any claim. Plan proponents in Chapter 12 and 13 may now include these objections in the body of a Plan. FRBP 3007 & 3012.
Objecting to Liens or Transfers? File a Motion or Put It in a Chapter 13 Plan
- Parties may now seek to avoid a lien or other transfer of the debtor’s exempt property by motion or in the debtor’s Chapter 13 Plan. FRBP 3012 & 4003(d).
Claim Bar Dates: Time It Right in Chapter 7, 12, and 13
- Filing a claim in a voluntary Chapter 7 (liquidation), 12 (family farmer), or 13 (individual debt readjustment) case? You must now file your claim within 70 days after the bankruptcy petition filing date. For involuntary Chapter 7 cases, you have until 90-days after the order for relief is entered. FRBP 3002.
- If a case converts to Chapter 7 or 13, the new, 70-day period will run from the date of the order converting the case. If it converts to Chapter 7, a new claims filing deadline starts running. FRBP 3002.
- The Court may extend these deadlines if the debtor has not filed a complete list of creditors. FRBP 3002(c)(6).
- And a new 2-stage deadline is created for filing mortgage claims secured by an interest in the debtor’s principal residence. FRBP 3002(c)(7).
Chapter 13 Plans & Confirmation: Use the Form, Know Your Deadlines
- An “official,” standardized Chapter 13 plan is created… unless your jurisdiction has adopted its own (consistent) local form. FRBP 3015(c).
- A debtor must provide creditors with at least 21 days’ notice of the deadline for objecting to Chapter 13 Plans and 28 days’ notice of the confirmation hearing in Chapter 13 cases. FRBP 2002(a)(9) and (b)(3).