When you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll have to complete and file something called Schedule F -- Creditors Holding Unsecured Nonpriority Claims. In this schedule, you list all of your unsecured creditors that are not entitled to priority status.
(To learn about the other forms you must file in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, see Completing the Bankruptcy Forms.)
What Is an Unsecured Nonpriority Creditor?
A creditor’s debt is unsecured if there is no item of property (like your house or car) serving as collateral for payment of the debt. (To learn more about unsecured debts, see What Is an Unsecured Debt?)
An unsecured debt is “nonpriority” if it does not fit within one of the categories that bankruptcy law designates as “priority.” Priority debts get special treatment. The most common types of priority debts are child support, alimony, and certain tax debts. (For a more comprehensive list of priority debts, see Completing Schedule E of the Bankruptcy Petition.)
Essentially, an unsecured nonpriority debt is any debt that you have not already listed on Schedule D (this is where you list secured debts) or Schedule E (this is where unsecured priority debts get listed).
Typical unsecured nonpriority debts include credit card debt, medical bills, student loans, utility debts, back rent, and the like.
How to Get Schedule F
You can find the most recent version of Schedule F on the U.S. Court’s website at www.uscourts.gov. To learn more about getting the official and other forms, see The Bankruptcy Forms: Getting Started.
How to Complete Schedule F
The instructions at the beginning of Schedule F are fairly self-explanatory. You have to list all of your unsecured nonpriority creditors and the amounts of each claim (this is the amount of the debt).
Here are some additional tips for filling out the form:
Be Incredibly Thorough
List each and every unsecured nonpriority debt, no matter how small. That also means you should include nondischargeable debts (like student loans) and debts that you believe you don’t owe. If you leave a creditor off this schedule, the debt may not be discharged at the end of your bankruptcy. Also, leaving a creditor off the schedule might raise suspicions that you deliberately concealed information, perhaps to give that creditor preferential treatment in violation of bankruptcy rules.
If someone else owes the debt with you, put an “x” in the second column of Schedule E. If the codebtor is your spouse and you are filing a joint bankruptcy, leave the column blank.
Husband, Wife, Joint, or Community?
The third column of Schedule E only applies if you are married. For each piece of property, state whether the husband owns the property (H), the wife owns the property (W), the husband and wife own the property jointly (J), or the property is community property (C). To learn more about property ownership among spouses, see Separate and Community Property During Marriage: Who Owns What?
If you are part of a same-sex married couple, how the court will treat your union, and how you should complete the forms will vary by district. It would be very wise to consult with a bankruptcy attorney familiar with these issues.
Date You Incurred the Claim, Consideration for the Claim, and Setoff Amounts
Here you put the date you incurred the debt and what the debt is for (for example, “clothes” or “medical services”). If the creditor owes you money, list this amount as a “setoff” and explain why you think the creditor owes you that money.
Is the Claim Contingent, Unliquidated, or Disputed?
You must note whether a particular claim is contingent, unliquidated, or disputed. You may have to check more than one box. To learn what these terms mean, see When Is a Bankruptcy Claim Contingent, Unliquidated, or Disputed?
Amount of Claim
This is where you put the amount of the debt that the creditor claims you owe.
This article provides general information only. There are many legal issues involved and important decisions to be made when filing for bankruptcy. You must understand the entire bankruptcy process, learn about the applicable federal and state laws, and determine how those laws will affect your particular situation before you complete the bankruptcy forms. If you want to file bankruptcy without a lawyer, use a good do-it-yourself book like Nolo's How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy to ensure you make well informed decisions about your bankruptcy case.