When you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the court sends notice of your meeting of creditors (also called the 341 hearing) to all creditors listed in your bankruptcy. If a notice comes back as undeliverable, you will typically have to amend your bankruptcy papers and provide notice to the creditor at its correct address. In addition, your local bankruptcy court may have further procedures you must follow. Read on to learn more about what you should do if the notice of your meeting of creditors comes back as undeliverable for one of your creditors.
(Learn more about the meeting of creditors in bankruptcy, including what it is, when it's held, and more.)
Amend Your Bankruptcy Papers If You Know the Correct Address
If you know the correct address of the creditor, amend your bankruptcy papers to fix your mistake. Typically, you will have to amend the schedule the creditor is listed under as well as your creditor mailing list (also referred to as the creditor matrix).
In addition to amending your bankruptcy petition and schedules, you must send notice of the meeting of creditors to the creditor’s correct address. If a creditor is not notified of your bankruptcy, it may have grounds to object to your discharge in the future based on lack of notice.
(Get information on how to amend your bankruptcy petition and schedules.)
Check Your Local Bankruptcy Court Policies and Procedures
Each bankruptcy court usually has its own policies and procedures you must follow when a notice comes back as undeliverable for one of your creditors. Your local court can provide you more information on how to amend your bankruptcy papers, how to notice the creditor at its correct address, and what to do if you can’t find a valid address.
If this information is not available through the court, consider talking to a local bankruptcy attorney in your area. (Check out Nolo's network of bankruptcy attorneys.) You can also try calling your bankruptcy trustee. Keep in mind that the trustee can’t give you legal advice but may be able to assist you with procedural questions. (Learn about the bankruptcy trustee.)
What Happens If You Can’t Find a Valid Address For the Creditor?
To avoid any potential problems in the future, do your best to make sure all of your creditors are listed and properly noticed in your bankruptcy. If you can’t find a valid address for a creditor, whether that debt will be discharged depends on whether you are filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy and the rules in your jurisdiction.
In many jurisdictions, if you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and did not have any nonexempt assets, the debt will still be deemed discharged as long as it was listed in your bankruptcy even if you could not find a valid address for the creditor. This is because the creditor would not have received anything even if it had notice of your bankruptcy (unless the creditor had other grounds to object to your discharge such as fraud).
However, if the creditor would have been entitled to a distribution in your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it will have more grounds to contest your discharge. Since each jurisdiction is different, talk to a local attorney about your options if you can’t locate a valid address for a creditor.