In many instances, the notice of commencement of the bankruptcy case will be the only notice the creditor will receive prior to receiving notice of discharge. Thus, it is incumbent upon the creditor to access the debtor's filings from the Bankruptcy Court to ascertain what is being represented in connection with the debt owed to the creditor, and the debtor's income, assets and other liabilities.
File a notice of entry of appearance and request to receive notice.
If the creditor wishes to be kept apprised of what is subsequently filed by the debtor and other parties in the bankruptcy case, it should file a notice of entry of appearance and request to receive notice, serving such pleading on the debtor, counsel, trustees, and other creditors. However, in many instances parties will inadvertently fail to include the noticing creditor on subsequent filings, so the creditor should periodically check the Bankruptcy Court docket to ensure that it has not missed anything of significance.
File a proof of claim.
Assuming that it has not been determined to be a no-asset case and a deadline has been set for filing proofs of claim, the creditor should ensure that it files proof of its claim within the time allowed.
Attend the creditor's meeting.
At the creditor's meeting, the trustee will question the debtor under oath as to representations in its bankruptcy filings. Creditors attending the meeting will be given an opportunity to also question the debtor. Therefore, if a creditor has particular information that it wishes to elicit from the debtor under oath that may affect the debtor's ability to obtain a discharge, this is an opportunity to do so.
A creditor who believes that the debtor made misrepresentations in connection with bankruptcy filings, or with the extension of credit leading to the debt owed to the creditor that the debtor seeks to discharge, can take steps to contest discharge by filing objections and/or adversary complaints in the Bankruptcy Court. The creditor should consult with the trustee in this regard, who may in some instances join with the creditor or take a leading role. In addition, certain debts are non-dischargeable under the Bankruptcy Code. As with a proof of claim, the creditor should ensure that any objections and/or complaints are filed within the time allowed by the Bankruptcy Court. Any creditor considering such action should consult with and retain counsel.