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Effective December 1, 2015, a slew of new forms will replace and supplement the current forms used in bankruptcy cases nationwide.  Arguably the most frequently used form, the Proof of Claim form, has undergone a major facelift.  Here are five things you should know about the new Proof of Claim form:

  1. It’s (Almost) the Same Form, but a New Look:  Though on its surface, the form looks very different from its predecessor, the changes are largely cosmetic, aimed at making the form more user-friendly. The only substantive change to the form is the addition of new item 10, which asks whether the claim is based on a lease and, if so, the amount necessary to cure any default as of the date of the petition.
  2. The Effective Date Is Court-Dependent:  The new Proof of Claim form is effective December 1, but what does that really mean?  Bankruptcy Courts are taking different positions.  The Eastern District of Virginia, for example, is requiring the new forms be used in all cases filed on and after December 1 and “insofar as just and practicable, all proceedings then pending.” Some Courts have indicated that they will implement a grace period wherein old forms may be used for a short period of time without being struck.  Still other Courts have indicated that the new forms will only be applicable in cases filed on or after December 1.  Always check the relevant Court and, when in doubt—and after December 1—use the new form.
  3. Your Bankruptcy Software Must Be Updated:  There are many bankruptcy software products in the market.  If you use one of these products, contact your software provider to ensure that your platform will be updated with the new forms prior to December 1.
  4. The New Forms May Not Apply:  The Proof of Claim form, along with all other new and updated forms, are subject to and superseded by any local forms and any case-specific forms.  Always be sure to check the relevant Court to see whether they have a local form you should be using instead.  Particularly in larger Chapter 11 cases, it is not uncommon for there to be a tailored, Court-approved Proof of Claim form.  Always be sure that you are using the right form for the particular case.
  5. Alert! Additional Changes for Home Mortgage Claimants:  If you are subject to Rule 3002.1 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, the Mortgage Proof of Claim Attachment, Notice of Mortgage Payment Change, and Notice of Postpetition Mortgage Fees, Expenses, and Charges have also been revised.

Don’t be caught off guard.  Become familiar with the new forms before December 1.  The new Proof of Claim form, along with the other new forms, may be accessed here:  Pending Changes in the Bankruptcy Forms.

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Luis F. Ruiz

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