Loan Servicing

The Ultimate Guide to Filing a Bankruptcy Proof of Claim

Ryan Stone

Ryan Stone

Ryan Stone

Aug 24 20238 minute read


Filing for bankruptcy can be a complex and daunting process, both for debtors seeking financial relief and creditors looking to protect their interests. One critical step for creditors is filing a proof of claim, which allows them to assert their right to a share of the debtor's available assets. In this article, we'll break down the steps involved in filing a bankruptcy proof of claim, referencing relevant sections of the Bankruptcy Code and Bankruptcy Rule to provide a clear and comprehensive guide.

Understanding the Basics

When a debtor files for bankruptcy, it initiates a legal proceeding where creditors are required to submit their claims to the bankruptcy court. This ensures that the debtor's assets are distributed fairly among all eligible creditors. The process is governed by the United States Bankruptcy Code, Title 11 of the United States Code, and the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure.

What is a Claim?

"Claim" in bankruptcy is defined as: (A) a right to payment, whether or not reduced to judgment, liquidated, unliquidated, fixed, contingent, matured, unmatured, disputed, undisputed, legal, equitable, secured or unsecured; or (B) a right to an equitable remedy for breach of performance if such breach gives rise to a right to payment, whether or not such right to an equitable remedy is reduced to judgment, fixed, contingent, matured, unmatured, disputed, undisputed, legal, equitable, secured or unsecured.

  • Bankruptcy Code Section 101(5) defines a claim.

Identifying Relevant Information

Before you begin the process of filing a proof of claim, it's essential to gather all relevant information. This includes the debtor's name, case number, and the type of bankruptcy proceeding (Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 13, etc.). You should also have documentation to support your claim, such as invoices, contracts, promissory notes, or other evidence of the debt owed.

Identify and Calendar the Deadline to File the Claim

The deadline for filing a claim in a Chapter 7, 12 or 13 is 70 days from the date the bankruptcy is filed. This date is also identified in the Notice of the bankruptcy case. For example, in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the Notice of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case will include the date for filing claims. The Notice is captioned like this:

Form 309I

Find the section of the Notice that includes the Deadlines in the case:

Deadlines document section

Don’t wait to receive the official Notice if you are aware a bankruptcy has been filed. You can call the Bankruptcy Court Clerk’s office and ask for the relevant information. 

  • Section 502(b)(9) of the Bankruptcy Code allows a court to disallow an untimely claim with some limited exceptions. Section Bankruptcy Rule 3002(c) sets the deadlines for filing a proof of claim and the exceptions for filing an untimely claim. These exceptions are very limited. 

Should You File a Proof of Claim

The default rule is to file a proof of claim. Only filed claims will be paid from a bankruptcy estate. Many claims will be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding so this may be the only opportunity to be paid. There are limited circumstances in which you may not want to file a claim. For example, if a claim is filed a creditor may not demand a jury trial to determine a counterclaim. Langenkamp v. Culp, 498 U.S. 42, 111 S. Ct. 330 (1990). If you are concerned at all discuss this with an attorney.

Completing the Proof of Claim Form

The official form for filing a proof of claim is Form B10, which can be found on the U.S. Courts website or obtained from the bankruptcy court handling the case. This form requires information about the creditor, the debtor, the nature and amount of the debt, and any collateral securing the debt.

  • Bankruptcy Code Section 501(a): Outlines the requirement for creditors to file proof of claims.

Calculating the Claim Amount

When completing the form, accurately calculate the total amount of the debt, including principal, interest, fees, and any other charges allowed under applicable law or contract terms. If the debt is subject to any limitations, be sure to indicate that on the form. Ensure that the claim is consistent with previous statements and records. 

  • Bankruptcy Code Section 502(b)(1): Discusses the allowance of claims, including potential reduction based on the terms of the underlying agreement.

Attaching Supporting Documentation

To strengthen your claim's validity, attach relevant supporting documentation to the form. This might include invoices, contracts, loan agreements, and other records that substantiate the existence and amount of the debt.

  • Bankruptcy Rule 3001(c): Requires the attachment of documentation supporting the claim, such as written agreements or invoices. Review this rule for a list of all required documents and information to be attached to the claim. Note, there are different requirements for different types of debt.

Potential Consequences for Failure to Include Information

The potential consequences of failing to accurately include information or attach documents include:

1) In a trial on the validity or amount of the claim the creditor may be barred from presenting the omitted information.

2) The creditor may have to pay the debtor’s expenses and attorney’s fees for filing an objection based on the failure to provide the information.

  • Bankruptcy Rule 3001(c)(2)(D) contains the potential consequences.

Filing the Proof of Claim

Once the proof of claim form is properly completed and the supporting documentation is attached, you can file the claim with the bankruptcy court. This can typically be done electronically through the court's online filing system, or by mailing a paper copy to the court's designated address.

  • Bankruptcy Rule 5005 specifies the manner in which proofs of claim should be filed with the court.


Filing a bankruptcy proof of claim is a vital step in protecting your interests as a creditor when a debtor files for bankruptcy. By understanding the relevant sections of the Bankruptcy Code and Bankruptcy Rules, you can navigate this process more effectively and increase your chances of securing a fair share of the debtor's available assets. Remember to gather accurate information, complete the proper forms, attach supporting documentation, and file within the designated deadlines to ensure a smooth and successful claim process.

Next Steps

  1. Read about each section of Official Form 410 in our article "The Bankruptcy Proof of Claim (with Pictures)"
  2. Test your comprehension of the basics for filing a Proof of Claim. Take our 10-minute quiz to gauge your knowledge and get feedback on areas to improve.
  3. File a Proof of Claim effortlessly with our universal form. Sign up and begin at no cost.


Disclaimer: The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Readers of this website should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter. Only your individual attorney can provide assurances that the information contained herein – and your interpretation of it – is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation.