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Proofs of claim in Florida Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases

As part of the Chapter 13 bankruptcy process, a Florida debtor's unsecured creditors are required to file proofs of claim within the specified time or they will lose their rights to collect on their debts. Some of the creditors will not file proofs of claim if they feel that the bankruptcy process isn't worth pursuing the remaining balance or if the debtor has already repaid a significant portion of what was owed.

Only unsecured creditors have to file proofs of claim, although some secured lenders still file them just so they can be safe. The proof of claim form includes the identification of the debtor or his or her business, the creditor's contact information, the case number, the amount that was owed on the date the petition was filed and the creditor's reason for filing the claim. The creditor also is required to attach all of the documentation that the creditor has showing the debtor-creditor relationship.

A bankruptcy lawyer who sees some information that looks suspicious in a proof of claim may want to file a formal objection in bankruptcy court. Common issues that may lead to the debtor's not being required to pay the obligation include excessive penalties, usurious interest, harassment and a failure to provide documentation.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be beneficial to debtors in several ways. Because a stay is issued and will last for the entire three- to five-year period of repayment, Chapter 13 can help debtors to stop foreclosure. There is in some cases also a possibility to strip second mortgages. An experienced attorney can describe the eligibility requirements and other parts of the process.

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