Schedule F is the schedule whereby a debtor lists all of his unsecured creditors. This can be anything from a credit card obligation to a medical bill to just about anything in between. Every creditor listed in Schedule F will receive notices from the clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
Such notices include the commencement of the filing of the case, a notice if there are assets to be administered, notice of discharge if the case completes as well as several other possible notices. From the debtor's standpoint, he wants all of his creditors to be properly listed. He wants the creditors to update their records so that he does not continue to be billed. Additionally, he wants all collection companies to be listed as well. Often, the creditors will farm out their collections to independent collection firms.
They often transfer the debts back and forth among several collection companies. By properly listed all of a creditor's collection companies, there is a greater chance that the collection process will cease once the bankruptcy notice is submitted by the clerk. Importantly, in some jurisdictions throughout the country, creditors who were not properly listed may have the right to collect on the debt. This is not the case in the Northern District of Illinois. The judges in that district have adopted the case of In Re Mendiola.
The Mendiola case basically states that a debt is eliminated, despite not being listed, if it was a debt that could have been eliminated and the creditor would not have had a basis to file an objection. Mendiola was attempting to reopen his Chapter 7 bankruptcy case to add a missing creditor. The Court advised that this practice was not necessary as long as it was a debt of the type listed above. It is still unclear whether or not Mendiola will survive an attempt by a creditor post-bankruptcy reform.
To date, however, Mendiola is still the generally accepted rule. Thus, a debtor should take his time and pay careful attention to the creditors listed on Schedule F. The debtor should be as thorough as possible to insure that his attorney can properly complete the schedule. This includes the account number, date of service, and approximate dollar amount of what is owed. This will also make it easier for the Chapter 7 trustee to understand the nature of the debtor's debt.
David M. Siegel is the author of Chapter 7 Success: The Complete Guide to Surviving Personal Bankruptcy. He is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute and currently practices bankruptcy law in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs. Additional information is available at Chapter 7.