Last in Line: Unsecured Creditors

Unsecured Creditors and their Treatment under Chapter 7unsecured creditors

An unsecured creditor is a creditor without a valid lien or mortgage against property of the debtor, usually credit card companies or medical debt.  If the debtor has non-exempt assets, unsecured creditors may file claims with the court within 90 days after the first date set for the meeting of creditors. The trustee will examine these claims and file objections to those deemed improper. When the trustee has collected all of the debtor’s non-exempt property and converted it to cash, and when the court has ruled on the trustee’s objections to improper claims, the trustee will distribute the funds in the form of dividends to the unsecured creditors according to the priorities set forth in the Bankruptcy Code. Administrative expenses, claims for wages, salaries, and contributions to employee benefit plans, claims for the refund of certain deposits, claims for alimony, maintenance support, and tax claims, are given priority, in that order, in the payment of dividends by the trustee. If there are funds remaining after the payment of these priority claims, they are distributed pro rata to the remaining creditors.

In the majority of Chapter 7 cases there are no assets, which means creditors usually get nothing.  Even if there is a small amount of non-exempt assets available for creditors, most debtors have a large number of creditors meaning pennies on the dollar is the most any creditor can hope of recouping.

Are you considering filing for bankruptcy, or being threatened by unsecured creditors?