Can I Reopen My Bankruptcy Case to Include Some Debts?


Question: I forgot to put some of my creditors into my bankruptcy which is now closed and over. I had a lot of creditors, everything from medical bills and credit cards to repossession and an eviction. I put most of them in the bankruptcy but there are more I didn’t include and I’m worried that they are going to come after me for payment and now I certainly don’t want to pay them off at all.

I forgot to put in the bankruptcy a loan from my aunt, who gave me money to start a used car business. She loaned me over $50,000 to get the business going but it didn’t work out. She told my mother that she wants her money back and that she might sue me.

I also owe a debt for a car repo from my old BMW I bought used. I couldn’t keep up with the payments and they came and took it back. They say I owe about $15,000. It was a nice car and pretty collectible.

And I owe money for an eviction from when I lived in Buckhead. I kind of trashed the place and I left it and it still had 10 months on the lease and they sued me. They want about $10,000.

I really don’t want to pay these people and I really can’t. It’s too much money.

My bankruptcy is closed and over and I need to know what to do about these debts that I owe but I didn’t put in the bankruptcy. Can you help me to get rid of these debts? Can I reopen my bankruptcy case to include some debts?

C.B. in Johns Creek, GA

Answer: Creditors for debts that have been incurred prior to the filing of your bankruptcy case may be added to your bankruptcy while your case is open. Since the discharge and closing order have already been issued, your case would have to be reopened (which has to be approved by a judge) and then the addition of the creditor or creditors may be made. This is true for both chapter 13 and chapter 7 bankrupcty filings.

And there is a filing fee, motion, and hearing required to complete the reopening of the case.

Alternatively, what we often recommend most of our clients do in this situation is to provide the creditor with your filing information (case number, date of filing) and tell them that they should update your account with this information. For most creditors, they will decide to not risk violating the bankruptcy law and they will not pursue the debt any longer.

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