Creditors: Do You Have Unclaimed Funds from a Bankruptcy Filing?
Do you have unclaimed bankruptcy funds waiting for you? What are unclaimed funds? Unclaimed funds are monies paid by the Bankruptcy Trustee appointed to administer a bankruptcy estate to the Bankruptcy Clerk, who then is the custodian of those funds until the person entitled to those funds files an application to pay the unclaimed funds to them.
In bankruptcy cases that have assets, the Trustee pays out money collected from liquidating the assets to creditors who have filed claims in a particular case. Sometimes, the money paid out by a Trustee, always issued as a check, is returned by the post office as undeliverable or the check is not cashed within 90 days. By law, in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases, the Trustee is required to deposit those funds to the court as unclaimed. In most cases, the Claimant did not receive the check and it was returned to the Trustee as undeliverable typically because the claimant had moved and did not report the change of address to the court and the Trustee. The Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court will hold these funds for several years. The unclaimed funds are still subject to the claims of Creditors even after they are turned over to the Clerk. It should be noted that the claimants due unclaimed funds consist of both commercial and non-commercial creditors and that some of these unclaimed funds are in significant amounts. In fact, a recent estimate of the amount of unclaimed funds held by the Bankruptcy Courts or the U.S. Treasury is staggering—in excess of $200 million.
Usually, as set forth above, the unclaimed funds are the results of returned check from a Bankruptcy Trustee intended to be a distribution on a claim filed by a Creditor in a specific bankruptcy case. If you believe that you may be entitled to unclaimed funds in bankruptcy, then the first step would be to check the Unclaimed Funds Directory for the Bankruptcy Court where you filed your proof of claim. You can conduct this search yourself or your bankruptcy attorney can make this search for you. If you are unsure of the Court where you filed the claim then your bankruptcy attorney can assist you in developing a strategy for locating the claim. Your attorney will also be able to file the Motion or Application required by the Bankruptcy Court as well as prepare the appropriate paperwork in evidence of your claim to the unclaimed funds. In addition, the attorney will prepare and file the necessary IRS forms and governmental forms such as the Administrative Office of the US Courts TIN Certification Form necessary for the Bankruptcy Court to disburse the funds to a commercial creditor.
Since there are a significant amount of unclaimed funds sitting in the Bankruptcy Court registries and the U.S. Treasury, isn’t it worthwhile to check to see if you are entitled to any of these funds as claimant and, if you are, to make the effort to have the funds provided to you? The attorneys at Wetherington Hamilton are ready to assist commercial and non commercial creditors in seeking your unclaimed funds, call us today at (813) 676-9075.
Brad Hissing is a Bankruptcy Attorney with over 26 years of experience in representing creditors, Trustees and other parties in bankruptcy cases. He has extensive experience in Creditors Rights and Insolvency matters in both consumer and Chapter 11 commercial cases. He can be reached at BradH@whhlaw.com or by phone at (813) 676-9075.