If you learn or notice that a creditor is not listed while the case is pending, it is a more simple fix. An amendment may be filed. The filing fee for this amendment is $26. Your legal fees will be a bit more, as the amendment requires a new Schedule F (list of debts), as well as an affidavit of service showing proof of the change reaching all necessary parties.
The more serious problem arises when a forgotten creditor shows up when the case is over, making demand for payment or even filing suit. The bankruptcy code provides that debts not scheduled in time for the creditor to file a proof of claim are not discharged. The case may be reopened, though, to list the creditor and obtain a discharge. This process will require a motion and supporting documents, along with a filing fee of $276.
If the motion is granted, the case will be reopened. The amended schedule can then be filed and the creditor will receive notice and a deadline by which the creditor may object to the discharge or the dischargeability of its debt. If no objection is received, the discharge will apply to the debt owed the omitted creditor.
Sometimes this process can be omitted. In the typical Chapter 7 case, there is no deadline set for filing claims. The vast majority of these cases are what we call “no-asset” cases, in which there is no distribution of creditors. In this instance, a majority of courts have held that the debts owed creditors inadvertently omitted from the bankruptcy schedules will still be discharged (as long as this debt was incurred prior to the date the bankruptcy was filed). We can often accomplish this for our clients with a letter to the omitted creditor, explaining this aspect of the law and why it applies to this omitted creditor.