Nothing if you are a debtor. File a claim if you are a creditor.
Debtor: If you are a debtor in chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee will sometimes find assets that he can use to pay some of your creditors. This is usually when the trustee intercepts a large tax refund from you. When the trustee realizes that he will have money available to pay creditors, he sends out the notice for creditors to file claims.
If you are the debtor (the person who filed bankruptcy), you don’t need to respond. However, you may want to remind some of your creditors to file claims (especially creditors like the family dentist you listed in your bankruptcy although you really like him). After the creditors file claims, the trustee will use the money he’s recovered to pay those creditors. He usually isn’t paying more than cents on the dollar, but at least the creditors get paid something, and they are all discharged by the bankruptcy.
If you owe tax debt or student loan debt, make sure to file a claim on behalf of those creditors, so that your money goes towards paying off debts that don’t get discharged in the bankruptcy.
Creditor: You had better file a claim by the deadline if you want to get paid any monies from the bankruptcy estate. Your claim will still be discharged, but at least this way you will receive something from the bankruptcy trustee. If you need help filing a claim, contact a creditor’s rights attorney, because I don’t do that.
This is not legal advice. If you need help go to www.robertspaynelaw.com.