Changes to the bankruptcy rules as of December 1st

Some changes to the bankruptcy rules went into effect on December 1, 2011. Unlike the wholesale changes that were implemented in 2005, these are to the rules, no the bankruptcy code itself. Most are technical or minor. And it looks like they might actually be helpful to consumers in bankruptcy.

The claim form that creditors use to protect themselves has been tinkered with: it now more explicitly requires that creditors itemize principal, as opposed to interest, fees and penalties, so unfair piling on of these “extras” can be spotted easily.

For residential mortgage lenders, a brand new, and additional claims form has been created, requiring even more specificity. Escrow accounts, amount to cure defaults, and itemized default fees now must be broken out by category.

Mortgage lenders will also now be required to file official notifications when the monthly mortgage payment changes (such as when an adjustable rate adjusts, or when tax escrow increases).

And any special fees or charges billed AFTER a bankruptcy case is filed must be reported on yet another new form. The court has also instituted rules for resolving minor disputes concerning these type of post-petition fees.

Doug Beaton is a bankruptcy lawyer serving the North Andover and Lawrence, Mass. area.


By Doug Beaton

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