Bankruptcy Schedule E -- Unsecured, Priority Creditors

On bankruptcy Schedule E, you list priority debts. Learn what those are and how to fill out the form.

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Certain debts (called priority claims) receive special treatment in bankruptcy. In most cases, priority claims can’t be discharged (eliminated) and they get paid before other debts in bankruptcy. When you complete your bankruptcy paperwork, you must list all of your priority debts on a form called Schedule E – Creditors Holding Unsecured Priority Claims. Read on to learn more about how to fill out Schedule E.

For more information on how to complete other required bankruptcy forms, see our Completing the Bankruptcy Forms topic area.

What Is Schedule E?

Schedule E is a form designed specifically for your unsecured priority claims. As we discussed, priority claims are typically nondischargeable and get paid before your other obligations in bankruptcy. The most common priority claims include alimony, child support, certain tax obligations, and debts for personal injury or death arising out of your drunk driving.

But there are several other types of priority claims. Schedule E provides detailed descriptions of all debts that are considered priority in bankruptcy.

To learn more about priority debts, see What Is a Priority Claim in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

How to Complete Schedule E

Schedule E contains detailed information regarding how you should complete the form. This means that if you read the instructions carefully, you should have no trouble filling out the form. Below, we discuss some of the information that will be required and provide additional tips that may be helpful in completing the form:

Types of priority claims. If you have any debts that match a specific priority claim category on Schedule E, check the box next to that type of claim. If you have no priority debts, check the first box that states you don’t have any creditors with priority claims.

Creditor information and account number. Identify any creditors holding priority claims by listing their name, address, and account number where indicated.

Codebtors. If you have any codebtors that are also liable for the debt, place an X in this column (you don’t have to list your spouse again if you filed a joint bankruptcy petition). You will list your codebtor’s contact information on a different form called Schedule H – Codebtors.

Husband, wife, joint, or community. If you filed for bankruptcy jointly with your spouse, indicate who is liable for the claim by placing an H, W, J, or C as appropriate.

Date of claim and consideration. State when you incurred the obligation and what it was for (such as child support).

Contingent, unliquidated, or disputed. If your potential liability for a claim is based on some event that has not yet occurred, the claim is considered contingent. If the exact amount of the debt is not yet known, it’s an unliquidated claim. If you don’t believe that you owe the debt or it’s incorrect in some way, it’s a disputed claim. If you believe that any of your claims are contingent, unliquidated, or disputed, indicate that on the form by placing an X in the appropriate spot.

Claim amount. List the total amount of the claim here.

Priority amount. If only part of the claim is entitled to priority, list the priority amount here. Make sure to review the dollar limits for certain priority claims on Schedule E to determine what portion of a claim is entitled to priority.

Amount not entitled to priority. If only a portion of the claim is entitled to priority, list the amount that is not entitled to priority here.

This article provides general information only. There are many legal issues involved and important decisions to be made when filing for bankruptcy. You must understand the entire bankruptcy process, learn about the applicable federal and state laws, and determine how those laws will affect your particular situation before you complete the bankruptcy forms. In many cases, it's best to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. If you want to file bankruptcy without a lawyer, use a good do-it-yourself book like Nolo's How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy to ensure you make well informed decisions about your bankruptcy case.

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