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Common bankruptcy terms

Bankruptcy has its own language. Here is a brief definition of those terms used in this site and in the Bankruptcy Code. We have attempted to take much of the legal jargon out of the definitions.

Adequate protection: Payment to a creditor with collateral to protect the value of the creditor’s lien during the bankruptcy proceeding from loss because the collateral’s value will depreciate or lower over time.

Adversary proceeding: A lawsuit filed in the bankruptcy court which is related to the debtor’s bankruptcy case. Examples are suits to determine the dischargeability of a debt, suits against creditors that violate the Automatic Stay.

Assets: Assets are every form of property that the debtor owns. They include tangible assets such as furniture and cars and intangible things such as debt owed to the debtor and the debtor’s the right to sue someone. The debtor must list all of his assets in the bankruptcy schedules.

Assumption of a lease or contract: An agreement to continue performing duties under a contract or lease. Example: If you assume your cell phone contract, you agree to continue paying the monthly charges in exchange for being able to use the service.

Automatic stay: The injunction issued automatically upon the filing of a bankruptcy case which stops almost all collection activity, including phone calls, lawsuits, garnishments, IRS levies, foreclosures and repossessions. See Relief from Stay on terminating the injunction. For example: If a lawsuit, has not been filed, then the creditor cannot file it. If the lawsuit was filed, then it stops and a judgment cannot be take. If a judgment was taken, the creditor start a garnishment. If the garnishment was started before the filing of the bankruptcy, then the garnishment stops.

Avoidance: The Bankruptcy Code permits the debtor to eliminate (avoid) some kinds of liens that interfere with (or impair) an exemption claimed in the bankruptcy. In some cases a lien can be avoided, the debt discharged, and the debtor can keep the asset. In Mississippi, most judgment liens that have attached to the debtor’s home can be avoided if the debtor’s equity in his home is less than $75,000.00. Also, many liens on household goods and business equipment can be avoided. For more, see Lien Avoidance and Lien Stripping.

Avoidance powers: Rights given to the bankruptcy trustee (or the debtor in possession in a Chapter 11 and in certain instances to Debtors in other chapters) to recover certain transfers of property such as preferences or fraudulent transfers or to set aside liens created before the bankruptcy case was filed. More on preferences.

Bankruptcy Code: Title 11 of the United States Code governs bankruptcy proceedings. Bankruptcy is a matter of federal law and is, with the exception of exemptions, which are determined by state law on most assets. When federal bankruptcy law conflicts with state law, federal law controls.

Bankruptcy Estate: The estate is all of the legal and equitable interests of the debtor as of the commencement of the case (the date the case is filed with the bankruptcy court). From the estate, an individual debtor can claim certain property as exempt (protected). If the debtor owns assets that are not exempt (not protected), then non-exempt (unprotected) assets can be liquidated or sold in a Chapter 7 to pay the administrative costs and pay a portion of the debts of the debtor. What creditors are paid and in what order is determined by each debts status. For example, priority debts are paid before regular or general unsecured debts such as credit card debt. In a chapter 13 case, the bankruptcy estate also includes future disposable income.

Bankruptcy Petition: A formal request for the protection of the federal bankruptcy laws. (There is an official form for bankruptcy petitions.) The Petition (approximately 3 pages) contains the person or company that is filings basic information, including name, address, etc.

Bankruptcy Trustee: A private individual or corporation appointed in all chapter 7, chapter 12, and chapter 13 cases to represent the interests of the bankruptcy estate and the debtor’s creditors. See chapter 7 trustee, chapter 12 trustee and chapter 13 trustee to see what the duties are for each of them.

Chapter 7: The most common form of bankruptcy, a Chapter 7 is sometimes called a “straight bankruptcy” and sometimes called a liquidation proceeding. Chapter 7 is available to individuals, married couples, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs) and corporations. More in Bankruptcy Information.

Chapter 7 Trustee: A person appointed in a chapter 7 case to represent the interests of the bankruptcy estate and the unsecured creditors. (The trustee’s responsibilities include reviewing the debtor’s petition and schedules, liquidating the property of the estate, and making distributions to creditors. The trustee may also bring actions against creditors or the debtor to recover property of the bankruptcy estate.)

Chapter 11: A very complex bankruptcy proceeding, which is a reorganization proceeding in which the debtor may continue in business or in possession of its/his/her property. A confirmed Chapter 11 plan provides for the manner in which the claims of creditors will be paid in whole or in part by the debtor. Generally, a trustee is not appointed in Chapter 11 cases. Thus, the debtor has the same duties and responsibilities as a trustee.

Chapter 12: A simplified reorganization plan for family farmers or commercial fishermen whose debts fall within certain limits. Corporations, etc can qualify as family farmers or family fishermen. In many ways, a Chapter 13 case is similar to a Chapter 13 case, but a debtor can pay his/her/its plan payments seasonally instead of monthly.

Chapter 12 Trustee: A person appointed to administer a chapter 12 case. (A chapter 12 trustee’s responsibilities are similar to those of a chapter 7 trustee; however, a chapter 12 trustee has the additional responsibilities of overseeing the debtor’s plan, receiving payments from debtors, and then paying payments creditors as required by the plan after the plan has been approved by the Court.)

Chapter 13: The simplest of the reorganization type of bankruptcy cases. A repayment plan for individuals with debts falling below statutory levels which provides for repayment of some or all of the debts out of future income over 3 to 5 years. More in Bankruptcy Information

Chapter 13 Trustee: A person appointed to administer a chapter 13 case. (A chapter 13 trustee’s responsibilities are similar to those of a chapter 7 trustee; however, a chapter 13 trustee has the additional responsibilities of overseeing the debtor’s plan, receiving payments from debtors, and then paying payments creditors as required by the plan after the plan has been approved by the Court.)

Charged Off: This is an accounting term that means the creditor does not expect to collect on the debt. Just because a debt has been charged off does not mean that the creditor can no longer collect the charged off debt.

Claim: A creditor’s assertion of a right to payment from a debtor or the debtor’s property. The claim is asserted by filing a “proof of claim.” In most cases, if a creditor does not file its proof of claim timely, then that creditor will not be paid.

Collateral: The property which is subject to a lien. A creditor with rights in collateral is a secured creditor and has additional protections in the Bankruptcy Code for the claim secured by collateral. The measure of the secured claim is the value of the collateral available to secure the claim: it is possible to have a lien on property that is subject to a senior lien or liens such that the security available to pay the claim is really without value to the junior creditor. The general rule with respect to liens is “First in time, first in right.”

Complaint: The first or initial document in a lawsuit that notifies the court and the defendant of the grounds claimed by the plaintiff for an award of money or other relief against the defendant. Although complaints are filed in all courts, a complaint is filed in Adversary Proceedings to start the lawsuit filed in a bankruptcy case.

Confirmed: A plan of reorganization in Chapter 11, 12 or 13 approved by the court and binding on the parties is said to be confirmed. Unless there is an order directing payments to a creditor prior to confirmation, most creditors are not paid until the plan has been confirmed.

Confirmation: The court order which makes the terms of the plan for repayment of debts in a Chapter 11, 12 or 13 binding. The terms of the confirmed plan replace the prepetition rights of the debtor and creditor.

Consumer Bankruptcy: A bankruptcy case filed to reduce or eliminate debts that are primarily consumer debts, such as credit card debt, medical debt, personal loans and auto loans.

Contingent: Used to describe debts that are not fixed in right at the time, but are dependent on some other event happening to fix the liability.

Conversion: Cases under the Code may be converted from one chapter to another chapter; for example, a Chapter 7 case may be converted to a case under Chapter 13 if the debtor is eligible for Chapter 13. Even though the chapter of the Code which governs it changes, it remains the same case as originally filed.

Creditor: The person or organization to whom the debtor owes money or has some other form of legal obligation.

Debt Relief Agency: Another new term created by the 2005 amendments to the Bankruptcy Code. The Code requires all law firms and other entities that provide bankruptcy assistance for pay are Debt Relief Agencies, and that the firm or company must state in any advertisement that the firm or company is a Debt Relief Agency. Apparently, this was done to stop misleading advertising by some that made it appear that the firm or company helped people with debt consolidations without mentioning that what was being done was the firm or company was filing chapter 13 debt reorganizations instead.

Debtor: A person who has filed a petition for relief under the Bankruptcy Code. A person includes an individual, a partnership, a limited liability company (LLC), or a corporation. Thus, any of these entities can be a Debtor.

Debtor in Possession: In a Chapter 11 case, the debtor usually remains in possession of its assets and assumes the duties of a trustee. The debtor in possession is a fiduciary for the creditors of the bankruptcy estate, and owes them the highest duty of care and loyalty.

Deed: A legal document used to transfer real property (land) from one person or entity to another. The two most common deeds are called a warranty deed or a quitclaim deed. Both transfer the seller’s interest in the real property (land) but only the warranty deed gives a warranty to the purchaser that the seller has good title to the real property (land).

Deed of Trust: A legal document used to create a lien on real property (land) in Mississippi. In some states, the instrument is called a mortgage. Many of our clients mistakenly believe that a deed of trust is a deed that transfers the property to someone else.

Defendant: An individual (or business) against whom a lawsuit is filed.

Denial of Discharge: Penalty for debtor misconduct with respect to the bankruptcy case or creditors as a whole. The grounds on which the debtor’s discharge may be denied are found in 11 U.S.C. 727. When the debtor’s discharge is denied, the debts that could have been discharged in that case cannot be discharged in any subsequent bankruptcy. The administration of the case, the liquidation of assets and the recovery of avoidable transfers, continues for the benefit of creditors.

Discharge: The legal elimination of debt through a bankruptcy case. When a debt is discharged, it is no longer legally enforceable against the debtor, though most liens which secure the debt will survive the bankruptcy case. Example: An auto loan which is not reaffirmed is discharged. If the Creditor has not take actions to allow the repossession of the auto before discharge, then that creditor can repossess the auto after discharge but it cannot seek to collect the debt.

Dischargeable Debts: Debts that can be eliminated in bankruptcy. Certain debts are not dischargeable in any bankruptcy proceeding and others cannot be discharged except by the filing of a Chapter 13 case. Child support, alimony, most taxes, most student loans and criminal restitution are examples of debts which cannot be discharged in any bankruptcy case.

Dismissal: The termination of the case without either the entry of a discharge or a denial of discharge; after a case is dismissed, the debtor and the creditors have the same rights as they had before the bankruptcy case was commenced. Dismissal is the penalty for many minor infractions of bankruptcy procedures under the 2005 amendments. Examples: Failure to file the all tax returns for the prior 4 years will result in dismissal of a Chapter 13 case and failure to supply copies of pay stubs for wages received in the 60 days prior to filing will result in dismissal of any case filed by individuals or a husband and wife filing jointly.

Domestic Support Obligation: Debts for alimony, maintenance or support owed to child, spouse or governmental entity that paid for the support of the child or spouse. A new term introduced by the bankruptcy amendments of 2005.

Emergency Filing: A bankruptcy case filed either without schedules or with incomplete schedules sometimes called a Skeletal Filing or a Face Sheet Filing. Since it usually takes a week or two to complete the schedules, an Emergency Filing may be necessary to stop a foreclosure, stop a garnishment or tax levy, or have a repossessed auto returned to the debtor.

Equity: The value of a debtor’s interest in property that remains after liens and other creditors’ interests are considered. (Example: If a house valued at $100,000 is subject to a $45,000 mortgage, there is $55,000 of equity.)

Executory Contract or Lease: Generally includes contracts or leases under which both parties to the agreement have duties remaining to be performed. Examples of these are: Cell phone contracts, leases, and a contract with an attorney handling a lawsuit for the debtor. (If a contract or lease is executory, a debtor may assume it or reject it.)

Exempt: A description of any property that a debtor may prevent creditors from recovering. In other words the property is protected from creditors or a bankruptcy trustee from taking the property.

Exempt Property: Property that is exempt (protected) is removed from the bankruptcy estate and is not available to pay the claims of creditors. The debtor selects the property to be exempted from the statutory lists of exemptions available under the law of his state. The debtor gets to keep exempt property for use in making a fresh start after bankruptcy. More on Exemptions in Mississippi under Bankruptcy Information.

Exemptions: Exemptions are the lists of the kinds and values of property that is legally beyond the reach of creditors or the bankruptcy trustee. The debtor in bankruptcy keeps the exempt property. What property may be exempted is determined by state and federal statutes, and varies from state to state. More on Exemptions in Mississippi under Bankruptcy Information.

Family Farmer: An individual, individual and spouse, corporation, limited liability company (LLC) or partnership engaged in a farming operation who meet certain debt limits and other statutory criteria (such as more than 50% of the debtor’s income must be derived from farming) for filing a petition under chapter 12.

Family Fisherman: An individual, individual and spouse, corporation, limited liability company (LLC) or partnership engaged in a commercial fishing operation who meet certain debt limits and other statutory criteria (such as more than 50% of the debtor’s income must be derived from fishing) for filing a petition under chapter 12.

Fiduciary: One who is entrusted with duties on behalf of another. The law requires the highest level of good faith, loyalty and diligence of a fiduciary, higher than the common duty of care that we all owe one another. The debtor in possession in a Chapter 11 is a fiduciary for the creditors, owing loyalty to the creditors and not the shareholders of the debtor. Other examples of someone that has fiduciary responsibilities to others are: executors of estates, guardians appointed by courts, and attorneys with respect to their clients.

Fraudulent Transfer: A transfer of a debtor’s property 1) made with intent to defraud or 2) for which the debtor receives less than the transferred property’s value. In then second instance, the transfer does not have to be made with an intent to defraud to constitute a fraudulent transfer under the Bankruptcy Code.

Fresh Start: The characterization of a debtor’s status after bankruptcy, i.e., free of most debts. (Giving debtors a fresh start is one purpose of the Bankruptcy Code.)

General Unsecured Claim: Creditor’s claim without a priority for payment for which the creditor holds no security (or collateral). If the available funds in the estate extend to payment of a portion of the general unsecured claims, the claims are paid pro-rata.

Indemnify: To guarantee against any loss which another might suffer. In bankruptcy, it is used to describe the undertaking of one spouse in a divorce to assume certain debts of the marriage and to see that the other spouse is not forced to pay. This is sometimes called a “hold harmless” clause.

Insider (of individual debtor): Any relative of the debtor or of a general partner of the debtor; partnership in which the debtor is a general partner; general partner of the debtor; or corporation of which the debtor is a director, officer, or person in control.

Insider (of corporate debtor): A director, officer, or person in control of the debtor; a partnership in which the debtor is a general partner; a general partner of the debtor; or a relative of a general partner, director, officer, or person in control of the debtor.

Involuntary Transfer: A transfer of a debtor’s property without the debtor’s consent. The taking of a lien by court action (judgment lien) or as authorized by state or federal laws (statutory lien). Examples of statutory liens are Federal Tax Liens and state tax liens that can be placed upon all property of a person simply by filing the lien in the courthouse of the county where property owned by the person is located.

Joint Administration: A court-approved mechanism under which two or more cases can be administered together. (Assuming no conflicts of interest, these separate firms or individuals can pool their resources, hire the same professionals, etc.)

Joint Petition: One bankruptcy petition filed by a husband and wife together.

Lien: An interest in real or personal property which secures a debt; the lien may be voluntary, such as a mortgage (deed of trust) on real property or the security interest retained by a bank or lender on an automobile. The lien may also be involuntary, such as a judgment lien or tax lien.

Limited Liability Company: An company that is formed under state laws to operate as a business in that state and possibly others. You normally see this abbreviated as LLC. An LLC can be taxes as a corporation, partnership or if it is solely owned as a sole propritorship. Just as a corporation, an LLC can sue, be sued or file bankruptcy.

Liquidated: A debt that is for a known number of dollars is liquidated. An unliquidated debt is one where the debtor has liability, but the exact amount of that liability is unknown. Tort (such as auto accident injuries) claims are usually unliquidated until a trial fixes the amount of the liability of the tortfeasor.

Liquidation: A sale of a debtor’s property by a Chapter 7 Trustee or a Chapter 11 Debtor with the proceeds to be used for the benefit of creditors.

Means Test: Added to the Code in 2005, the means test is intended to screen out those filing Chapter 7 who are supposedly able to repay some part of their debts. The test is found in Official Form B22a. Debtors who fail the means test may convert their case to another chapter of bankruptcy. More about how the means test works.

Meeting of creditors: The debtor must appear at a meeting with the trustee to be examined under oath about income, expenses, assets and debts. Creditors are invited but seldom attend. The meeting is sometimes called the 341 meeting, after the section of the Bankruptcy Code that requires it. See 341 Meeting.

Motion to Lift the Automatic Stay: A request by a creditor to allow the creditor to take an action against a debtor or the debtor’s property that would otherwise be prohibited by the automatic stay. A motion to lift the automatic stay is generally filed when a debtor is not making the payments on a secured loan, or by failing to make payments required by the Plan, or the debtor has allowed the insurance on a creditor’s collateral such as a car or home. See Relief from Stay.

No-asset Case: A chapter 7 case where there are not enough non exempt assets available for the trustee to consider liquidating the assets and distribute funds to unsecured creditors. In Mississippi more than 95% of chapter 7 cases are no-asset cases.

Nondischargeable Debt: A debt that cannot be eliminated in bankruptcy. Nondischargeable debts remain legally enforceable despite the bankruptcy discharge. The Code’s list of nondischargeable debts is found at 11 U.S.C. 523(a). All of the debts listed in 523(a) are nondischargeable under chapters 7, 11 and 12, but some of those same debts can be discharged in a Chapter 13 case. More on differences in chapter 7 and 13.

Objection to Discharge: A trustee’s or creditor’s objection requesting that the court deny the debtor or debtors from receiving a discharge.

Objection to Exemptions: A trustee’s or creditor’s objection to a debtor’s attempt to claim certain property as exempt. If he trustee or creditor is successful, then the trustee will be able to liquidate the property and use the funds to pay creditors of the debtor.

Oversecured Claim: A debt which is secured and the value of the collateral is greater than the amount of the debt.

Perfection of Lien: When a secured creditor has taken the required steps to perfect his lien, the lien is senior to any liens that arise after perfection. A mortgage (deed of trust) is perfected by recording it in the land records in the office of the Chancery Clerk of the county where the land is located; a lien in personal property is perfected by filing a financing statement (UCC1) with the secretary of state; a lien on a car, truck, or mobile home is protected by placing the lien on the title to the vehicle or mobile home. An unperfected lien is valid between the debtor and the secured creditor, but may be behind liens created later in time, but perfected earlier than the lien in question. An unperfected lien can be avoided by the trustee. See Purchase Money Lien for an exception to the requirement to file anything to perfect liens on furniture and appliances.

Personal property: Assets, such as cars, stock, furniture, debt owed to the debtor etc., that is not real estate or affixed to real property. In other words, if buildings and items attached to buildings and land are real property. Everything else is personal property.

Petition: The document that initiates a bankruptcy case. The filing of the petition constitutes an order for relief and institutes the automatic stay. Events are frequently described as “prepetition”, happening before the bankruptcy petition was filed, and “post petition”, after the bankruptcy was filed.

Petition Date: The date on which the bankruptcy petition was filed. Most issues in the bankruptcy case are determined by the Petition Date.

Plan: A debtor’s detailed description of how the debtor proposes to pay creditors’ claims over a fixed period of time. Plans are filed in chapter 11, 12 and 13 cases.

Plaintiff: A person or business that files a formal complaint with the court. In bankruptcy cases, this is done in adversary proceedings.

Post-petition Transfer: A transfer of a debtor’s property made after the commencement of the case. If the transfer is done without approval of the court, then the trustee or the debtor may be able to set the transfer aside pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §549.

Preference: A transfer to a creditor in payment of an existing debt made within certain time periods before the commencement of the case. Preferences may be recovered by the trustee for the benefit of all creditors of the estate pursuant to 11 U.S.C. §647. In some instances, the debtor may recover transfer of exempt assets. The time limit is normally 90 days except for transfer to insiders, which is one year.

Pre-petition: Claims: Debts owed by the debtor or other claims against the debtor which arose before the commencement of the bankruptcy case, that is, before the filing of the bankruptcy petition (Petition Date). Generally only pre-petition debts may be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding. (One exception are debts that were incurred post-petition, but before a case was converted from one chapter to another.)

Priority: The Bankruptcy Code establishes the order in which claims are paid from the bankruptcy estate. All claims in a higher priority must be paid in full before claims with a lower priority receive anything. All claims with the same priority share pro rata. Claims are paid in this order: 1) costs of administration 2) priority claims and 3) general unsecured claims. Secured claims are paid from the proceeds of liquidating the collateral which secured the claim.

Priority claims: Certain debts, such as unpaid wages, spousal or child support (domestic support obligations), and taxes are elevated in the payment hierarchy under the Code. In a chapter 7 liquidation, priority claims must be paid in full before general unsecured claims are paid. It is not uncommon for there not be enough funds to pay the priority claims in full in the few times that a chapter 7 liquidation occurs in Mississippi.

Proof of claim: The form filed with the court which sets out the reason the debtor owes money to the creditor. The creditor should attach to the official form documents which establish or prove the validity of the claim.

Property of the estate: As of the Petition Date, the property that is not exempt and belongs to the bankruptcy estate. Property of the estate is usually sold by the trustee and the claims of creditors paid from the proceeds. In chapter 12 and 13 and individual 11 cases, property of the estate also includes future income.

Purchase Money Lien: A lien created on an item in which the funds used to purchase the item are the funds that are secured by the lien. Example: The contract used to purchase a car, truck, furniture or appliances generally includes a promise to pay the funds not paid at the time of purchase and also takes a purchase money lien on the items purchased. If the purchase money lien is on furniture, appliances, electronic entertainment equipment, then the creditor does not have to file a UCC1 or financing statement to perfect its lien. See Perfection of Liens.

Reaffirm: When a debtor chooses to waive the discharge as to a debt, then the debtor reaffirms that debt. Generally, the parties to the reaffirmed debt have the same rights and liabilities that each had prior to the bankruptcy filing. For example, the debtor is obligated to pay and the creditor can sue or repossess the collateral if the debtor doesn’t pay. In a some cases, a debtor may reaffirm only part of the debt provided the creditor and debtor agree on the terms of the agreement.

Reaffirmation Agreement: An agreement by a chapter 7 debtor to continue paying a debt after the bankruptcy, usually for the purpose of keeping collateral or mortgaged property that would otherwise be subject to repossession or foreclosure.

Real Property: All land together with builings, structures, fences, etc. which are attached to the land and along with equipment that has become a part of the land such as light fixtures to a house or a well pump on the land.

Relief from the Stay: A creditor can ask the judge to lift the automatic stay and permit some action against the debtor or the property of the estate. (See Motion to Lift the Automatic Stay.) If the motion is granted, the moving party (but no one else) is free to take whatever action the court permits

Schedules: The debtor must file the required lists of assets, liabilities, income and expenses to commence a bankruptcy case, collectively called the schedules.

Secured Debt: A debt backed by a mortgage, pledge of collateral, or other lien which gives the creditor the right to pursue specific pledged property upon default. The lien can be the result of a voluntary agreement or an involuntary lien such as a judgment or tax lien. Generally a secured claim must be perfected under applicable state law to be treated as a secured claim in the bankruptcy.

Statement of Financial Affairs: A series of questions the debtor must answer in writing concerning sources of income, transfers of property, lawsuits by creditors, etc. (There is an official form a debtor must use which must be filed in every bankruptcy proceeding.)

Statement of Intention: A declaration made by a chapter 7 debtor concerning plans for dealing with secured debts. The options in the Statement of Intent are for the debtor to 1) reaffirm a debt, 2) surrender the collateral, or 3) Redeem (which means pay the secured creditor the value of the collateral in one lump sum to retain the collateral and discharge the remainder of the debt.)

Tangible Personal Property: Physical articles (things) such as a animals, cars, furniture or equipment. Tangible property is distinguished from intangible property such as stock, rights, patents, copyrights and franchises.

341 Meeting: A meeting of creditors at which the debtor is questioned under oath by creditors, a trustee, examiner, or the United States trustee about his/her financial affairs.

Trustee: The court appoints a trustee in every Chapter 7, Chapter 12 and Chapter 13 case to review the debtor’s schedules and represent the interests of the creditors in the bankruptcy case. The role of the trustee is different under the different chapters which are described in this glossary.

United States Trustee: An officer of the Justice Department responsible for supervising the administration of bankruptcy cases, estates, and trustees, monitoring plans and disclosure statements, monitoring creditors’ committees, monitoring fee applications, and performing other statutory duties. Many times this is abbreviated in the following manner: UST.

Undersecured Claim: A debt which is secured and the value of the collateral is greater than the amount of the debt. The excess or unsecured portion may be treated differently than the secured portion in Chapter 11, 12 and 13 plans of reorganization.

Unliquidated Claim: A claim upon which the debtor has liability, but the exact amount of that liability is unknown. Tort (such as auto accident injuries) claims are usually unliquidated until a trial fixes the amount of the liability of the tortfeasor.

Unsecured Debt: A debt is unsecured if there is no collateral that is security for the debt. Common examples of unsecured debt are: most credit card debt, medical bills, and signature loans.

Unsecured Claim: A claim on a debt on which a creditor holds no collateral such as a mortgage or lien.

Voluntary Transfer: A transfer of a debtor’s property with the debtor’s consent. The granting of a lien on property by a mortgage (deed of trust) or a security agreement on an automobile or other property can also be considered a voluntary transfer.