As of December 1, 2015, virtually all of the official bankruptcy forms will be revised and implemented for use in the United States Bankruptcy Courts across all jurisdictions. In fact, according to Professor Elizabeth Gibson of the University of North Carolina School of Law the scope of these revisions was so massive, it took seven years to complete these revisions versus the typical two year revision timeline. A complete set of new forms can be found HERE. These new forms are implemented as part of a modernization project begun by the Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules in 2008. Among other things, the new forms introduce different versions of bankruptcy case opening forms for consumer debtors and non-consumer (e.g., business) debtors. The new forms are intended to be easier for debtors to understand and complete and are designed to work with scheduled enhancements to the federal courts’ case opening and electronic case management system. Some commentators have suggested the new forms' simplicity and clarity may increase the number of pro se bankruptcy filings, which are filings done without the involvement of an attorney.
Overall, the new forms also have a new numbering convention, so the reference number for a prior form may be different after implementation of the new forms. A chart that allows for cross-reference of the prior numbering convention to the new numbering convention for the revised bankruptcy forms can be found HERE. While many of the forms contain the same criteria as prior generations, the "look" of the new forms is very different, with new fonts and locations for data fields. While this may seem trivial to professionals that do not deal with bankruptcy forms on a daily basis, it will change where creditors and parties in interest look for key information as part of any bankruptcy case. In other words, all professionals will need to re-familiarize themselves with the revised forms prior to their use beginning on December 1, 2015. Professionals that file cases on behalf of debtors will need to ensure any petitions preparation software such as Best Case (http://www.bestcase.com/) or Collier TopForm (http://www.lexisnexis.com/) are updated to incorporate the new forms. Likewise, professionals representing creditors will need to utilize the newly revised Proof of Claim form and attachments. There are new instructions provided for completing the Proof of Claim forms for creditors. These new instructions may be found HERE for general proofs of claim and HERE for proofs of claim for mortgages on a debtor's primary residence.
There will be additional form changes coming in 2016 for existing Forms 20A, 20B, 25A, 25B, 25C, and 26. Please contact any of the professionals at WALDING, LLC regarding these changes and for any assistance in understanding how the new forms might affect your bankruptcy needs.