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Bankruptcy and Debt Law Glossary

Trying to decipher an acronym? Attempting to understand legal jargon? The Bankruptcy and Debt Law glossary gives you access to definitions for the Bankruptcy and Debt legal terminology commonly used in documents and court proceedings. This Bankruptcy and Debt Law glossary will help you understand the legal terms and phrases which are relevant to declaring bankruptcy, debt relief, and other areas of Bankruptcy and Debt law.

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Bankruptcy and Debt Law Glossary

  • 341 Meeting
    The meeting of creditors required by section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code, at which the debtor is questioned under oath by creditors, a trustee, examiner, or the U.S. trustee about his/her financial ...
  • Accounts Receivable
    Money due from your customers. Your accounts receivable balance equals the dollar amount of sales that you have made to your customers on credit terms but that have not yet been paid. The accounts ...
  • Additional Insured
    An individual or entity who is not specifically named as an insured within the policy itself, but for whom attachments, known as endorsements, to the policy provide a degree of protection. In some ...
  • Adversary Proceeding
    A lawsuit arising in or related to a bankruptcy case that is commenced by filing a complaint with the court.
  • Allowance For Bad Debts
    Your best guess at how much of your accounts receivable will not be collectable. In other words, your best guess at how much of your accounts receivable will be "bad debts." An "allowance for bad ...
  • Assume
    as·sumed as·sum·ing 1 : to voluntarily take upon oneself [ a risk] 2 : to take over (the debts or obligations of another) as one's own [ a mortgage]
  • Automatic Stay
    : a stay that comes into operation upon the filing of a bankruptcy petition in accordance with bankruptcy law that prevents creditors from attempting to collect from the debtor for debts incurred ...
  • Bad Debt
    see debt
  • Bad Debt Expense
    An expense account that reflects the amount of your company's accounts that are not collectable, that is the amount of your company's accounts that are "bad debts." A "bad debt expense" account is an ...
  • Bad Debt Recovery
    An account that you "wrote-off" as not collectable, but that was later paid by the customer. When this happens, you must adjust your accounts. Your company's adjusting entries would look something ...
  • Bankruptcy
    pl: -cies 1 : the quality or state of a bankrupt [filed for ] 2 : the administration of an insolvent debtor's property by the court for the benefit of the debtor's creditors [the debt was discharged ...
  • Bankruptcy Administrator
    An officer of the judiciary serving in the judicial districts of Alabama and North Carolina who, like the U.S. trustee, is responsible for supervising the administration of bankruptcy cases, estates, ...
  • Bankruptcy Code
    The informal name for title 11 of the United States Code (11 U.S.C. sections 101 -1330), the federal bankruptcy law.
  • Bankruptcy Court
    : a court that is a unit of a federal District Court and has original jurisdiction over bankruptcy cases NOTE: Bankruptcy courts were created by Congress as part of the 1898 Bankruptcy Act. Article ...
  • Bankruptcy Estate
    see estate
  • Bankruptcy Judge
    A judicial officer of the United States district court who is the court official with decision
  • Bankruptcy Petition
    The document filed in Bankruptcy Court that details the assets and liabilities of the debtor.
  • Bodily Injury Liability
    Insurance coverage that applies when you are legally liable for injuring other people in an auto accident. Bodily injury liability provides payments to those injured individuals and pays your legal ...
  • Chapter 11
    : chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code see also Bankruptcy Code in the Important Laws section
  • Chapter 11 (Business Reorganization)
    A petition designed to reorganize business debt. The business normally is permitted to continue its operations under court supervision until some plan of reorganization is approved by the creditors.
  • Chapter 12
    : chapter 12 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code see also Bankruptcy Code in the Important Laws section
  • Chapter 13
    : chapter 13 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code see also Bankruptcy Code in the Important Laws section
  • Chapter 13 (Wage Earner's Plan)
    A petition designed for any insolvent debtor who is a wage earner to provide the debtor with additional time to pay off creditors.
  • Chapter 7
    : chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code see also Bankruptcy Code in the Important Laws section
  • Chapter 7 (Individual Bankruptcy)
    A petition designed to liquidate the debtor's property, pay off his or her creditors, and discharge the debtor from his or her other debts.
  • Chapter 9
    : chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code see also Bankruptcy Code in the Important Laws section
  • Claim
    [Old French, from clamer to call, claim, from Latin clamare to shout, proclaim] 1 a : a demand for something (as money) due or believed to be due ;specif : a demand for a benefit (as under the ...
  • Collision Insurance
    Coverage under a policy which pays for damage to, or loss of, your own automobile from upset or collision with another object or vehicle. Collision insurance does not cover bodily or personal injury, ...
  • Comprehensive Insurance
    Insurance coverage that reimburses you for damage to your own car from causes other than a collision, upset, or general wear and tear. Comprehensive insurance may provide coverage for hail, flood, ...
  • Confirmation
    1 : the act or process of confirming, assuring, or upholding [seeking of the agreement] ;specif : the ratification of an executive act by a legislative body [senate of the Supreme Court nominee] 2 ...
  • Consumer Debt
    see debt
  • Consumer Debtor
    A debtor whose debts are primarily consumer debts.
  • Consumer Debts
    Debts incurred for personal (as opposed to business) needs.
  • Contested Matter
    Those matters, other than objections to claims, that are disputed but are not within the definition of an "adversary proceeding".
  • Contingent Claim
    A claim that may be owed by the debtor under certain circumstances, e.g., where the debtor is a cosigner on another person's loan and that person fails to pay.
  • Creditor
    : a person to whom a debt is owed ;esp : a person to whom money or goods are due compare debtor, obligor general creditor : a creditor who is not secured by a lien or other security interest ...
  • Creditors' Meeting
    see 341 meeting
  • Current Monthly Income
    The average monthly income received by the debtor over the six calendar months before commencement of the bankruptcy case, including regular contributions to household expenses from nondebtors and ...
  • Debt
    [Old French dette, ultimately from Latin debita, plural of debitum debt, from neuter of debitus, past participle of debere to owe] 1 : something owed: as a : a specific sum of money or a performance ...
  • Debtor
    : a person who owes a debt see also bankrupt compare creditor, obligee, obligor NOTE: The Bankruptcy Act of 1978 calls the person concerned in a bankruptcy case the “debtor” as opposed to ...
  • Debtor Education
    see credit counseling
  • Deductible
    : allowable as a deduction de·duc·ti·bil·i·ty [-dək-tə-bi-lə-tē] n
  • Defendant
    : the party against whom a criminal or civil action is brought see also answer, codefendant compare accused, plaintiff
  • Discharge
    1 : to release from an obligation: as a : to relieve of a duty under an instrument (as a contract or a negotiable instrument) ;also : to render (an instrument) no longer enforceable [a formal ...
  • Dischargeable Debt
    A debt for which the Bankruptcy Code allows the debtor's personal liability to be eliminated.
  • Disclosure Statement
    A written document prepared by a chapter 11 debtor or other plan proponent designed to provide "adequate information" to creditors to enable them to evaluate the chapter 11 plan of reorganization.
  • Drive-Other-Car Endorsement (Doc)
    Sometimes referred to only as an "other-car endorsement," this addition to the policy allows coverage to be added that will protect individuals named in the endorsement when they are driving cars not ...
  • Equity
    pl: -ties [Latin aequitat- aequitas fairness, justice, from aequus equal, fair] 1 a : justice according to fairness esp. as distinguished from mechanical application of rules [prompted by ...
  • Executory Contract Or Lease
    Generally includes contracts or leases under which both parties to the agreement have duties remaining to be performed. (If a contract or lease is executory, a debtor may assume it or reject it.)
  • Exemptions, Exempt Property
    Certain property owned by an individual debtor that the Bankruptcy Code or applicable state law permits the debtor to keep from unsecured creditors. For example, in some states the debtor may be able ...
  • Family Farmer Or Family Fisherman
    An individual, individual and spouse, corporation, or partnership engaged in a farming or fishing operation that meets certain debt limits and other statutory criteria for filing a bankruptcy petition ...
  • First-Party Coverage
    Compensation you receive under your own insurance policy as opposed to receiving payment from someone else's insurance policy, such as the person who caused an accident. Examples of first-party ...
  • Fraudulent Transfer
    A transfer of a debtor's property made with intent to defraud or for which the debtor receives less than the transferred property's value.
  • 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.)
  • Insider (Of A 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, ...
  • Insider (Of An 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 a corporation of which the debtor is a ...
  • Insolvent
    1 : having ceased paying or unable to pay debts as they fall due in the usual course of business compare bankrupt 2 : having liabilities in excess of a reasonable market value of assets held 3 : ...
  • Joint Administration
    A court-approved mechanism under which two or more cases can be administered together. (Assuming no conflicts of interest, these separate businesses or individuals can pool their resources, hire the ...
  • Joint Petition
    One bankruptcy petition filed by a husband and wife together.
  • Liability Insurance
    : insurance against loss resulting from civil liability for injury or damage to the persons or property of others see also comprehensive general liability insurance
  • Lien
    [Anglo-French, bond, obligation, literally, tie, band, from Old French, from Latin ligamen, from ligare to bind] : a charge or encumbrance upon property for the satisfaction of a debt or other duty ...
  • Liquidated Claim
    A creditor's claim for a fixed amount of money.
  • Loss
    1 : physical, emotional, or esp. economic harm or damage sustained: as a : decrease in value, capital, or amount compare gain b : an amount by which the cost of something (as goods or services) ...
  • Means Test
    Section 707(b)(2) of the Bankruptcy Code applies a "means test" to determine whether an individual debtor's chapter 7 filing is presumed to be an abuse of the Bankruptcy Code requiring dismissal or ...
  • Motion To Lift The Automatic Stay
    A request by a creditor to allow the creditor to take action against the debtor or the debtor's property that would otherwise be prohibited by the automatic stay.
  • Motor Vehicle Record (Mvr)
    The written record of a particular driver's accidents and traffic violations. An MVR may be reviewed when an insurance agent is giving a quote for automobile insurance rates: the more accidents and ...
  • No-Asset Case
    A chapter 7 case where there are no assets available to satisfy any portion of the creditors' unsecured claims.
  • No-Fault Protection
    Coverage available in many states which pays you, or those people covered under your policy, for medical expenses or injuries which occur as the result of an accident, regardless of who was at fault ...
  • Nondischargeable Debt
    A debt that cannot be eliminated in bankruptcy. Examples include a home mortgage, debts for alimony or child support, certain taxes, debts for most government funded or guaranteed educational loans or ...
  • Objection To Dischargeability
    A trustee's or creditor's objection to the debtor being released from personal liability for certain dischargeable debts. Common reasons include allegations that the debt to be discharged was incurred ...
  • Objection To Exemptions
    A trustee's or creditor's objection to the debtor's attempt to claim certain property as exempt from liquidation by the trustee to creditors.
  • Party In Interest
    see party
  • Personal Injury Protection (Pip)
    That part of an insurance policy, in many cases a no-fault policy, which provides protection against personal injury and related losses, as opposed to damage to your vehicle, up to a specific ...
  • Petition Preparer
    A business not authorized to practice law that prepares bankruptcy petitions.
  • Plaintiff
    [Middle French plaintif, from plaintif, adj., grieving, from plaint lamentation, from Latin planctus, from plangere to strike, beat one's breast, lament] : the party who institutes a legal action or ...
  • Plan
    1 : a diagram of an area of land (as a subdivision) filed in the registry of deeds see also plot plan 2 : a detailed program ;esp : one made under chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code that places ...
  • Postpetition Transfer
    A transfer of the debtor's property made after the commencement of the case.
  • Prebankruptcy Planning
    The arrangement (or rearrangement) of a debtor's property to allow the debtor to take maximum advantage of exemptions. (Prebankruptcy planning typically includes converting nonexempt assets into ...
  • Preference Or Preferential Debt Payment
    A debt payment made to a creditor in the 90
  • Premium
    1 : the difference between the face value or par value of a security and its market price when the latter is greater compare discount 2 : the price paid for an insurance contract equal to the cost ...
  • Presumption Of Abuse
    see means test
  • Priority
    pl: -ties : precedence in exercise of rights in the same subject matter [secured interests have over unsecured ones]
  • Priority Claim
    An unsecured claim that is entitled to be paid ahead of other unsecured claims that are not entitled to priority status. Priority refers to the order in which these unsecured claims are to be ...
  • Property Damage Liability
    Insurance that protects you, and pays on your behalf, for automobile-related damage that you cause to another persons' property. If offered jointly with bodily injury liability, as it often is, it may ...
  • Property Of The Estate
    All legal or equitable interests of the debtor in property as of the commencement of the case.
  • Reaffirmation Agreement
    An agreement by a chapter 7 debtor to continue paying a dischargeable debt (such as an auto loan) after the bankruptcy, usually for the purpose of keeping collateral (i.e. the car) that would ...
  • Reorganization
    1 : the act of reorganizing : the state of being reorganized 2 a : the rehabilitation of the finances of a business in accordance with a plan approved by a bankruptcy court under the provisions of ...
  • Secured Creditor
    see creditor
  • Secured Debt
    Debt backed by a mortgage, pledge of collateral, or other lien; debt for which the creditor has the right to pursue specific pledged property upon default. Examples include home mortgages, auto loans ...
  • Small Business Case
    A special type of chapter 11 case in which there is no creditors' committee (or the creditors' committee is deemed inactive by the court) and in which the debtor is subject to more oversight by the ...
  • 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.)
  • Statement Of Intention
    A declaration made by a chapter 7 debtor concerning plans for dealing with consumer debts that are secured by property of the estate.
  • Substantive Consolidation
    Putting the assets and liabilities of two or more related debtors into a single pool to pay creditors. (Courts are reluctant to allow substantive consolidation since the action must not only justify ...
  • Threshold
    : a point of beginning : a minimum requirement for further action ;specif : a determination (as of fact or the existence of a reasonable doubt) upon which something else (as further consideration ...
  • Transfer
    trans·ferred trans·fer·ring : to cause a transfer of trans·fer·abil·i·ty [trans-fər-ə-bi-lə-tē, trans-fər-] n trans·fer·able ...
  • Trustee
    1 : one to whom something is entrusted : one trusted to keep or administer something: as a : a member of a board entrusted with administering the funds and directing the policy of an institution or ...
  • Truth-In-Lending Act
    A federal act assuring that every individual who has need for consumer credit is given full disclosure of the terms and cost of the credit. (15 U.S.C. Sec. 1601)
  • U.S. 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' ...
  • Uim
    Shorthand for "underinsured motorist," or those fellow motorists whose automobile insurance maximum is insufficient to cover a specific loss. UIM pays you, or those people covered under your policy, ...
  • Um
    Shorthand for "uninsured motorist," or those motorists who do not have any automobile insurance. UM coverage protects insureds, up to the limit of their policies, against bodily injury losses caused ...
  • Undersecured Claim
    A debt secured by property that is worth less than the full amount of the debt.
  • Unliquidated Claim
    A claim for which a specific value has not been determined.
  • Unscheduled Debt
    A debt that should have been listed by the debtor in the schedules filed with the court but was not. (Depending on the circumstances, an unscheduled debt may or may not be discharged.)
  • Unsecured Claim
    A claim or debt for which a creditor holds no special assurance of payment, such as a mortgage or lien; a debt for which credit was extended based solely upon the creditor's assessment of the debtor's ...
  • Vin
    Shorthand for "vehicle identification number." Your VIN is also relevant to areas other than insurance, but may come up in the insurance field if there is a question as to the ownership of your car. A ...
  • Voluntary Transfer
    A transfer of a debtor's property with the debtor's consent.