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U.S. Bankruptcy Court Unclaimed Funds - Cash Distributions to Creditors

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Modern bankruptcy legislation arose out of the Great Depression, with passage of the Bankruptcy Acts of 1933 and 1934. The Bankruptcy Reform Acts of 1978 and 1994 made it easier for both businesses and individuals to file, and record numbers did. New rules for filing personal bankruptcy became effective in 2005 with passage of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA).

Under Chapter 7 of the US Federal Bankruptcy Code, a trustee is appointed to liquidate assets. The money received is used to pay off creditors and investors, if the filer is a corporation. Administrative and legal expenses are paid first. The bankruptcy code determines who will be paid next. Secured creditors - those with collateral, have priority, followed by unsecured creditors and lastly stockholders.

A number of large, publicly traded companies have filed recently filed for bankruptcy protection, including General Motors, Chrysler, Washington Mutual (WaMu), Lehman Brothers, IndyMac, Enron, Tyco and Adelphia. There were 1.6 million personal bankruptcies in 2010, up sharply from previous years due to the poor economy.

As a result, federal bankruptcy courts are now holding a substantial amount of unclaimed money consisting of hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid distributions to creditors. Because these funds come under the purview of the federal court system, they will not be included in any state unclaimed property database.

For assistance tracing unclaimed bankruptcy funds go to: Bankruptcy Court Unclaimed Funds Search
 

Special Note: Bankruptcy Trustees often don't make much of an effort to locate missing creditors, particularly those that reside in another state. If a trustee is unable to deliver funds from a bankruptcy proceeding, the money reverts to the U.S. Treasury. There may be a time bar on claims, so prompt action should be taken.

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