Ready to say goodbye to student loan debt for good? Learn More

What To Do If You Don’t Remember Everyone You Owe Money?

4 minute read Upsolve is a nonprofit that helps you get out of debt with education and free debt relief tools, like our bankruptcy filing tool. Think TurboTax for bankruptcy. Get free education, customer support, and community. Featured in Forbes 4x and funded by institutions like Harvard University so we'll never ask you for a credit card.  Explore our free tool

In a Nutshell

If you're overwhelmed by debt collectors and collection agencies calling you to collect a debt, it can seem as though you'll never be able to remember who they all are. But, it's important to give the bankruptcy court a list of all of your creditors, so here are some steps you can take to make sure you didn't miss anyone.

Written by Jonathan Petts
Updated November 21, 2020

Once you’ve decided that you should file for bankruptcy, you have to start collecting the right information. On your bankruptcy forms, you’re asked to list the names and addresses of every person and business you owe money. 

It can be easy to drop out of the bankruptcy process during this step, as it can be hard to know everyone you owe money, especially if your debts have gone to collections and maybe even sold to a debt collector

How can you make sure this challenge doesn’t stop you from a successful bankruptcy?

First, remember that the most important information you need is the creditor’s name and their mailing address. You can estimate the amount you owe them. You don’t have to worry about making sure the amounts are correct down to the last penny. That would be impossible anyway, as interest and penalties get added just about every day…

Your Credit Report

For one, almost all of your credit card debts, secured debts, and some other types of debts will be listed on your credit report. Your credit report has all the information about each creditor that you owe, so you rarely have to go out looking for your credit card bills to find the information you need for your bankruptcy forms. 

For older debts that are in default, credit card companies sometimes sell the debt to debt collection agencies. These agencies generally also show up on your credit reports even though you never directly borrowed money from. 

Most lawyers order your credit reports for you and list the debts from your credit report on your bankruptcy forms. You can request a free copy of your credit report from each one of the three credit bureaus once per year. 

Some debts are not reported to the credit bureaus right away (or at all) and so they won’t show up on your credit report. Here are some additional things to look for when preparing a list of your debts for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy. 

Your Medical Bills

Medical bills are not guaranteed to show up on your credit report. To find out the hospitals or doctors you owe, your best bet is to look through any old bills that you may have. Many people keep boxes of old bills, and we know it can be intimidating to look through them. Finding the names of hospitals or other medical providers to make sure you’re able to eliminate them as part of your bankruptcy is likely worth that initial anxiety.

If you can’t find physical copies of the bills you owe, do your best to remember the name of the hospital or doctor, look up their address online on Google Maps, and estimate how much you owe. If you’re not sure if you owe anything at all, give them a call to find out the details. You don’t have to tell them that you’re going to file for bankruptcy - just that you’re looking to find out if you owe a balance, and if so, what the details are. 

Person with crutches calling hospital to speak to billing department.

Your Judgments

The three major credit bureaus recently removed many civil judgments from credit reports. So, for your judgments, you should first try looking through any documents you have at home similar to what you did for your medical bills. 

If that is unsuccessful, try contacting the court that handled the lawsuit to get more information about who sued you and the details of the case.. Courts also have online databases. You should be able to look up your name to figure out who sued you. Keep in mind that court websites are often tough to navigate, so don’t feel discouraged if you do not get it right away or you need to contact the court to get the information you need. 

Most of the time a law firm will represent the opposite party suing you, so if you’re able to find out their information you can contact them to ask for the creditor’s information. Make sure you also list the law firm that filed the suit though as another creditor for the same debt.

What about money that you owe friends and family?

First, make sure that you do not leave the names of the friends and family you owe off of your bankruptcy forms. You must include them, even if they haven’t told you that you need to pay them back or if they told you that they don’t want to be listed on your bankruptcy.

The law requires you to list everyone you owe to the best of your knowledge. You can’t choose who you want to leave off your forms.

You can pay back whoever you want after your bankruptcy, including friends and family. Bankruptcy just helps you erase your debts that are permitted to be erased under the Bankruptcy Code, meaning that you don’t have to pay back these debts if you don’t want to, but you still can if you do want.

Our second tip on money you owe friends and family is to use Google Maps to find their address if you are too embarrassed to ask. It’s always better to ask your friends and family that you owe for their address directly, just in case they moved, but Google Maps can help you locate someone’s exact address if you know the general area or landmarks. Just like with medical debts you owe, do not stress too much about remembering the exact amount you owe. Do your best to estimate it.

Upsolve Member Experiences

2,000+ Members Online
Cathy Priester
Cathy Priester
★★★★★ 2 hours ago
The Upsolve platform is amazing. I am so incredibly thankful to the attorneys, developers, and all those who took the time to serve those who traditionally may not be able to afford the expensive fees associated with legal processes. The hardest part was just the commitment to follow through, with this is mind the platform provides encouragement, thorough guidance and education throughout the process from start to finish. I highly recommend this service if you are looking for a fresh start. To everyone at Upsolve thank you so much!
Read more Google reviews ⇾
Lillian F.
Lillian F
★★★★★ 2 hours ago
Love using this site ! Filed quickly
Read more Google reviews ⇾
Tonii Del Rey
Tonii Del Rey
★★★★★ 1 day ago
It was an easy process. Glad I learned about them and decided to get the help from upsolve. Thank you
Read more Google reviews ⇾


In most states, if you don’t have assets that can be seized by creditors, it’s not the end of the world if you forget to list a debt on your bankruptcy forms if you want that debt to be erased.

You just need to do your best to list your debts and make a good faith effort. So, don’t worry too much about the creditors you don’t know about and focus on what you do know and what steps you can take to get the information you need. As mentioned before, the most important part are your creditors’ names and addresses. 

Written By:

Jonathan Petts


Jonathan Petts has over 10 years of experience in bankruptcy and is co-founder and CEO of Upsolve. Attorney Petts has an LLM in Bankruptcy from St. John's University, clerked for two federal bankruptcy judges, and worked at two top New York City law firms specializing in bankrupt... read more about Jonathan Petts

It's easy to get debt help

Choose one of the options below to get assistance with your debt:

Considering Bankruptcy?

Our free tool has helped 14,167+ families file bankruptcy on their own. We're funded by Harvard University and will never ask you for a credit card or payment.

Explore Free Tool
14,167 families have filed with Upsolve! ☆

Private Attorney

Get a free evaluation from an independent law firm.

Find Attorney

Learning Center

Research and understand your options with our articles and guides.

Go to Learning Center →

Already an Upsolve user?

Read Support Articles →

Upsolve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that started in 2016. Our mission is to help low-income families resolve their debt and fix their credit using free software tools. Our team includes debt experts and engineers who care deeply about making the financial system accessible to everyone. We have world-class funders that include the U.S. government, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and leading foundations.

To learn more, read why we started Upsolve in 2016, our reviews from past users, and our press coverage from places like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.