Business bankruptcies are often lengthy, complicated procedures that can take years to settle. If you are a creditor in a bankruptcy, don't assume you'll never see your money; stay in touch with the bankruptcy trustee until the final distribution is made.
This is especially important if you move. "It's your responsibility to make sure the court has a current address," says Wanda Borges, a New Hyde Park, New York, attorney and member of the Commercial Law League of America, a creditors' rights organization.
The payoff could be substantial. "Every once in a while a trustee will find hidden assets," Borges says. "It could be two years later, and suddenly a zero-asset case will yield a 45-cent [on the dollar] distribution." If creditors can't be found, the funds are simply deposited into the U.S. Treasury as unclaimed.
To notify the trustee of a change in your address, simply send a letter to the trustee and the appropriate court's clerk, and ask for an acknowledgment. It then becomes the trustee's responsibility to see that you get your share when the bankruptcy is settled.