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Basic Bankruptcy Terminology

Learn about fundamental bankruptcy concepts and terminology, including the various entities who participate in bankruptcy cases, along with claims, debts, liens, insolvency, and more.


Bankruptcy is a highly technical discipline boasting its own peculiar jargon. There are many terms of art with sometimes strange and unintuitive meanings. For the student, it's crucial to become conversant with bankruptcy's distinct vocabulary.

I. Debtor

Let's start with the term debtor. Put simply, if a bankruptcy case is commenced concerning a person or municipality, then that person or municipality is a debtor. A person is an individual, corporation, or partnership. Generally, there are...