Solution - Bankruptcy
What is Bankruptcy?
- Bankruptcy is normally seen as a last resort after all other options for repaying debt have been exhausted. If you are declared bankrupt, you will no longer have to repay your creditors yourself and the court will protect you from any further legal action from your creditors.
- However there are consequences which may mean that an alternative solution should be considered, depending on your situation. It is important to understand how a Bankruptcy would effect you before proceeding.
- This solution is available to people living in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. If you live in Scotland you may be able to apply for Sequestration which is a similar solution, but it's important to note that it has different benefits, risks and fees associated with it.
- The responsibility for paying your debts is taken away from you by the Court, so you will no longer deal with your creditors.
- Once you have completed your bankruptcy (usually 12 months) any remaining debt you have will be written off. There are some exceptions - see the Disadvantages section.
- Any monthly payments you are asked to make are affordable and help you keep to a budget. Interest and charges are frozen.
- You will normally be able to keep reasonable personal items and household goods.
- Stress relief - Your creditors will no longer contact you by phone or letter.
- Any assets you have can be sold to generate money for your creditors. This includes your home, other properties, your car and anything else of significant value.
- You may have to make monthly payments towards your debt for 3 years.
- The record of your bankruptcy remains on your credit file for 6 years.
- Your Bankruptcy will be recorded on the insolvency register which is a publically accessible list online.
- Being declared Bankrupt has an effect on certain professions. Not only could this effect your current job, but it could also prevent you from entering certain professions in future.
- Some debts will not be written off by Bankruptcy such as student loans, debts due to fraud, child maintenance arrears, tax credit overpayments and secured debts.
When you declare bankruptcy, you will have to pay a fee of £680 (£550 to the Official Receiver and £130 application fee).
If you feel that it is very unlikely that you will ever be able to save up the court fee, please note that fees for Bankruptcy can be paid in instalments from as little as £5, however the application will not be submitted until all instalments are made and the required fee has been paid in full. You may also wish to consider option called a Debt Relief Order (DRO) for people with lower debts and lower disposable income. You can read about this in our 'Other Options' section.
There are companies that can provide an assist service for bankruptcy giving you comprehensive advice and support both before and after your bankruptcy as well as completing your application for you. There may be a fee for this which varies but is approximately £350 for a single application or £600 for a couple. This fee covers the completing of your application and support in the preparation for the Official Receiver's meeting, which will happen after you are declared Bankrupt. You can complete the bankruptcy online yourself, but if you are struggling with this then seeking advice from an authorised solution provider is suggested. With your permission IVA.com Group can refer you to companies that can provide bankruptcy assist services.
Important considerations for debtors considering a debt solution:
- Fees may be charged but these will be fully explained before any agreement is made to proceed.
- Stopping payments to creditors may create further arrears.
- It is likely that the ability to get credit will be affected.
- In compliance with Distance Selling Regulations there is a 14 day cooling off period in which a plan can be cancelled.
- Not all solutions involve debt write off
- Assets and property could be at risk with some solutions.
- Conditions apply and each application will be subject to acceptance and eligibility.
Bankruptcy Step by Step Guide
You give permission to be contacted by an authorised debt solutions provider as you wish to find out if you can apply for a Bankruptcy.
We gather some basic information from you including personal details, details of your creditors and your income and expenditures. This will be forwarded to the debt solutions provider so they can contact you and provide you with regulated debt advice.
The debt solutions provider will then call you and explain fully all of the options you have available including the Bankruptcy. They will also check through the supporting paperwork you provide proving your situation; this would include documents for proof of income, bank statements and proof of identity.
The debt solutions provider will complete the online application on your behalf. You will need to review the application, verify your identity and pay the bankruptcy fee of £655 to the insolvency service. When this is done, the application can be submitted to the adjudicator. It is possible for you to complete the application form online yourself.
Once you have been declared Bankrupt by the Adjudicator, you will then have to meet with the Official Receiver (OR). The OR will study your application forms in more detail. Based on this information, they are responsible for deciding decide how your Bankruptcy will be dealt with:
The Official Receiver will decide the following things:
- How long the bankruptcy will last. This will normally be 12 months although the OR has discretion to shorten or lengthen this.
- If you can afford to make a monthly payment towards your debt and if so how much (this is known as an Income Payment Order which will normally last 36 months).
- If you have any assets or property, how these will be treated. I.e. if and when they will be sold to realise the asset value for the creditors.
Step 6 - If you own a property
If you declare bankruptcy and are a homeowner, the title and ownership to your property and your share of any equity in it will pass to the Official Receiver. If your share of the equity in your property is significant the OR will want to realise this either through the sale of the property or the receipt of equivalent funds from a third party.
If you have little or no equity in your property, your home will be valued again in 2 years and 3 months and any equity will be dealt with then. If there is no equity at that point then the property will revert back to you. The OR will have up to 3 years to deal with this.