Bankruptcy explained

If you owe a creditor £5,000 or more, they could obtain a bankruptcy order against you if you fail to pay them when they demand payment.

You could also apply to Court to have a bankruptcy order made if you wish to declare yourself bankrupt.  If you do require assistance in making yourself bankrupt, we can help.  We will ensure that bankruptcy is the correct route for you and we will point you in the right direction.

There are some professionals who will have consequences to face if they are made bankrupt.  If you are one of the following and are considering bankruptcy, please take advice immediately:-

  •  Solicitors and Barristers
  •  Accountants
  •  Company Directors
  •  Police Offices
  •  Judges
  •  MP’s

How does it work?

When a bankruptcy order is made, the Official Receiver (or Trustee) will be appointed and will contact you in order to obtain information about your finances.  This will include your assets and liabilities and your income and expenditure.  They will normally ask you to attend a meeting and take any paperwork you have with you to help them to establish your financial position.

Once you are bankrupt, your assets will be sold, but you may be allowed to keep the following:-

  •  Ordinary household contents
  •  A modest motor vehicle – do not expect to keep your Rolls Royce if you have one!
  •  Tools of the Trade – things necessary for your trade or profession
  •  Your pension (there are exceptions for large pension funds)

If you have a house, the Trustee will have three years to deal with this and will prefer to work with you on this.  Solutions may be for a sale of the property, a sale of the bankrupt’s share of the equity to a joint owner, or if there is very little or no equity, it may be appropriate to do nothing.  It is unlikely that a Trustee will force the sale of your residential property in the first 12 months if there are people living in it.

If you have surplus income, your Trustee would expect you to pay this to him for the benefit of the bankruptcy estate.  You may be ordered by the Court to do this if you do not co-operate.  This will be for three years.

If you have any windfalls, such as inheritance, bonuses from work or a lottery win, you would also be expected to make this available for your creditors.

The Trustee has a duty to look into your financial affairs to determine whether there has been any actions you have taken which would be to the detriment of creditors – such as gifting a property to a loved one.

A bankruptcy will normally last for one year.

How can you get out of a bankruptcy?

You could propose an IVA if this is appropriate.  Once this is accepted you could annul your bankruptcy, but if the IVA then failed, you would be made bankrupt again.

If you have sufficient funds to pay your creditors (all of them) and all of the costs associated with the bankruptcy, then you could apply for an annulment.  Once your bankruptcy is annulled, the record is wiped clean as though it never happened.  We can assist you with this.

If you are considering bankruptcy, considering an IVA from bankruptcy or have personal finance issues and just don’t know what way to turn, please contact us for free, confidential advice with no obligation on 01302 965485 or fill in one of our forms and we’ll get back to you.