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Useful Documents

Document Name Link to Document

Administration Order Application (N92)

Administration Order Application

Insolvency Act 1986 (pdf)

Insolvency Act 1986

IVA Required Documentation Checklist

IVA Required Documentation Checklist

Certificate of Satisfaction (N443)

Certificate of Satisfaction
Sample 'holding' Letter Sample Holding Letter
Sample 'Offer' Letter Sample Offer Letter
Sample ' No Offer' Letter Sample No Offer Letter
Sample 'Full & Final Settlement' Letter Sample Full & Final Settlement Letter
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Debt Management

Debt Management is an informal debt solution that allows you to repay your debts by means of affordable monthly repayments.

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Debt Consolidation

Debt Consolidation is when you reorganise your debts by obtaining a loan to pay off some or all of your other debts.

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Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a formal process where you declare your inability to pay your debts. It is usually seen as a last resort solution.

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Debt Relief Order

A Debt Relief Order is like a form of mini-bankruptcy, for people with low income and little or no assets.

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Bankruptcy Frequently asked questions

Find out everything you need to know about going Bankrupt by reading our Bankruptcy questions and answers below. If you have a question that isn't covered here, be sure to get in touch with us and we'll be happy to answer any queries you may have.

A court can declare you bankrupt after it has been presented with a bankruptcy petition either by yourself or a creditor.

You can file your own bankruptcy petition by filling out the online form at the government insolvency website or alternatively you can obtain one by visiting your local county court. Contact your county court first to make sure they have bankruptcy jurisdiction.

When the form has been filled out, you submit it and pay your Bankruptcy fee. The total fee is £680 which you can also pay online. If you pay online, it can be paid in instalments. You can also make your fee payment at a designated bank in cash, but full fee must be paid if you do this.

After the form and payment is submitted, you must wait for the Bankruptcy ORder to be accepted or rejected. This can take up to 28 days. If the adjudicator needs to contact you for more information, they will be allowed an additional 14 days before making their decision.

You can ask for a review if your application is rejected. If it is still rejected after this, you can appeal to the court.

If the application is accepted, your Bankruptcy Order is made and your finances and assets will fall under control of the Official Receiver, who will oversee the administration of your Bankruptcy. You must co-operate fully with your Official Receiver.

Provided there are no issues, you will be discharged from your bankruptcy after 1 year.

The two solutions are both forms of Insolvency but they are also quite different. Below are their similarities and differences.

Similarities of Bankruptcy and IVAs

  • You are protected from your creditors involved in the solution. They aren't allowed to contact you.
  • Your credit file is affected for 6 years.
  • Your name is entered on the Insolvency Register.
  • Remaining balance of debt is written off on completion.

Differences between Bankruptcy and IVAs

  • You aren't forced to sell your home in an IVA, but if you have equity you may be asked to remortgage (if possible). If you can't remortgage, your IVA could be extended for up to a year.
  • In Bankruptcy, if you own a property with equity, it is very likely that you will have to sell your home. You may be able to keep your property if there is no equity in it.
  • You are able to keep your car in an IVA, providing it is a moderatrely priced make and model.
  • You will have to sell your vehicle in Bankruptcy, unless it is necessary for work and it is of low value.

Bankruptcy usually lasts for a year. If you are subject to an income payments order, you could be making payments for up to 3 years. The length of time your bankruptcy lasts largely depends on you. If you co-operate with your IP or Official Receiver you will most likely be discharged from your bankruptcy in a year, regardless of how much you owe.

Should you fail to co-operate, your bankruptcy may well last a lot longer than a year. In some cases the term can be shorter than a year, but this is rare.

Bankruptcy does have a major effect on you and your situation. When bankrupt, the official receiver or appointed trustee can decide to sell your assets to pay your creditors. There are however exceptions to what they are allowed to sell such as work equipment (tools, vehicles or anything required to work) and essential household items needed by either you or your family such as clothes, bedding, furniture and more.

An Official Receiver will look at your earnings and take into account your personal expenses and decide if it is prudent for you to pay money to your creditors. This payment can be in the form of fixed monthly payments and can last for three years.

If you object to this agreement, the official receiver has the right to get a court order to force you to make these payments for a minimum of three years. These payments can be reviewed by your request should your situation change in any way.

You will still be liable to pay any new debts you may generate after going bankrupt and any ongoing commitments and payments such as rental or other household bills.

There are two types of bankruptcy:

  • Voluntary Bankruptcy - Where you declare yourself bankrupt
  • Involuntary Bankruptcy - Where a creditor tries to make you bankrupt

Before declaring yourself bankrupt, it is important make sure that you have looked into other options that may be available to you such as debt consolidation loans, IVAs, informal agreements, administration orders and other debt management plans. Often one of these solutions can prevent bankruptcy and provide the same level of financial help you require.

It is a common misconception that the bailiffs will turn up the day after declaring yourself bankrupt and seize your TV and other possessions. This is not true and bankruptcy is designed to prevent exactly that. Your non-essential assets and excess income would be used to pay your creditors. Your house is considered a non-essential asset so that would be used.

  • Your unaffordable debts are dealt and written off where applicable.
  • The stress of having to deal with your unaffordable debts is lifted.
  • It allows for a fresh start after as little as one year.
  • Everything is dealt with by your administrator / official receiver.
  • It is legally binding for both you and your creditors. Creditors will no longer be able to pursue you for the debt.
  • You may be able to keep your home, provided if your spouse, partner or a relative can buy your share of it’s value after any debts secured on the property have been paid.
  • Your Bankruptcy is placed on a public register and advertised.
  • There are large fees associated with Bankruptcy which you will have to pay if you apply for your own Bankruptcy.
  • You will still remain liable for certain debts – student loans and fines for example.
  • You will lose certain assets of value.
  • Your home could be sold if there is equity in it.
  • Your employment could be affected.
  • If you are a business owner, your business could be affected.
  • Certain professionals could be barred from practising if made bankrupt.

The following list outlines the main bankruptcy obligations:

  • You must divulge to the official receiver, all records of assets, income, expenditure and a list of the people or companies you owe money to.
  • Take proper care of all your assets and hand them over to the Official Receiver with the relevant documentation for them such as insurance certificates, receipts and proof of purchase paperwork.
  • You must also work closely with your Insolvency Practitioner or Receiver, informing them of any changes in your financial situation. Pay raises, pay cuts, inheritance, new assets or anything that affects your financial situation must be immediately declared.
  • You must cease using credit cards and bank or building society accounts with immediate effect. Failure to do so will put you in breach of your bankruptcy agreement. You are also not allowed to borrow over £500 without telling the creditor that you are officially bankrupt.
  • You must not make payments directly to your creditors now that you are bankrupt. All your payments must go through your trustee or Insolvency Practitioner. There are a couple of exceptions to this such as child maintenance payments and any mortgage arrears you may have accrued. This is for your own protection as much as for the protection of your creditors.
  • In some cases, you may have to attend county court and give a formal explanation of the circumstances surrounding your debt, and your failure to pay back your creditors.

Making yourself bankrupt in England if you live abroad

If you live in an EU member state, except Denmark, then you will able to declare yourself bankrupt in the country where your main interests are based. If this is the UK then you can apply for bankruptcy there in person at an English or Welsh Court. However, you can only do this within the first three years’ after you have moved abroad. When declaring yourself bankrupt you must present your petition in person or via a solicitor. Should you ask someone to act on your behalf then you will most likely need to grant them power of attorney.

It is possible that your bankruptcy may not be fully recognised in the country that you are now living in and your creditors may still be able to take action against.

Will bankruptcy affect my assets abroad?

A bankruptcy order will affect your assets abroad, but this will all depend upon where they are and if you have at some point had a business in another EU state. If you have any assets in Denmark or non EU countries then these will be part of your bankruptcy estate in the UK.

Do debts owed to foreign creditors fall into my bankruptcy?

Any creditors that you have, no matter where they are, will be able to claim in your UK bankruptcy. A foreign creditor will not be prevented from recovering debts against you in their own country.

Does a foreign bankruptcy order have any effect in England and Wales?

The effect of a foreign bankruptcy order will depend upon the country in which you are experiencing bankruptcy proceedings. If your centre of main interests is in another member of the EU, but not Denmark, then the trustee will have authority to deal with all assets within the EU. With regards to any bankruptcy restrictions, these are dependent upon foreign legislation that governs the bankruptcy.

It is worth noting that any debts that you have in the UK will remain on your credit reference file for six years after the last activity on the account. Any bankruptcy orders will also be on your file for six years or sometimes longer.

Sequestration

Sequestration is the Scottish legal equivalent of Bankruptcy and is a way of dealing with debts that you cannot pay. It will take on average around 2-3 months to arrange and set up. The Accountant in Bankruptcy is in charge of handling this kind of bankruptcy in Scotland.

How do sequestrations work?

Initially a petition will be given to the Court and a Trustee appointed. The Trustee may also ask for contributions to be made from your income. The petition can be made by a creditor if they are owed more than £1,500 or by Trustee if the debtor has previously failed on a Trust Deed.

If you wish to apply for Self-Sequestration then you need to owe more than £1,500 and have been served a Charge for Payment or an Earnings Arrestment. If this is not the case then you need to ask for authorization from one or all of your creditors so that you can make an application.

Pros of Sequestration

By taking out a sequestration your creditors cannot take any further action and this will remove any pressure you have been under. You will also only be requested to make one repayment with no further payments needed. It is common for you to finish the Sequestration after 3 years and by this time all your debts will be written-off.

Cons of Sequestration

When you are in a sequestration you will find that your valuable items will likely by sold and if you own your home you will may be forced to sell.

Should you work and receive a regular income then you may have to make contributions into the Sequestration. Similarly any windfalls received before you finish the sequestration will have to be paid in as well.You will also find that certain jobs are no longer available to you such as director of a limited company or an MP. You will also have to face the discomfort of your sequestration being reported in the local press. After you have been discharged from your sequestration you will have a note on your credit file for 6 years.

What other options are available?

Sequestration is often considered to be the last option so you may wish to see about Debt Management, Debt Consolidation loans, or a Protected Trust Deeds as an alternative.

It is very important that any advice you get is fully independent. Especially online, there are many websites that try to steer you in one direction or another according to how much money they make from your circumstances.

We recommend the Citizens Advice Bureau (see a list of CABs local to you). They provide free and unbiased advice on legal, financial and other problems you may have.

We also recommend The National Debt Line (0808 8084 000) between 9:00am and 9:00pm Monday to Friday and 9:30am to 1:30pm on Saturdays.

You can also use our contact form to receive more bankruptcy information. All calls are strictly confidential and you are eligible if you live in England, Scotland, or Wales.

Lastly we recommend Stepchange. You can write to them to receive free impartial advice or phone them (0800 1381 111) between 8:00am and 8:00pm Monday to Friday.

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