Bankruptcy | December 2023

Bankruptcy becomes a realistic option for many when payments exceed a financial burden, and debts grow out of control. 

Although the word “bankruptcy” may conjure up images of doom and finality, it is a legal tool intended to assist people and businesses in managing their enormous debt loads.

Table of Contents

Understanding the Concept of Bankruptcy

The simplest definition of bankruptcy is the legal situation in which a person or business cannot pay its debts. It frequently begins with the debtor’s bankruptcy filing, who owes money. 

The people or organisations who owe money to you, known as creditors, may occasionally push for bankruptcy. A bankruptcy petition starts the process. This document describes the debtor’s financial situation and all their debts and assets. 

It is decided how insolvent the debtor is during these bankruptcy proceedings. Debt relief and bankruptcy both have overlapping concepts. It’s a way for people or companies mired in debt to escape. It’s a process to enter into with seriousness, though. 

Declaring bankruptcy should only be considered after exhausting all other options because it carries serious repercussions, including damaging your credit report. Unsecured debt is frequently connected with bankruptcy. 

These debts, like credit card debt and personal loans, are not secured by an asset. These unsecured debts are frequently the subject of bankruptcy proceedings when a debtor files for bankruptcy. It’s crucial to remember that not all debts can be discharged in bankruptcy.

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Types of Bankruptcy in the UK

There are several different types of bankruptcy in the UK. There is a standard bankruptcy procedure for private parties. Declaring your inability to pay your debts and filing for bankruptcy with the court are necessary steps in this process. 

The court then chooses the official receiver for the bankruptcy estate. They are typically from the insolvency service. On the other hand, corporate bankruptcy addresses the needs of companies that cannot pay their debts. 

These proceedings involve numerous legal and financial procedures and are more complicated than individual bankruptcies. The goal is to either restructure the company so it can keep running or sell off its assets to pay off creditors.

Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) are an additional debt relief method in the UK. This entails formally committing to repaying your debts over a specific time frame with your creditors. An IVA has the advantage of giving you more control over your assets than bankruptcy does.

A Debt Relief Order (DRO) is another option under UK law. This is a type of debt relief for people with low incomes, few assets, and debt that is less than a certain amount. 

It may be a better option for those with few assets and little debt than bankruptcy because it is less expensive.

The Legal Process of Declaring Bankruptcy

The debtor must file a bankruptcy petition to begin the legal process of declaring bankruptcy. The bankruptcy proceedings are started when this document is delivered to the bankruptcy court. If the petition is approved, the court will issue a bankruptcy order after reviewing it.

The debtor’s bankruptcy period officially begins when the bankruptcy order is issued. The bankruptcy trustee manages the debtor’s assets during this period. To pay off the creditors, the trustee sells the debtor’s assets.

The debtor is subject to bankruptcy restrictions during the bankruptcy process. These regulations set restrictions on the debtor’s financial activities. 

For instance, a bankrupt person can only operate a business or borrow money if they inform the people they do business with about their bankruptcy. The debtor’s information is added to the insolvency register as part of the bankruptcy procedure. 

This is a list of insolvencies in the UK, including bankruptcies, DROs, and IVAs. The information about the debtor is removed from the register three months after the bankruptcy is discharged, but it is still available during the bankruptcy period.


Impact of Bankruptcy on Credit Score

Your credit report will be significantly impacted by bankruptcy. Even if you are discharged from bankruptcy before this period, the fact that you filed for bankruptcy is noted on your credit report and stays there for six years. 

Future credit applications may become more difficult as a result. Your bank accounts might be closed during bankruptcy, and you might have to open a straightforward bank account. These accounts let you manage your money and pay your bills but do not provide overdrafts or credit. 

However, not all banks provide these accounts to bankrupt individuals. The restrictions are lifted after the bankruptcy is discharged, but the adverse effects on your credit score endure. It might be difficult for you to obtain credit, and the interest rates might be higher if you do. 

By making all of your payments on time and refraining from taking on more debt than you can handle, you can start to rebuild your credit history.

"The simplest definition of bankruptcy is the legal situation in which a person or business cannot pay its debts."

Debt Management after Bankruptcy

Financial responsibility does not end when someone declares bankruptcy. A new stage of debt management has begun. If the court determines you can afford it after filing for bankruptcy, you must pay your debts out of your income. 

Even after the bankruptcy order expires, these payments may continue for long. It’s a common misconception that declaring bankruptcy eliminates all of your debts. This is not true. 

You will still be responsible for paying some debts not covered by the bankruptcy order, such as past-due child support and child maintenance obligations. Additionally, secured debts such as a mortgage are excluded from bankruptcy. 

The creditor may take legal action to recoup their losses if the debt is secured. They can take your house back if you don’t make your payments.

Only exempt property is safeguarded in bankruptcy in terms of assets. Typically, this includes furniture, tools for your trade and cars up to a specific value. Your creditors may be paid back using any additional purchases.

Understanding the Concept of Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy and Employment Opportunities

Your employment prospects could be impacted by bankruptcy. Some professions forbid the practice of those who have been declared bankrupt. These frequently consist of financial and legal positions and some public offices. 

If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, it’s critical to review the conditions of your employment contract or contact a professional organisation. Even if bankruptcy is not a bar to employment in your line of work, prospective employers might. 

It might be interpreted as evidence of fiscal irresponsibility, which could hurt your chances of landing a job.

Employers aren’t alerted to your bankruptcy automatically, though, which is something to keep in mind. A prospective employer will learn about your default if you apply for a job that requires one.

Life after Bankruptcy Discharge

Your bankruptcy is discharged once the bankruptcy period has passed. You are now free of the debts listed in your bankruptcy. The default, however, continues to appear on your credit report for six years following the order date.

After filing for bankruptcy, getting back on your feet can be difficult but not impossible. It’s crucial to manage your finances and stay out of debt carefully. This could entail budgeting, keeping tabs on your spending, and setting up an emergency fund.

After filing for bankruptcy, your credit score will be low, but you can start to rebuild it. You might begin by making modest purchases on a credit-building credit card and paying the balance in full each month. This can raise your credit score over time.

Avoiding Bankruptcy: Alternative Options

The last option should be bankruptcy. There are alternatives to bankruptcy that you should consider if you’re having financial difficulties. These consist of DROs, IVAs, and debt management plans.

A debt management plan is a commitment to pay back your debts made by you and your creditors. A credit counselling organisation receives regular payments from you and then pays your creditors. 

This can help you manage your debt better and lessen the stress of dealing with several creditors.

Other forms of insolvency in the UK include IVAs and DROs. In a formal agreement known as an IVA, you and your creditors agree to make periodic payments to settle some of your debts. 

If you have little in the way of assets and a low income, a DRO is a way to have your debts forgiven. It’s crucial to get free counsel before choosing bankruptcy. 

Many charities and organisations in the UK can help you comprehend your options and choose the best course of action for your circumstances.

Bankruptcy Filings and Outstanding Debts

A person or business may file for bankruptcy if they cannot pay their debts. Filling out several legal forms is required for bankruptcy filings, frequently with the assistance of an insolvency practitioner. 

These records give information about the debtor’s finances, including any unpaid debts to one or more creditors. All facets of a person’s financial life are impacted by bankruptcy. 

When you are declared bankrupt, it affects both your present financial situation and your ability to borrow money in the future. It’s important to remember that not all debts are covered by bankruptcy. Only debts incurred while the bankruptcy order was in effect may be included.

The Role of Credit Reference Agencies and Insolvency Practitioners

Credit reference companies are essential in the bankruptcy process. They keep records of your credit history, such as petitions for bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings. Lenders consider this data when determining whether to extend you a loan.

Professionals with the necessary authorisation to handle bankruptcy cases are known as insolvency practitioners. They can assist you with online bankruptcy applications through the Chancery Division of the High Court

These professionals assist you in navigating the complex legal processes as they guide you through bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Code and Legal Proceedings

A set of laws called the bankruptcy code describes how insolvency cases are handled. It lays out the obligations and rights of each party, including the debtor, the creditors, and the bankruptcy trustee. 

These rules vary depending on the nation. For instance, the bankruptcy code used by US courts differs from that used by UK courts.

The debtor’s petition is the first step in the bankruptcy legal process. The petition is the same whether it is submitted by the debtor or by petitioning creditors. It is submitted to the court with supporting records, such as a statement of affairs and proof of debts.

How Bankruptcy Affects Individuals and Businesses

Both individuals and businesses are impacted differently by bankruptcy. For people, it may result in the loss of personal assets and a significant drop in their credit score. Insolvency for a business may result in restructuring or, in some cases, total closure.

When someone is constrained by bankruptcy, it might be hard for them to increase the equity in their home or get personal loans approved. This is because default and the risk it poses to lenders have raised public concern. 

Despite this, many people declare bankruptcy to start over fresh and debt-free.

Avoiding Bankruptcy

Although bankruptcy may be able to relieve severe debt, it’s not the only option. There are additional ways to control debt and stay out of bankruptcy. 

Alternative options, such as Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) or Debt Relief Orders (DROs), can be discussed with an insolvency practitioner. Different debts call for various remedies. 

For instance, a debt consolidation loan could combine two or more debts into a single, manageable monthly payment. Negotiating with creditors may result in lower prices or interest rates in other situations.

Recall that getting advice is essential. Many charities and organisations provide free advice to those with financial difficulties. They can assist you in weighing your options and making the choice that is best for your particular situation.

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Meet the author

Jane Parkinson

Jane Parkinson

Jane is one of our primary content writers and specialises in elder care. She has a degree in English language and literature from Manchester University and has been writing and reviewing products for a number of years.

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