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If you're struggling with unmanageable debt and wondering whether bankruptcy is the best way out, it's important not to make any major decisions without getting professional bankruptcy advice.
Bankruptcy may be 'the last resort' - but it can also be the best way forward. For many people, it's the only realistic way of ever putting their debts behind them and moving on with their lives.
Here, we've provided answers to a few of the most common questions, but bear in mind that this is no substitute for one-to-one bankruptcy advice from an expert.
What will happen if I declare myself bankrupt?
Basically, you'll acknowledge that you can't repay your debts. Everything valuable that you own may have to be sold so you can repay your creditors as much as possible, and once the process is finished you'll be legally debt-free.
You could be discharged from bankruptcy within a year, although you may end up making payments to your bankruptcy for three years in total.
Who will be involved?
There's the Official Receiver, an officer of the court who is responsible for administering your bankruptcy and protecting your assets once a bankruptcy order has been made. It's their job to look into your financial affairs both before and during your bankruptcy, so they can confirm to the court that:
- your financial situation isn't connected with any criminal offence,
- your behaviour hasn't been dishonest, and
- you're not to blame for your bankruptcy.
An Official Receiver is involved in every bankruptcy. Some bankruptcies will also involve an Insolvency Practitioner, who may be appointed as 'trustee' of your 'bankruptcy estate' instead of an Official Receiver. Insolvency Practitioners specialise in insolvency work and are qualified to provide bankruptcy advice.
Who else will be informed?
- If you are declared bankrupt, your Official Receiver will contact every creditor listed on the petition, as well as your landlord / mortgage provider.
- They may contact your utility providers as well (normally this is only necessary if you are in arrears).
- Your bankruptcy will be reported in your local paper and in the London Gazette (which contains things like insolvency data and public notices). This is to give any creditors who aren't named on the petition a chance to come forward.
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