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Bankruptcy FAQ

How long will I be bankrupt for?

The responsibility for paying your debts is taken away from you by the Court.

Provided that you cooperate fully with the supervisor of your bankruptcy (The Official Receiver), you will be bankrupt for 12 months. However you will (if you can afford to) make payments to your creditors for a total of 3 years from when you are made bankrupt.

In some extreme cases, where it is felt you have acted culpably, recklessly or dishonestly then you may be subject to a Bankruptcy Restriction Order (BRO) for between 2-15 years.

How much will I pay each month?

You will only pay what you can afford each month. The court will calculate this figure when you apply for your bankruptcy.

Basically you pay what is called your 'Disposable Income' - that is the money you have left after you have paid for all your essential and reasonable living costs.

You are appointed an official receiver, who supervises your bankruptcy and monitors what you can afford to pay over the 3 years.

Will I lose my home, car or personal belongings?

You will normally be able to keep reasonable personal items and household goods such as furniture and electrical goods as long as their value is not greater than the cost of their reasonable replacement. However, you will be expected to sell valuable assets such as antiques and expensive vehicles.

As a bankrupt, your title to any house you own or are paying a mortgage on will be passed to the Court. As such, ownership of any equity that you have personally in the property will pass to the Court. The Court will want to realise such equity for the benefit of your creditors.

This means that either you will need a third party to make an offer to the Court to buy out your equity or the Court will force the sale of the property to release the equity. If your husband, wife or children are living with you, it may be possible to put off a sale until the end of the first year of your bankruptcy to give time for other housing arrangements to be made. Your spouse or any other interested party would be encouraged to take legal advice about the home as soon as possible.

If your house has no releasable equity, or is worth less than the secured debt you have it is possible that you may end up keeping it as selling would not pay anything to the creditors. However, a valuation would be carried out again 2 years and 3 months after the start your bankruptcy and any equity would be dealt with then.

Is anybody going to come to my home?

The Trustee does have the power to investigate if he feels there may be additional assets that could be sold to pay more of the money back to your creditors.

In practice it is very unlikely that someone will come to your home.

Which debts are included in a Bankruptcy?

All unsecured debts are included in a bankruptcy:
  • Credit Cards
  • Personal Loans
  • Catalogue Debts
  • Store Cards
  • Overdrafts
  • Outstanding balances after home or vehicle repossession
  • Business loans for which the client is personally responsible
  • Inland Revenue / VAT debts
  • Utility bill arrears

Note - Some debts will not be written off by Bankruptcy such as student loans, debts due to fraud or criminal activity, child maintenance arrears, tax credit overpayments and secured debts.

What other restrictions are there on a Bankrupt person?

  • You cannot act as a company director
  • Self employed people cannot trade in any other name than their own
  • You cannot obtain credit of more than £500 without disclosing your status as a bankrupt.
  • There are restrictions on some professions that involve the handling of money or managing accounts.

How long does it take to set up a Bankruptcy?

  • The process can be quite swift. Once you have completed the application which you would have to complete online, it will be reviewed by an Adjudicator who has up to 28 days to consider it.
  • In practice decisions are made much quicker than this and many people have their bankruptcy confirmed in less than a week.

What happens after my Bankruptcy has finished?

Once you are discharged from Bankruptcy, your remaining debt is written off and you will be debt free. You can start to repair your credit rating in the following years and should eventually be able to borrow money again, possibly even for a mortgage.

We would of course advise you to be very cautious about borrowing money, ensuring that the repayments are well within what you can afford each month and that you seek professional advice first.

My bank is a creditor; will I be allowed a bank account?

You may need to open a new bank account. A bankrupt person usually has a basic account only that has no overdraft facility.

Can I still run a business while in a Bankruptcy?

You cannot be the managing director of a limited company, but can still trade as a sole trader.

If you are employed it is important to check your employment contract to see if your job is effected by being bankrupt. This can be the case if your job has any financial links, e.g. accountancy etc.

Who knows that I have a Bankruptcy - is it made public?

Your creditors will be told about your bankruptcy and in some situations your landlord if you are renting your home. In the past it was also printed in your local newspaper, but this is less common now. Self-employed may be subject to this as there may be some creditors that are local to the debtor who need to know about it.

Your name and address is published in the London Gazette. It is also recorded on the national insolvency register that is accessible to the public via the internet. However there would have to be a reason for someone to actively check the register.

Your employer is not formally notified of your bankruptcy, but it is possible they may find out if the court applies for an attachment of earnings (where a payment is taken straight from your wages for your creditors). This is easily avoided however by making your monthly payments to your trustee when asked to do so. The employer may also be made aware of the bankruptcy as your tax code will change to a nil code, though there are other reasons such a code may be applied so it may not be noticed.

What will happen to my credit file whilst in Bankruptcy?

Your bankruptcy entry will remain on your credit reference file for 6 years from the date of the Bankruptcy Order. You will usually be discharged from your bankruptcy after 12 months. Obtaining credit after this time is harder at first obviously, but in time you can repair this and should be able to gain credit in the future.

Important information

This website provides information only. Vincent Bond & Co does not provide debt advice. If you wish to apply for any of the debt solutions outlined in this website Vincent Bond will with your permission pass your details to a licenced debt solution provider. You will then be called by an advisor who will discuss your options in more detail. During this telephone call and subsequent communication, you will be dealing with a debt solutions partner and not Vincent Bond & Co Ltd. Fees may be charged by the debt solution provider if you enter a debt solution with them. Vincent Bond will not charge you a fee, but may receive a referral fee from the debt solution provider if you agree to use their services.

We take reasonable care to ensure that the information on this website accurate. However, the user of this website should not rely on the information or take its accuracy for granted. Vincent Bond & Co does not accept liability or responsibility for and gives no warranty as to the accuracy of the information on this website. The provision of the information on this website does not constitute debt advice or recommendation and Vincent Bond will not accept any liability for any action taken by a user relying on the information provided in the website. Use of the information in this website is at the users own risk. Your statutory rights are not effected by this disclaimer.

The Insolvency Service has issued a guide to dealing with creditors for those struggling with debt: In debt - dealing with your creditors.

To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.