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Free Bankruptcy Advice

Enquire for advice and assistance with bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy is a debt solution for people who are unable to pay their unsecured debt each month. You can apply to make yourself bankrupt or a creditor (company you owe money to) could make you bankrupt. To enter bankruptcy, you must live in England, Northern Ireland or Wales – in Scotland it’s known as Sequestration.

If you’re considering applying for bankruptcy then you would apply online via the Insolvency Service in England and Wales. In Northern Ireland you can apply for bankruptcy via the High Court. The cost of bankruptcy in England and Wales is £130 application fee and £550 for the bankruptcy deposit (£680 in total). In Northern Ireland the cost is £144 court fee, £525 bankruptcy deposit and £7 solicitors fee (£676 in total).

Before you apply to make yourself bankrupt, it’s essential you get advice tailored to your circumstances – it’s very difficult to reverse a bankruptcy decision. If you want to receive specific advice on bankruptcy for you, then call our friendly debt advisers on 0800 085 0226. Debt Support Trust is a registered debt advice charity helping people across the UK.

Bankruptcy Advice

You can apply for your own bankruptcy or if one of your unsecured creditors is owed at least £5,000 (or a share of debt totalling £5,000) they can petition for your bankruptcy.

In April 2009 the Debt Relief Order (DRO) was made available as a new route into bankruptcy. The DRO is an easier and cheaper route to become bankrupt but only people who meet the qualifying criteria can enter the solution. If you owe less than £20,000, you don’t own your own home, have less than £50 disposable income every month and don’t have any assets worth more than £1,000 then the DRO could be suitable for you.

The cost to enter a debt relief order is £90 which you must pay to apply.

How Do You Go Bankrupt?

Once you’ve received debt advice and help from a debt adviser, if you decide bankruptcy is the best option for you then we will help you with the next steps.

You no longer need to attend court to declare yourself bankrupt and can apply online (except in N.Ireland). You will be asked to supply information about your debts, income, expenditure and assets. If you have creditor statements or letters from bailiffs you should add these too. You then pay your application fee and your bankruptcy is referred to an adjudicator.

An adjudicator will assess if you can pay your debts and whether bankruptcy is appropriate for you. After the adjudicator agrees that your bankruptcy should proceed, you will no longer need to liaise with your creditors and an official receiver / insolvency practitioner will be appointed. They will be responsible for setting an income payment order (if applicable), realising any assets for the benefits of creditors and communicating with your creditors. When you’re made bankrupt your details will be listed on the Insolvency register and it can affect your employment opportunities. It’s important to check your contract of employment before entering any insolvency solution, including bankruptcy.

You will speak with your official receiver to discuss your bankruptcy and their responsibility is to assess how much money you can afford to repay towards your debts, through available disposable income each month for 3 years or via the sale of assets like a house, car or investments. Creditors cannot request their money back when you are in bankruptcy so you are not required to make payments to your debts, instead you should liaise with your official receiver in a bankruptcy.

Once you’re discharged from bankruptcy, usually after 1 year, your outstanding debts will be written off. Income payment arrangements / income payment orders will last for 3 years.

Too often we speak to people where they have entered bankruptcy without seeking professional debt advice. This can mean that assets, like a house or car, are sold when they originally believed they would not be considered in the bankruptcy solution. Also, there are guidelines on acceptable levels of expenditure and if you have a disposable income you could be asked to pay this into the bankruptcy solution.

It’s for this reason we strongly recommend getting bankruptcy help before proceeding. You can receive help from our charity helpline on 0800 085 0226.


What Is Not Included In Bankruptcy?

There are some debts which are not included in a bankruptcy. For instance, if you owe money to your student loan this cannot be included within your bankruptcy. Similarly, if you have any secured debts, these are not included and you should maintain payments to these debts.  This is typically the case if you have a mortgage on your property with a secured loan too. If you are unable to maintain payments to your secured loan then you would risk your property being repossessed. Any debt which has been accrued via illegal or fraudulent means can also not be included. Child maintenance and TV licence arrears can also not be included in a bankruptcy.

You must continue to make payments to necessary expenditure such as gas, electricity and council tax once you are in the bankruptcy solution. Failure to make these payments could mean you gather new debt which won’t be included in your bankruptcy.

Benefits of Bankruptcy
  1. You will no longer have to negotiate or communicate with your creditors
  2. Once your bankruptcy is completed you will be able to regain control of you finances and move forward without any debt
  3. You no longer have to make payments towards your creditors. If you have available disposable income you will have to contribute this under an Income Payment Order for 3 years
  4. Creditors won’t be able to take any further action once you enter bankruptcy
Negatives of Bankruptcy
  1. Your credit rating is likely to be severely affected
  2. You cannot acquire credit of £500 or more without disclosing you are bankrupt
  3. You cannot be a director of a limited company
  4. You may lose your home (if it has equity), car or any other assets over £1,000
  5. Some employers will not allow you to enter bankruptcy and in doing so you could lose your job. You should check your contract of employment first.
  6. If you receive income for employment, a private pension or any other form of income which is not state benefits then you may be asked to make payments to your bankruptcy for 3 years.

Get In Touch For Bankruptcy Advice

Bankruptcy Examples

Andrew, 42 years old, Leeds

Andrew was a 42 year old living with his partner and 3 children in rented accommodation. Recently Andrew’s business ceased trading; it was a limited company, however he had a personal guarantee for 1 loan and the creditors were now actively seeking repayment. To help keep the business trading he used credit cards to pay for business costs until the pressure became too much and he decided to close the company.

He was solely living on benefits and whilst he was looking for employment, his level of debt was too large to repay the money he owed. Andrew had thought about the IVA option however didn’t think he would be able to afford the monthly contribution when he found work. We assisted Andrew with the bankruptcy process and explained about the online application. Andrew’s supportive debt adviser explained the costs to enter bankruptcy and the next steps. Andrew asked friends to help him with the bankruptcy application fee and he’s now protected from his creditors.

Liz, 67 years old, Stockport

We helped Liz with her bankruptcy solution when she reached out for advice.

One of our helpful volunteers took the initial call and asked a debt adviser to provide advice. Liz was recently retired and struggling to maintain repayments to her debts. With only state pensions / benefits as income, she was finding it tough to continue to pay all of her creditors. After completing a statement of affairs, Liz was unable to contribute any of her disposable income each month to her creditors and felt her unsecured debt (£24,000) was too large to repay. Liz had no assets and was living in rented accommodation. 

Liz explained that she felt obligated to repay the debt, but agreed that she financial would not be able to.

After paying the £680, Liz was appointed an official receiver to manage her bankruptcy and would be discharged and debt free within 1 year.

We Have The Answers
How Do I Make Myself Bankrupt?

You can make yourself bankrupt by completing bankruptcy forms and paying the necessary fees. You will be asked to complete the Debtor’s bankruptcy petition along with a statement of your affairs. You should then find out when your local court deals with bankruptcy petitions and make your way to the court with your money and application forms.

What Is Cost Of Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy fees vary depending on where you live in the UK. 

In England and Wales the cost to enter bankruptcy is £680.

In Northern Ireland the cost of bankruptcy is £683.

What Debts Are Included In Bankrupcy

The majority of your debts will be included in bankruptcy. 

Debts which cannot be included in a bankruptcy include:

  • TV licence arrears
  • Child maintenance arrears
  • Court fines
  • Fraudulently accrued debt
What Does Bankruptcy Mean

Bankruptcy can have a severe affect on your life and entering it is a decision which shouldn't be taken lightly. 

It will help clear your debt, enabling you to move forward without the same financial worries. 


What Happens After Bankruptcy

Normally, someone entering bankruptcy will be discharged after 1 year, with their debts being cleared. 

In some instances a person will be asked to make a payment each month for 3 years. This is called an income payment order.

In rare cases, the official receiver will extend the bankruptcy for up to 15 yrs. This is only likely to happen should the debt have been accrued via dishonest or reckless actions. 

Is It Possible To Enter A Joint Bankruptcy

No, if a couple both have debts and are equally suitable for bankruptcy, then they would need to apply separately. 

Where Can I Get The Bankruptcy Forms?

The forms to enter bankruptcy are available from your local county court. You can search for your local court by visiting hmctscourtfinder.justice.gov.uk/HMCTS/.

You can also download online from the Insolvency Service. The link for the bankruptcy forms is here: www.bis.gov.uk/insolvency.

How Long Does Bankruptcy Last For?

Bankruptcy lasts for 1 year only. After the year is complete you will be debt free and the debt, along with interest and charges, will be written off. You may be asked to contribute under an Income Payment Order which would last for a total of 3 years.

You will be asked to make your payment and submit your forms. The judge will decide if it's appropriate for you to enter bankruptcy.

After the order had been made by the judge an Official Receiver is appointed to manage your bankruptcy. It is the job of the Official Receiver to assess your income, outgoings, pension, assets, bank statements and the debts. Should the Official Receiver believe you are able to make a payment towards your bankruptcy they will ask you contribute under an Income Payment Order for 3 years.

Will I Be Able To Get Credit Ever Again?

Obtaining credit after a bankruptcy can be difficult. Your credit file will remain with a default for 6 years. This will impair your credit score and mean you may not be able to obtain credit for some time after your bankruptcy. If you are able to obtain credit it may mean a higher than usual interest rate.

How Quickly Will My Debt Be Written Off?

Your debt will be cleared under bankruptcy at the end of the solution. After the year long bankruptcy you will no longer owe the unsecured debt which you borrowed. Interest and charges are frozen and get written off at the end of the solution.

Will Anybody Know About My Bankruptcy?

Your bankruptcy will be recorded within the London Gazette and also within the Insolvency register. The London Gazette is a subscription only publication which is used within the financial institution. The Insolvency register is available to access online.

What Happens To Interest And Charges On My Debt?

Your interest and charges on your debt continue to accrue until the end of your bankruptcy when they are written off. You should expect to continue to receive statements from your creditors until you have been discharged from your bankruptcy at the end of a year.

What Is An Income Payment Order?

An Income Payment Order is a set amount of money which has been determined you must pay towards your bankruptcy by the Official Receiver for 3 years.  If you are considered to have disposable income each month then this will be required for the benefit of your creditors in the bankruptcy.

What If I Can’t Afford The Payment To My Income Payment Order?

The amount of monthly payment  you are asked to make in an Income Payment Order is decided by the Official Receiver. If you feel the amount they have set is incorrect you should contact your Official Receiver and explain why you can't afford the payment. The Official Receiver will use industry financial guidelines, the statement of affairs and necessary documentation to make a decision on how much you can afford.

A Creditor Is Making Me Bankrupt, What Can I Do?

A creditor will be able to make you bankrupt if you owe them £750 or more by applying to the court. A creditor must have sent you a statutory demand before presenting the bankruptcy petition to the court.

You should contact Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226 immediately if a creditor is trying to make you bankrupt.

What Will Happen To My House / Assets?

In bankruptcy the Official Receiver is interested in the equity / value of items. So, if your house is worth £80,000 but your mortgage is £100,000 then the property is in negative equity of £20,000. This means you would be able to retain your property in a bankruptcy if you wished, and could afford the repayments. Should you have realisable equity within your house then you may be asked for the equity. This usually means a sale of the property is required, however if a third party were able to buy out your share of the equity you could retain the property.

The Official Receiver has 3 years from the date you enter bankruptcy to decide if there is any value in the property.

Can I Keep My Bank Account In Bankruptcy?

If you owe money to your bank then it’s advisable to change bank account to a basic account with a bank you don’t owe money to. Barclays and Co-op are recognised as the best basic bank account providers for people with bad credit.