Bankruptcy is usually considered a “last resort” for anyone who is struggling financially. You can hit the financial reset button and start afresh. Assets are sold in order to clear your debt as much as possible and to pay the costs of administering your bankruptcy.

This legally binding debt solution involves your assets being transferred to the Official Receiver (subject to certain exceptions).

Bankruptcy is a form of personal insolvency used to wind up your affairs if you’re unable to pay your debts. Most people who apply for bankruptcy choose to do so voluntarily. However, bankruptcy orders can also be obtained by creditors against people who do not pay their debts (if they can prove the individual owes them more than £5,000).

During bankruptcy, your assets will be sold to pay creditors. The process usually lasts for one year, after which all your remaining debts are written off. Although you are likely to be free from bankruptcy after a year, this does not mean that any unsold assets will belong to you. These will still be held by the Official Receiver or your Trustee in Bankruptcy and will be sold to pay your debts.

Is bankruptcy an option for me?

Bankruptcy is generally only suitable if you are not able to pay your debts in a reasonable period of time.  Whilst the stigma associated with bankruptcy has largely disappeared in recent years, Individual Voluntary Agreements (IVAs) are still preferred by most people as an alternative to going bankrupt. When bankrupt, you will not be able to direct a company and you will be restricted from obtaining loans or credit.

How do I make myself bankrupt?

The process for making yourself bankrupt is straightforward. All you need to do is download the necessary application forms from the Government’s Insolvency Service website. In some cases, these forms will be supplied by the local county court. After completing the bankruptcy forms, the paperwork must be handed to the County Court. A processing fee is payable. The court will usually grant the bankruptcy order on the day you file the forms – making you officially bankrupt immediately.

Let Bennett Jones guide you through bankruptcy

Bankruptcy can be an unsettling process. Bennett Jones is here to provide support at this difficult time, so you can take positive steps to recovery. If you are still uncertain whether bankruptcy is the best option for you, contact our team. We’ll provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision. You can also send a message using our contact form and we’ll call you back at a convenient time for you.

Bankruptcy for company directors

If you are the sole director of a limited company and declare bankruptcy, you must cease acting as a director.  Any shares you own in a company will be passed to the Trustee of your estate to sell or wind up.  The Official Receiver (OR) will be appointed to deal with your bankruptcy. The OR will act as trustee of your estate unless an insolvency practitioner is appointed. If the company has multiple directors, you should inform the other directors immediately and resign your position with Companies House.

Bank accounts

You must give the Bankruptcy Trustee your bank cards, cheque books and credit cards. Your accounts will be frozen but the trustee may release any money you need urgently to live on, for example, to buy food. Your spouse or partner’s share of any money in a joint account will be released. After the bankruptcy order has been made you may open a new bank account. You should tell the bank that you are bankrupt.