How to File for Bankruptcy

How to File for Bankruptcy

The different stages and restrictions involved in filing for bankruptcy.

By Emma Meakin

If you can’t pay your personal debts and you don’t feel that any other form of relief is suitable, the ultimate solution is bankruptcy.

Whilst the idea of wiping out debts may seem appealing, there are various restrictions to consider and it’s always best to seek advice from sources such as Citizen’s Advice Bureaux or Money Advice Service before taking this drastic step.

Filing the petition

The first step to bankruptcy is the filing of the petition, statement of affairs and the relevant fees. You’ll need to file 3 copies of the petition at the relevant court (you usually file the petition in your local county court). This must be done in person, but if you live or work in London and your debts are less than £100,000, you file the petition in the Central London County Court.

There are specific circumstances that mean you must file the petition, in the High Court at the Rolls Building. These are:

What happens next?

Once the petition is filed you’ll be told when your bankruptcy hearing is to take place. At the hearing the court will make the bankruptcy order – you’ll be bankrupt and a trustee in bankruptcy will be appointed.

Within 2 weeks of your bankruptcy, the official receiver will contact you via post with various questions. Your answers will be used to draft the report sent to your creditors. You may well be asked to attend an interview and it’s key to be honest and cooperate with the official receiver.

What happens to your assets?

Upon your bankruptcy your assets including your house, income and bank accounts must be provided to your trustee. They’ll decide whether to sell or retain them. Whilst you’re allowed to hold on to tools, essential household items and money to live on, other non-essential items are sold to release funds to clear your debt.

Restrictions

When you’re made bankrupt the court has the right to impose various restrictions on you during the term of bankruptcy. It’s a criminal offence to break the restrictions, listed below:

Cancelling your bankruptcy

There are various times at which you can cancel your bankruptcy, these include repaying your debts in full, being wrongly made bankrupt or entering an IVA to repay your debts. In order to cancel your bankruptcy you need to complete and file Form LOC012. If you’ve fulfilled your obligations and the court is satisfied, you’ll be awarded an annulment order.

Ending your bankruptcy

Your bankruptcy will end when you’re officially discharged. This is normally 12 months after being made bankrupt. However, this can be extended at the discretion of the trustee. Discharge is usually automatic and if your require proof, you’ll need to contact the official receiver for a certificate of discharge. This is done via Form LOC013.


For more advice of managing debt check out our other helpful articles.