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Can you sell your car before you go bankrupt
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Can you sell your car before you go bankrupt

Can you sell your car before you go bankrupt

You can sell your car before you go bankrupt. If it is worth more than £1000 this can provide a number of benefits.

Included in this article:

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Are you allowed to sell your car before going bankrupt?

If your car is worth more than £1000, the Official Receiver will force you to sell it once you are bankrupt. They will then keep any proceeds over £1000.

One way to avoid this is to sell before you submit your application.

There is nothing to stop you doing this and it gives you a huge benefit. You are then in control of the funds you raise and can choose what to do with them.

You can spend up to £1000 buying a replacement vehicle. In addition you can pay for a full service and 12 months insurance.

Any extra money can be used to pay for your bankruptcy application fee. You can also catch up on rent or utility bill arrears or even use some of the money to cover living expenses.

Do not sell your car and pay off debt owed to friends or family. This would be a preferential payment and the official receiver may demand the money is paid back.

How much can you sell your car for?

If you decide to sell your car before going bankrupt, it is vital you get a fair market price.

You can’t sell to someone for less than it is worth and then carry on using it. You will need to give details of any vehicle you sell within 12 months of the date you go bankrupt and the money received.

If the official receiver believes you sold for less than what it was really worth, they can demand the car is returned. They can enforce this with legal action if necessary.

You can establish the fair market value of your car by getting an online valuation from We Buy Any Car or the like. Keep a record to refer back to later if required.

Can you sell to your partner or friend?

There is nothing to stop you selling your car to anyone you like before you go bankrupt.

You just need to follow the golden rule. You must be able to show you got market value.

Where you sell to your partner or a family member, you must ensure you can prove that they actually gave you the money. If they pay you cash, deposit this into your bank as a record before spending any of it.

A significant benefit of selling to a family member is they could then let you continue to use the car. In affect you are then borrowing it from them

It is no longer yours and so is not at risk if you go bankrupt. But you can still register it in your name and pay for the running costs.

We are experienced in helping car owners go bankrupt. Give us a call (0800 044 3194) or complete the form below to get in touch.

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Comments 2

  1. Patricia

    I used my own funds to buy a car in 2014 for £11k and registered car in a friend’s name – insurance in my name alone and I am the only driver. The registration was transferred to my daughter’s name in 2017 but I remain the only insured driver. Should I disclose the car as an asset in a bankruptcy application although I am not strictly speaking the owner?

    1. 12.03.2021

      Hi Patricia,

      The thing you have to remember here is registration of a vehicle is not proof of ownership. This statement is made clearly at the top of any V5 document. In other words, the owner does not have to be the registered keeper. A common example of this is where an individual pays for a vehicle and regards themselves as the owner. However, they then choose to lend it to someone else (perhaps a family member). The non-owner can register the car in their name to enable them to insure and tax it, however this does not make them the owner.

      Given this, in the situation you describe below, the debtor used their own funds to buy the vehicle. They also use it. The fact that it is registered in someone else’s name is irrelevant. They are the owner. If they go bankrupt, they must declare it as an asset.

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James Falla
I have been advising people on how to solve their debt problems for over 20 years. During this time I have helped many people go bankrupt. I am an FCA Approved Person and the Managing Director of Wilmott Turner Financial Services (owner and operator of Bankruptcy Expert
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