In England and Wales your bankruptcy application is submitted on-line. Given you qualify you will normally be declared bankrupt the next working day.
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The information given on this page relates to going bankrupt in England or Wales. The steps you need to take in Northern Ireland and Scotland are different.
Once you have decided to go bankrupt you first have to register on the Government’s bankruptcy website. This will give you access to the online application form.
While completing the form you can save what you have done, log off and return later if you need to. However the application can only be submitted once the form is complete and your application fee is paid in full.
There is no advice about how to complete your application on the Government’s website. If you need help you should contact us about our Assistance Service.
Once your application is submitted it is reviewed by the Adjudicator. Given you qualify for bankruptcy you will almost certainly be accepted.
The income and expenses section of your application form must completed accurately. It is used determine whether you can make ongoing payments towards your debts.
After you are declared bankrupt you will be contacted by an Examiner from the Official Receiver’s office. They will need to arrange some time to have an interview with you.
During the interview the Examiner will go through the information you provided on your application form. They will want to understand the reason behind the debts you have. They will also ask about your assets and review your income and living expenses budget.
You may be required to provide paperwork to back up the information you have given in your application. This could include your last 12 months bank statements, credit card statements and recent wage slips or tax returns.
Your interview with the Official Receiver is normally carried out on the telephone. However if you are self employed it may be face to face.
Bankruptcy is one of the fastest debt solutions to implement. Once your application form is completed and submitted you will normally be declared bankrupt the next working day.
As soon as you are bankrupt you get immediate protection from your creditors. They are then no longer allowed to take further action against you to recover their debt.
If you are currently making payments towards a CCJ (County Court Judgment) you can stop doing this as soon as you are bankrupt. If money is being taken from your wages in the form of an attachment of earnings this will stop within a month or two.
The OR may take up to 3 months to write to your creditors. If any contacts you in the mean time tell them you are bankrupt and that they must deal directly with the OR.
The standard length of bankruptcy in the UK is 12 months. After that you will be automatically discharged and are no longer a bankrupt person.
Some of the effects will however last longer. Firstly if have been required to make monthly payments towards your debts these will continue for a full 3 years.
In addition the record that you have been bankrupt in the past will remain on your credit file for 6 years from the start date.
You will continue to find it difficult to get credit for 6 years from the start date of your bankruptcy.
As well as the information found on this website the Government’s Insolvency Service has produced a useful guide to personal debt solutions which you might also find useful: “Options for paying off your debts”.
The Money Advice Service (MAS) are an independent service set up by the Government to provide people with free advice about all aspects of personal finances. For help from MAS if you are struggling with debt please follow this link: MAS – Help if you are struggling with debt.
It is also recommended that you read this one page document produced by MAS entitled “Dealing with debt – 5 things you should know”.