Bankruptcy is a severe last resort and should only really be considered if you are in extremely serious financial difficulty and no other debt solution, such as an IVA or debt management is open to you.
Whilst Bankruptcy will give you legal protection from your creditors and allow you to start afresh it does carry a lot of legal implications which need to be seriously considered.
In effect your estate passes to your Trustee, who administers the estate. It is his/her responsibility to realise any assets to pay your creditors. Like an IVA creditors cannot pursue you for the money owed and must look directly to the estate but the Trustee has an obligation to realise your assets to pay the creditors.
This will involve your home in most cases. Other assets like your car may need to be sold and although general household equipment is excluded, if there are items of an excess value then they may be sold and a more reasonable replacement given. If you have excess income over your reasonable domestic needs then you will be required to make payments into your estate.
You are likely to be discharged from Bankruptcy after 1 year but will need to pay into an Income Payments Agreement for 3 years. The Official Receiver has a duty to investigate your causes of failure and if there are grounds apply to the court to have a Bankruptcy Restrictions Order placed against you. This can make you subject to certain Bankruptcy restrictions for up to 15 years.
If you are self employed, it is likely that your business will be sold and employees dismissed. Although it is possible to start afresh the general restrictions in Bankruptcy make trading difficult. Un-discharged Bankrupt’s cannot be Company Directors.
Other reasons people wish to avoid Bankruptcy is the personal stigma attached along with the local advertisements that appear in the newspapers. Of course, if you have assets like a home, you wish to protect them and if you are self employed to preserve your business. There are also problems associated with obtaining or retaining Bank Accounts. However, sometimes and particularly if your debts are high and assets low and you are in a job that will not be adversely effected by a Bankruptcy Order, Bankruptcy may be your best option.
If you are the director of a company you will be forced to resign your directorship should you be declared bankrupt. Alternative solutions, such as an IVA, do not have this implication.
You should discuss the implications of Bankruptcy with Debtfocus before lodging the petition in court.