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Bankruptcy is a debt solution for a person who is unable to pay their debts as they fall due.

It is a legal process that is suitable if you have little hope of repaying your debts in a reasonable amount of time. There are many implications associated with bankruptcy, so it is important that you seek appropriate insolvency advice.

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How you become bankrupt

You can declare yourself bankrupt or your creditors can petition for your bankruptcy.

A creditor can make you bankrupt in England, Wales or Northern Ireland if you owe them more than £5,000.

Northern Ireland

If you live in Northern Ireland you can make yourself bankrupt by submitting an online application and paying the bankruptcy fees. You can do this at

England and Wales

If you live in England or Wales you can make yourself bankrupt by submitting an online application and paying the bankruptcy fees. You can do this at

What happens when I am bankrupt?

When you are bankrupt, your non-essential assets (property and some possessions) and excess income are used to pay off your creditors (those you owe money to). At the end of the bankruptcy period, most debts are ‘discharged’ (cancelled).

Bankruptcy usually lasts for about one year, however the effects of Bankruptcy can last much longer. Payments from your excess income may last up to three years.

I am unable to manage my debts, is bankruptcy my only option?

Bankruptcy is a serious matter and is normally only considered as a last resort. However, for an individual with no means of repaying their debts, or who has little or no assets, bankruptcy can be the best option. Bankruptcy can enable a person or business to have a fresh start.

Alternatives to bankruptcy

  • Informal agreement – if you have not done so already, you should contact your creditors and attempt to agree a repayment timetable;
  • Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) – An IVA is a private, legal contract between an individual and their creditors. It is a legal alternative to bankruptcy that can enable debt write-off. An insolvency practitioner can negotiate a repayment plan on your behalf;
  • Debt Relief Order (DRO) – available to an individual with debts of £20,000 or below and with little or no assets.

A Debt Relief Order is a formal insolvency process suitable for people who cannot pay their debts and who have no assets, a low income, no other access to debt relief and no prospect of their situation improving.

If people do have assets, or there is a possibility of an improvement in financial circumstances, a DRO is not an appropriate solution.

If you are in financial difficulties and you or your creditors are considering petitioning for your bankruptcy, contact Arthur Boyd & Company today for confidential and impartial advice on the options that may be available to you.

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    Setting up an IVA has been the best decision and Arthur Boyd & Company have been very supportive throughout the whole process. I would recommend to anybody.

    David, Belfast

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