Numerous individuals consider bankruptcy as a simple way to offload out of control debts, and it’s regularly the first method they reach for. It may well relieve the burden, however it’s not straightforward and should to be the final choice.
Although legally it is relatively easy to apply for bankruptcy, as with any legal proceeding, it is far from painless.
You will have to validate your filing, highlighting all your financial records to a judge and exposing it to objections by the credit agencies. If you have a large debt, they are not likely to happily settle with a token gesture of repayment.
Even if your application is successful, there are many knock on effects that you’ll want to understand prior to taking this step.
You will forfeit any credit cards that have outstanding balances, and others may choose to close your accounts. You’ll also find it all but impossible to source a home loan or other large secured loans. Depending on your family situation, it’s possible that you may even lose your home.
Not all debts are covered by a bankruptcy filing. You need to review details carefully as many credit and loans can be exempt from protection.
Even after you have completed the official time for bankruptcy, you could still find that your credit record is in bad shape and obtaining any form of credit in all the future may be extremely hard. Of course, this could be a blessing in disguise.
Since you won’t have access to credit cards, this can actually be an advantage. Unfortunately, there are some people who simply should not have access to easy credit, until they can improve their financial management.
Beyond the impact on your ability to get credit, you may in fact be required to forfeit physical assets, for example valuable furniture, jewellery or your car.
Lastly, bankruptcy itself is not free. Courts have fees to pay and, if you use a lawyer, that too will add further costs.
On a positive note, you will seek relief from debt collection visits (provided they are told) and any foreclosure action can cease. By taking action sooner rather than later, you can start to build a new credit history that can be better than you had previously.
It can be a huge wakeup call to improve any bad money management habits. For some people, they need to go as low as possible before finding the necessary motivation to make the necessary changes. However, going for bankruptcy can be hard, so think through thoroughly and seek expert advice prior to taking the plunge.
About The Author
Derek Rogers represents Trapped.co.uk.
Before considering bankruptcy, you should review other debt management options.
Luke Ashworth is the founder of Trapped.co.uk which offers debt management, help and advice via the website http://www.trapped.co.uk.