How to declare yourself bankrupt

You need to think carefully about declaring yourself bankrupt. You can apply to make yourself bankrupt if you can’t pay your debts.

This information is for you if you live in England,  Wales or Northern Ireland. For Scottish residents please click here

Bankruptcy is a court order that you can apply for if you are in serious debt. It is a legal declaration that confirms you are unable to repay your unsecured debts and any assets you have will be used to pay off your creditors. Any debts left unsettled will be written off completely. Whilst it is a possible solution to a serious debt problem, Debt Bankruptcy is not a decision to be taken lightly, as it can have a severe impact on your credit rating and future life.

In bankruptcy, you will benefit from:

Your unsecured debt being wiped off at the end of your bankruptcy period
A stop to legal action from creditors
Creditors will be prevented from chasing you for your arrears
Legally frozen interest and charges
Your bills and living expenses will be taken into account during the application process

Things to consider:

If you are made bankrupt you have to follow certain ‘restrictions’, including the prevention of borrowing more than £500 without telling the lender.
It is a criminal offence if you break these restrictions.
You may have to sell your home and some of your possessions during the bankruptcy process.
Bankruptcy will stay on your credit file for 6 years from the time it started. This means after you are ‘discharged’ the bankruptcy record will still be on your file. After 6 years it will be deleted from your report.
The bankruptcy process will incur costs that you will need to pay.
Bankruptcy will be recorded and entered onto a public register.

How much does it cost to go bankrupt?

Bankruptcy fees vary depending on where you live in the UK.

In England and Wales you pay a total of £680, made up of a £130 fee to the adjudicator and £550 to the official receiver, so a total of £680.

In Northern Ireland the total cost is £669 made up of a £137 court fee, £525 bankruptcy deposit and solicitor’s fees of £7.

Expert debt advice

You can talk to one of our friendly debt advisers for more information about bankruptcy or your other options to clear your debt. We advise you do this before you pay a fee to make sure that bankruptcy is the best solution for you.

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