How to declare yourself bankrupt
10 September 2012
The first thing to do before you decide to declare yourself bankrupt is to be sure that bankruptcy is the best option for you.
This can be done by looking at the pros and cons, considering the alternative options, and seeking expert advice.
If you have sought expert advice, and you are happy that bankruptcy is the best way forward, you will need to take the following steps to declare yourself bankrupt.
Fill out the forms
You will need to fill out the 'Debtor's Bankruptcy Petition' and 'Statement of Affairs' Debtor's Petition' forms. These can be found on the Insolvency Service's website.
On the 'Debtor's Bankruptcy Petition' you will need to outline why you're applying for bankruptcy. On the 'Statement of Affairs, Debtor's Petition' form you need to list all of your assets as well as details of your debts.
If you're not sure how to fill these forms in, you may want to seek expert advice. You can contact the Debt Advisory Centre on this page.
Make sure you can pay the fees
The court won't consider your petition for bankruptcy unless you can pay the application fees. These are £525 to manage your bankruptcy and £175 to cover court costs (although court fees can sometimes be waived if you claim certain benefits). Fees can be paid in cash, by postal order or by cheque (made payable to HM Courts & Tribunal Service).
If you can't afford the bankruptcy fees, there are some charities that may offer to pay them for you. If this is not possible, you may also want to consider other solutions, such as a DRO. Click here to find out whether a DRO could help you with your debts.
Hand in your forms and fees
You can then arrange a time with your nearest bankruptcy court to hand in your forms and pay the fee. The court will then consider your bankruptcy application, and then take one of four courses of action:
- Issue a bankruptcy order - which would make you bankrupt.
- Delay your case if the court needs more information.
- Reject your petition for bankruptcy.
- Reject your bankruptcy petition and order an alternative.
Unfortunately your fees won't be refunded if your bankruptcy petition is rejected. The court might agree, however, to let you use the fees to fund an alternative debt solution.
If you've been turned down for bankruptcy, it's best to seek expert advice. Click here to contact a professional about your circumstances.
If your bankruptcy petition is accepted...
If your petition for bankruptcy is successful you will enter bankruptcy. You will hand over rights to all your assets (like your house) to a Trustee, who may sell them in order to repay your lenders.
Your unsecured debts will be frozen (usually for a year) before you are discharged. Any unsecured debt that you can't afford to repay will be written off, but if you can afford it you might be expected to make payments for up to three years.