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Can I get my debts written off?

Posted 20 December 2018

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You might have seen adverts promising you that it is possible to get all your debt written off. So is this for real?

The honest answer is...maybe. It depends on your situation and the kind of debts you have. There are some debt solutions that involve getting some or all of your unsecured debt written off. But there are different approaches to dealing with debts, and they won’t be suitable for everyone.

In exceptional circumstances, you or a debt advice provider acting on your behalf can simply ask your creditors to write your debts off. This would involve writing to them, explaining that you cannot repay the debt and that the situation is unlikely to improve. This would usually only work if, for example, you were seriously ill.

However, there are a number of formal debt solutions that can result in getting some or all of your debts wiped off. Below are a list of the solutions available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. For more information about Scottish debt solutions, click here.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)

This is a formal, legally-binding arrangement between you and your creditors. You agree an affordable monthly payment towards your unsecured debts over a fixed period of time. (This is usually around 5 years.) If you make all of your payments for the full term of the IVA, what remains of your unsecured debt will be written off by your creditors.

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy usually lasts for a year, after which most of your remaining debts will be written off. However, bankruptcy has significant implications. If you are a homeowner, your home is likely to be sold off to repay your debts. After you have been discharged from bankruptcy, you will still face restrictions in obtaining further credit in the future. You may also be prevented from working in certain professions. If you can afford to do so, you may also have to pay money into your bankruptcy for a number of years.

Debt Relief Order (DRO)

This is similar to bankruptcy, but with a much lower fee. It is designed for people with little or no disposable income, few assets and debts of less than £20,000. A year after your DRO starts, if your circumstances have not changed the debts that are listed in it are discharged (written off), and you will then be free from those debts.

 

Whether you are able to have your debts partly or fully written off depends on a number of different factors. The only way to know which debt solution is best for you is to get expert debt advice. Take the first step to becoming debt-free by seeking advice today.

by Christine Walsh

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.