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Sequestration and your name on the Register of Insolvencies

Posted 04 August 2016

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What does it mean if you’re on the Register? Find out here.

Dealing with unmanageable debt can be tough but it’s important to know you don’t have to do so alone. There is plenty of debt advice and support available as well as a number of debt solutions – some of which are only available to people who live in Scotland.

If you live in Scotland and you can’t afford to repay your debts, you might consider sequestration – the Scottish form of bankruptcy. When you’re looking into sequestration, you might hear about something called the Register of Insolvencies (ROI). If you’re worried about your name appearing on the Register, don’t panic – we’ll take you through what it all means.

What is the Register of Insolvencies?

The Register of Insolvencies (ROI) displays the details of anyone who’s insolvent in Scotland. Being insolvent means you can’t afford to repay your debts when they’re due and you don’t have enough assets to sell to clear them. Sequestration isn’t the only way to deal with insolvency in Scotland – the two other ways are Trust Deeds and Minimal Asset Process (MAP).

While you’re insolvent, the Register will show your name, address and date of birth. It will also say who your Trustee is – the person dealing with your finances – and the date your sequestration started. Your details will appear on the ROI for five years after you’re discharged or two years after your Trustee is discharged – whichever of these comes first. Your Trustee is discharged after they’ve finished administering your sequestration.

Will your name be on the Register?

If you’re going through sequestration, your details will most likely appear on the ROI. As the ROI is a publicly available list, this means anyone could search it online if they wanted to.

Having said that, people are unlikely to just search the list and stumble across your name – they’d probably need a reason to look for you or be looking for people who have been sequestrated in your area. 

The reason the ROI exists is so creditors and credit reference agencies can check they’ve got the information about your insolvency right. They’ll use it for their work but it’s unlikely that anyone you know would search it otherwise.

It’s understandable if you don’t want people to know about your sequestration but you shouldn’t let the thought of your details appearing on the ROI put you off choosing the right debt solution for you. If you’re worried about the ROI when you’re entering sequestration, you can get in touch with our debt advisors – they’ll talk you through how it could affect you.

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When it could be left off

For the majority of insolvency cases in Scotland, your details will appear on the ROI. However, you don’t have to appear on the Register if the court agrees that making your name and address public puts you or someone you live with at risk of violence. This is a ‘stay of advertisement’ and it just means your details don’t appear on the ROI – all other sequestration rules still apply.

But if you weren’t insolvent and you chose to use a different debt solution, your name wouldn’t appear on the ROI. With a Debt Arrangement Scheme, your details appear instead on the DAS register. This works in a similar way to the ROI and when your Debt Arrangement Scheme ends, you’ll come off the DAS register. If you’re on a Debt Management Plan, your details aren’t on any public register.

Get advice

If you’re struggling with debt problems and you don’t know which solution is right for you, don’t panic – there is help out there. Why not get in touch with our debt advisors using any of the options to the left? They’ll be able to take a look at your individual circumstances, see how much you owe and what you could afford to pay. After they’ve done this, they can see which solutions – if any – would be best for you.

Speak to the debt advisor and let them know if being on the ROI is a concern for you. They can tell you if there’s any reason why your details wouldn’t appear on the ROI and they can explain what it means, as well as any other things you’ll need to consider. But as we’ve said, it doesn’t mean that everyone you know will know about your sequestration. Other than through the ROI, it’s unlikely that people would find out about your sequestration unless they are a creditor or you have joint finances with them.

by Emily Bancroft

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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.