Help with bankruptcy fees

If you have no money how can you afford £700 bankruptcy fees?A reader asked “I can’t afford to go bankrupt! Is there anyone else that can help with the fees apart from British Gas as I don’t have gas?”

The bankruptcy fees in England and Wales are £700 at the moment (£525 Official Receiver’s fee and £175 count fee) which is just stupidly high – most people go bankrupt because they are broke and they don’t have hundreds of pounds in their bank account. On Debt Camel’s bankruptcy information page, British Gas Trust is recommended as a charity that can sometimes help.  But what are your other options?

Help with the court fees

If you are getting means tested benefits such as JSA, ESA or Pension Credit, you won’t have to pay the £175 court fee, see this information on whether you will qualify. You need to complete the application form at the end of that link and take it to the court when you bankrupt.

Sell stuff

If you have any valuable assets that you will lose when you go bankrupt, it makes sense to sell them beforehand to raise the money for the bankruptcy fees. Keep a record of what you sold and for what price.

(nb You need to be careful that you are selling them for a fair price if you are selling something to a relative or a friend. You can’t sell your two-year old Porsche to your brother for £1,000 – if you try this the Official Receiver will demand your brother returns the car – but if you use the Parkers valuation you will be fine. If you want to sell jewelry to a relative, get an independent valuation first etc.)

Help from charities

Many utility companies run trust funds that help customers with utility debts and other financial problems, including paying bankruptcy fees. The following is a partial list: British Gas, EDF Energy, Thames Water,  NPower, United Utilities. Most of them prefer the application form to come from a Citizen’s Advice Bureau not you personally, as they need to know that you have had good debt advice that bankruptcy is a suitable option for you.

Some of them will only help with the Official Receiver’s fee, but you may not have to pay the Court Fee if you are on a low income, see above. Some of them have other requirements as well, eg they will not consider applications if you are a homeowner or if you have been bankrupt before. Your local CAB will be able to sort out which ones are appropriate for you.

There may be other charities that can help too. Sometimes these are local, sometimes you may be eligible because of job, for example SSAFA helps people who have served in the armed forces and their families. Turn2Us has a lot of information on grant giving charities or again your local CAB may be able to suggest who to ask.

Save it up!

The other alternative is of course to save up for the fees. If you are currently making payments to your non priority debts, including paying a DMP (or if you are struggling to pay into an IVA that you have decided to give up on), then you should stop, not even making token payments, and save this money up. When you get cross letters and calls from your creditors, tell them you are going to go bankrupt.

Comments

  1. I was on a debt management plan with Baines and Earnst for about 3 years and claimed a lot of PPI compensation to pay off some of my debt. unfortunately my work circumstances changed and lost my house. I now live in rented accommodation. I owe a substantial amount of money to the bank when the house was eventually sold, I then discussed my problem with B & E and they advised me bankruptcy was the best option for me I was advised to stop paying my creditors on the plan and inform them of my plans and I managed to pay the fees for their support to Baker Evans a subsidiary of Baines and Earnst, but I am struggling to find the £700 to start the process. Would it be possible to ask Baker Evans to fill in the necessary forms as proof I have taken good debt advice.
    Kind regards
    Carol O.

    • Debt Camel says:

      hi Carol,
      I am sorry to hear of your circumstances and also that Baker Evans have been profiting from your situation. You don’t actually have to produce written proof that you have taken good debt advice. The judge will usually ask you if you have , so just say Yes, I have been advised by Baker Evans”.
      Regarding the bankruptcy fees, I hope this post has given you some useful pointers. Your local Citizens Advice Bureau may also know of some local charities that could assist – it’s worth a try. Otherwise it is a question of putting £5 or £10 a week aside until they are saved up.
      (I have deleted your surname as i wasnt sure you would want your comment to be found by anyone that googled your name.)

  2. Hi. Its such a mess I had to leave family home due to domestic violence in which my husband refused to have anything in his name the debts are 25,000. And now I cant work due to disability. I’ve been awarded high rate for both mobility and care allowance and getting 71.40 per week ESA. Is there any help I can get to go bankrupt? Thank u

    • Debt Camel says:

      hi Paula, it sounds like bankruptcy is the best route for you and I would expect that you would be helped by one of the charities mentioned in this article. They prefer to receive applications through an approved debt advisor, so I suggest you go to your local CAB and ask them to help you apply.

What do you think?

*