Almost everyone finds going bankrupt a scary experience, but knowing you have everything organised can make it a bit less stressful. So here is a checklist, covering everything you need to do before submit your bankruptcy application.
The good news is that this is now all much simpler than it used to be. Before 2016 you had to go to court, with three copies of very long paper forms, and some courts you had to book a date well in advance. This checklist used to be a lot longer.
Now it’s all online and the whole process is much more under your control.
1. get some debt advice!
Even if you are sure bankruptcy is your best or even your only option, do talk this through with a debt advisor. This is a bad decision to get wrong. However simple you think your case is, it is worth 30 minutes of your time to check with an expert.
2. think about the bankruptcy fees
They are very high so read Where to Get Help With Bankruptcy Fees if this is going to be difficult for you.
3. think about your housing
If you need to move soon, it may be easier to rent somewhere before you go bankrupt.
You may want to stay in your house and move after you go bankrupt though. Any mortgage shortfall will still be wiped out by your bankruptcy – when you move is a question of convenience for you.
4. research a bank account
It is usually easier to wait until after your bankruptcy order is made and then open a new basic bank account, if you open one now it could be frozen when you go bankrupt which would spoil the point!
From 2016 this has been easy with all the major banks having to offer these accounts, which they can’t refuse because you are bankrupt. So do your research now to decide which account to get, see Bankruptcy: Your Account Options for more details.
5. pick a date to apply
You choose which date to put in your application. The actual date of your bankruptcy will normally be 1-2 working days later.
If your rent/mortgage is paid just after your payday, then a few days after that is can be a good time to aim for, so you can take out money in cash to get you through if your bank account is frozen for a few days. But often there is no very convenient time.
6. get info for the application
Read How to apply for bankruptcy online and note what info you don’t have to hand (addresses of creditors, value of your pension, details of your expenses etc) and get these together.
7. create an application with the Insolvency Service
By entering your email address and 3 security questions here. You will then be emailed your application number so you can start the application.
8. complete the application
This doesn’t all have to be done all at one sitting, you can save and return as often as you want.
9. pay the bankruptcy fees
You can pay online by credit or debit card or in cash at a bank. You can also pay by installments. See How to pay your bankruptcy fees for details.
10. submit the application
When 8 & 9 are done you can subit the application.
You will be sent an email when the Adjudicator has made a decision, this is usually within 1-2 working days. Then you can then log in and see a copy of your bankruptcy order – you are now officially bankrupt!