Who do you have to tell when your bankruptcy application has been approved? The answer is usually no-one, because the Official Receiver (OR) will tell all your creditors!
However this will take a few weeks, so there are some situations where you may want to tell some creditors yourself because it will make your life easier.
Any debts where court proceedings are underway
Bankruptcy gets rid of almost all of your debts, so no court proceedings should continue, including:
- Liability Orders for council tax arrears
- Claims in a county court that would lead to a county court judgment (CCJ); and
- Charging order cases in a county court.
If you know that proceedings are already underway when you go bankrupt, or if you get court papers a week or so later, then inform the creditor and enter a defense to these proceedings: state that your bankruptcy application was approved on dd/mm/yyyy, and give your bankruptcy number which will have been on the Bankruptcy Order you were sent.
If you want help to do this, then National Debtline is a great source of useful telephone advice for all matters court-related. They have a good library of information, but if you are in any doubt, phone them up.
If you don’t do this, then you will be able to get any CCJs that are made after your bankruptcy set aside later, but it is just simpler to enter a defense and stop the CCJ being made at all.
Any debts where bailiffs contact you
If you get a letter from a bailiff, you need to know what debt it relates to. If it is a CCJ or council tax arrears or a parking ticket then just tell the bailiff that you have gone bankrupt.
But magistrates court fines are not wiped out by bankruptcy. If you aren’t sure, contact National Debtline on 0808 808 4000 urgently to see if you do still have to pay this debt and, if you do, how to deal with the bailiffs.
Where you have already let a bailiff into your house before your bankruptcy and there is a controlled goods agreement (a list of your things that the bailiffs will take and sell if you don’t make the agreed payments) then you need urgent advice. Call National Debtline as soon as possible.
Halt all payments to unsecured creditors
As soon as you have gone bankrupt, you should stop making any payments to unsecured creditors – this includes credit cards, loans, payday loans, catalogue debts, utility arrears, council tax and other tax debts. You no longer owe this money. Cancel any Direct Debits or Standing Orders to creditors. You do not have to inform the creditor what you are doing, the OR will inform them about your bankruptcy.
If you have a pre-payment meter for electricity or gas which has got arrears loaded on to it, then contact the utility company and tell them your bankruptcy details. They should then remove the arrears from your meter, so all the money you add will be available to spend.
Deductions from benefits
Most benefit overpayments are included in bankruptcy but this can be complicated. If you took advice on going bankrupt from a debt advisor, you will hopefully be clear on whether your overpayments are wiped out. But if you aren’t, contact National Debtline and ask them.
If a benefit overpayment is included in your bankruptcy, then you should tell the DWP, your local council or HMRC and ask them to halt the deductions.
What if creditors contact you?
If you are contacted by a creditor or a debt collector soon after your bankruptcy, letters can be safely ignored. If you are phoned or a door-step collector comes round, just give them your bankruptcy details.
If they continue to call or write, then write to them with your bankruptcy details and ask them not to contact you again.
It is extremely rare to be pursued for a debt after bankruptcy, except in the first few weeks when either the OR may not yet have told the creditor or the creditor’s systems haven’t yet been fully updated. If a creditor persists in contacting you after you have told them you are bankrupt, pass the details to your OR.