People often ask who they need to inform that they have gone bankrupt. 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 people yourself because it will make your life a bit easier.
Any debts where court proceedings are underway
Bankruptcy gets rid of your debts, so no court proceedings should continue. Typically this will be relevant for:
- county court judgments (CCJs); or
- charging orders.
If you know that proceedings are already underway when you go bankrupt, or if you get court papers a week or so later, then you should enter a defense to these proceedings: state that you went bankrupt in xxxxxxx court on dd/mm/yyyy, and give your bankruptcy number which you will have been told on the day of your bankruptcy petition.
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 court orders that are made after your bankruptcy set aside later, but it is just simpler to enter a defense and stop the order being made.
Any debts where bailiff enforcement has started or is threatened
If a CCJ or a Liability Order has already been granted before you went bankrupt and you think bailiffs have already been instructed or this might happen soon, then you should inform the creditor that you have gone bankrupt. This is especially important for council tax arrears, where Local Authorities are often very quick to move from a Liability Order to sending in the bailiffs. As you are already bankrupt, a CCJ from a while ago relating to a ‘consumer’ type debt such as a credit card or a loan can usually safely be ignored unless you get a letter threatening bailiff action .
If you have a pre-payment meter for electricity or gas which has got arrears loaded on to it, then you should 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.
There is no need for you to contact them – let the OR handle all that. If you are contacted by a creditor or a debt collector, letters can be safely ignored, even if they are threatening court action – they are usually bluffing. If you are phoned or a door-step collector comes round, just give them your bankruptcy details. If they continue to call, then write to them with your bankruptcy details and ask them not to contact you again.
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. If you have Direct Debits or Standing Orders set up, you should cancel them. You do not have to inform the creditor what you are doing.
What if creditors continue to call?
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 this happens, pass the details to the OR.