Who do you have to tell when your bankruptcy application has been approved?
You don’t have to tell anyone!
All the debts listed on your bankruptcy application will be informed by the Official Receiver (OR) that you are now bankrupt.
But this takes a few weeks, so there are some situations where it’s good to tell a creditor yourself because it will make your life easier.
Debts you have been paying
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.
Payments you are making
If you are paying by Direct Debits or Standing Order, cancel all these.
Don’t have to ask the creditor if you can do this, the bankruptcy rules say you have to.
You don’t need to write or phone the creditor to explain why. The OR will inform them about your bankruptcy.
If you have a pre-payment meter for electricity or gas which has arrears loaded on to it, contact the utility company and tell them your bankruptcy details. They should 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.
Where a benefit overpayment is included in your bankruptcy, then you should tell the DWP, your local council or HMRC and ask them to stop deducting money from your Universal Credit or other benefits.
If they refuse to stop deducting money, go to your local Citizens Advice and ask for help to get this resolved. This doesn’t often happen.
What if creditors contact you?
If you are phoned or a door-step collector comes round, just give them your bankruptcy details: “I went bankrupt on dd/mm/yy and my bankruptcy number is 999999.”
Letter from a lender or a debt collector soon after your bankruptcy can usually be ignored – either the OR may not yet have told the creditor or the creditor’s systems haven’t yet been fully updated yet.
One exception is if you get a Letter before Claim/Action, this is a special letter that has to be sent before a court case is started. It’s a bit easier to reply giving your bankruptcy details now than have to stop the court case.
If a creditor continues to call or write, then write or email them with your bankruptcy details and ask them not to contact you again. After this it is extremely rare to be contacted further, this isn’t something you need to worry about.
If a creditor keeps contacting you after you have told them you are bankrupt, pass the details to your OR.
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 a court case has already started, tell the creditor and enter a defence to these proceedings: state that your bankruptcy application was approved on dd/mm/yyyy, and give your bankruptcy number, this is on the Bankruptcy Order you were sent.
National Debtline is a great source of advice for all matters court-related. They have a good library of information, but if you are in any doubt, phone them up or use their webchat.
If you don’t do this and you get a CCJ after you are bankrupt, you can get this “set aside” – the legal term for cancelled – but it is just simpler to enter a defence and stop the CCJ being made in the first place.
Debts with a bailiff
If you get a letter from a bailiff, you need to know what debt it relates to:
- if it is a CCJ, council tax arrears or a parking ticket then tell the bailiff that you have gone bankrupt.
- 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 in and they have made a controlled goods agreement – this is 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.