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After bankruptcy

Cancelling bankruptcy

If you’ve been made bankrupt it’s possible, in some circumstances, to cancel this. This is known as ‘annulling’ a bankruptcy.

However, it can be very difficult or expensive to do this, so it’s important you think carefully and get full advice before going bankrupt. If you change your mind afterwards, it’ll usually be too late.

Can I annul my bankruptcy?

You can only annul your bankruptcy in the following situations:

  • If you can agree an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) instead. This may be possible if you have enough left after you’ve paid all you living expenses to make a regular payment for the next five years. You’d need to contact an insolvency practitioner (IP) who can help you offer the IVA to your creditors.
  • If you can pay back or secure all your debts and the Insolvency Service’s costs
  • If the bankruptcy shouldn’t have happened in the first place. For example, a creditor who bankrupted you didn’t follow the correct process

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How do I apply for a bankruptcy annulment?

You can apply to annul your bankruptcy if you made yourself bankrupt, or if a creditor made you bankrupt. 

  • If you’re annulling your bankruptcy because you’ve agreed an IVA instead, your insolvency practitioner (IP) will deal with the annulment.
  • If you’re annulling your bankruptcy because you can pay or secure your debts, or because it shouldn’t have happened, you’ll need to apply to the court which made you bankrupt. This is likely to be complicated so we recommend you get in touch with us to discuss it first.
  • In some cases, the official receiver who deals with your bankruptcy can annul it. For example, they may do this if they find that you had access to large pension savings at the point you went bankrupt and you could have used these to pay your debts off.

What happens after my bankruptcy is annulled?

If your bankruptcy is annulled details of your bankruptcy will be removed from the public register of insolvencies.

Your creditors will also be contacted and told about the annulment. They can begin contacting you again to ask for payment, unless an IVA has been agreed.

You’ll need to contact the three credit reference agencies with proof of the annulment to get details of the bankruptcy removed from your credit file. If you’re a homeowner, you’ll also need to inform the Land Registry, as the official receiver will have previously placed a ‘restriction’, to prevent you selling your house.

All of your property and assets become legally yours again. However, if the official receiver has already sold any of your property before the annulment, you can’t get it back.

Expert bankruptcy advice

If you’re considering bankruptcy it’s important to get proper advice first. Complete our online debt help tool for an assessment of your situation and advice on the best way forward for you.

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“I wish to thank your staff for all the great help they gave me when I was in so much debt.
They were a pillar of support to me.” (Leslie, Essex)

Foundation for Credit Counselling Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263. It is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company no:2757055). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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