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i England, Wales and Northern Ireland only

How to go bankrupt

How to go bankrupt. Guide to the process

Bankruptcy is a major step that can affect many areas of your life. It may be suitable if you cannot pay your debts in a good amount of time.

Items of value like your house or car could be sold to pay off your debts.

Bankruptcy may not be the best option for you if:

  • Your assets are worth more than your debts, or
  • Your regular payments are up to date and you can afford to keep paying them

You are subject to various credit and business restrictions when you go bankrupt.

The rules around debt relief orders (DRO) have changed. These changes could benefit those considering an insolvency solution like bankruptcy. Please take a look at the changes, as for some people a DRO will be a cheaper alternative to full bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy is not the best solution for everyone. You must seek expert debt advice before you go bankrupt.

Do you live in Scotland? Visit our page on sequestration (Scottish bankruptcy).

How can I apply for bankruptcy?

England and Wales

You make yourself bankrupt by:

In Northern Ireland

You make yourself bankrupt by:

  • Submitting an online application
  • Paying the bankruptcy fees
  • Going to a court hearing

The people you owe cannot take any further action against you to recover the debt once you go bankrupt.

At the end, most of your debts are written off.

What is an official receiver?

The Official Receiver (OR) is an officer from the Insolvency Service who administers your bankruptcy.

The OR works with a staff of case examiners and will contact the people you owe to tell them about your bankruptcy.

Letters and phone calls from the people you owe should stop after the bankruptcy. They cannot ask your for payments once you are bankrupt.

Let your OR know if calls or letters continue.

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Worried about bankruptcy?

Free, online debt advice available now.

Get debt help

What debts can I include in my bankruptcy application?

You can usually include the following debts in your bankruptcy application:

  • Unsecured debts like:
  • Credit cards
  • Personal loans
  • Overdrafts
  • Priority household arrears, like council tax
  • County Court judgments
  • Benefit overpayments

What forms do I need to go bankrupt?

You can apply for bankruptcy online.

In Northern Ireland you can apply through the Insolvency Service Public Portal. But you have to attend a court hearing.

Each section explains what information is need and can be completed in your own time.

Get help now

Get free online debt advice to find out if bankruptcy is the best option for you.

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