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Thinking about insolvency?

Free, online debt advice is available 24/7.

Get debt help now


i This advice applies across the UK.

What is insolvency?

Insolvency means you cannot afford to pay your debts in a reasonable amount of time.

There are many debt solutions you can choose if you are insolvent.

These are legally binding, which means:

  • They give you protection from the people you owe
  • They can write off some or all of your debts

Every insolvency solution is different.

  • Each has different criteria to apply
  • Often your debt total must be more than the value of your assets

We offer free debt help and support with the different types of insolvency.

UK insolvency solutions

Insolvency solutions vary depending on where you live in the UK.

Insolvency in England, Wales and Northern Ireland


  • Can help you write off debt
  • If you have no realistic chance of being able to repay

Individual voluntary arrangement (IVA):

  • Make smaller payments over 60 or 72 months
  • After this, the rest of the debt is written off

Debt relief order (DRO):

  • Can write off debt for people who have:
    • A small disposable income
    • Few assets
    • A relatively low level of debt

Insolvency in Scotland

Full administration bankruptcy:

  • The Scottish form of bankruptcy
  • Also called 'sequestration'

Minimal asset process bankruptcy (MAP):

  • Only available in Scotland
  • For people who have:
    • No disposable income
    • Few assets

Protected trust deed:

  • Only available in Scotland
  • Similar to an IVA
  • Payments usually made over four years

Find out more about different debt solutions.

How do I go insolvent?

Every insolvency option has its own application process.

In some cases, you need a government-approved money advisor to make the application. We can help you with this.

In rare cases, the people you owe can apply to a court to make you bankrupt.

  • This costs them a lot
  • They may do this if they think you have enough assets to repay your debts
  • They might not get any money if they make a person with small assets bankrupt

Contact us if you think you are about to be made bankrupt.

We can advise you what to do.

What are the effects of insolvency?

This depends on which solution you choose.

  • Many of your debts will be cancelled or 'written off'
    • As long as you follow the terms of your agreement
  • You may need to make payments to the people you owe
  • Your insolvency practitioner may sell your assets to pay back what you owe

alert iconMake sure you learn how insolvency solutions can affect you before making a choice.

Insolvency and your credit score

Insolvency is recorded on your credit file.

  • It may go on the relevant insolvency register
  • This make it harder to get new credit

Find out more about how debt affects credit files.

Insolvency register

Insolvencies are recorded in The Gazette, which can be searched online.

It includes:

  • Personal insolvencies
  • Corporate insolvencies

In Scotland:

The insolvency register has details of:

  • Current insolvencies
  • Insolvencies that ended within the last three months
  • Current restrictions (such as bankruptcy restriction orders)

Each UK country has a Register of Insolvencies.

What is the process of insolvency?

First, get free and impartial debt advice.

Find out if insolvency is a good choice for your situation

Understand how it could impact you

Follow the application process through an approved organisation

Applications vary across solutions but they all need a clear picture of your financial situation.

Your application will be dealt with by:

  • An insolvency practitioner, or
  • An approved advisor

In some cases, the people you owe may apply to make you bankrupt. But usually, you (the debtor) start the process.

mum pushing son on swing

Thinking about insolvency?

Free, online debt advice is available 24/7.

Get debt help now

UK insolvency regulators

Each country has their own regulating body and different laws.

  • The Insolvency Service regulates insolvency in England and Wales
  • A separate Insolvency Service performs the same role in Northern Ireland
  • In Scotland the Accountant in Bankruptcy administers the process of personal bankruptcy and records corporate insolvencies on behalf of the Scottish Government

Insolvency help

Use our free online debt advice tool for expert insolvency help.

This confidential service helps you:

  • Build a budget
  • See if insolvency could work for you