We aim to make our website as accessible as possible. However if you use a screen reader and require debt advice you may find it easier to phone us instead. Our phone number is 0 8 0 0 1 3 8 1 1 1 1. Freephone (including all mobiles).

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.

This form of bankruptcy is available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Are you looking for information about bankruptcy in Scotland?

Bankruptcy is a form of insolvency that writes off debts if you can't afford to repay them, giving you a fresh start. It's a legal process that's suitable if you have little hope of repaying your debts in a reasonable amount of time.

When you make yourself bankrupt nearly all your unsecured debts are written off, which lets you make a fresh start. In some cases, your creditors can choose to make you bankrupt. However, bankruptcy has serious implications and shouldn't be undertaken lightly

With 30 years' experience offering free debt help, we'll work with you to see if bankruptcy is the right solution for you. We'll also consider a wide range of other solutions that could be suitable for your situation.

Assets such as your home or vehicle may be included in your bankruptcy.

Benefits of bankruptcy

  • Your unsecured debts will be written off, giving you a fresh start
  • Your creditors can't take any further legal action against you to recover your debts
  • They must also stop demanding payment, charging interest and adding other charges
  • You won't receive any further contact from your creditors

Risks of bankruptcy

  • Assets such as your home or vehicle may be included in your bankruptcy
  • Some jobs are affected, such as legal or financial roles
  • Bankruptcy will have a negative impact on your credit file and appear on it for six years
  • Your bankruptcy will be recorded on a public register
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Bankruptcy works differently if you live in Scotland. In Scotland, sequestration or MAP bankruptcy are similar solutions, but have different benefits, risks and fees associated with them.

How to apply for bankruptcy

  1. Your first step is to collect details about your financial situation, including your income, outgoings and debts.
  2. Then you should see if bankruptcy is the right debt solution for you. Use our online advice tool or speak to one of our expert advisors.
  3. If we recommend bankruptcy, we'll give you information on how to apply, and explain the risks and benefits of going bankrupt.

Video: What is bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a form of insolvency that writes off debts if you can't afford to repay them, giving you a fresh start. It's a legal process that's usually suitable if you have little hope of repaying your debts in a reasonable amount of time.

When you make yourself bankrupt, nearly all of your unsecured debts are written off, allowing you to you make a fresh start. Bankruptcy is available for people living in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. If you live in Scotland we’d recommend visiting our website on Sequestration, or Scottish bankruptcy.

In some cases, your creditors can choose to make you bankrupt, but this is usually as a last resort if you can’t, or won’t pay your debts back.

Because all of your debts are written off, Bankruptcy can be a good option. But, it also has some serious implications and shouldn’t be undertaken lightly. So, let’s talk about some of the benefits and risks of bankruptcy.

If you go bankrupt almost all types of debt will be written off, helping you to make a fresh start. Your creditors won’t be able to contact you, or take further action against you such as taking you to court.

Because your debts will be written off you won’t be asked to make any more payments to your debts, and interest, fees and charges will stop. That allows you to make a completely fresh start, and hopefully sounds good. However, there are many risks associated with bankruptcy that you’ll need to consider.

There is a cost to going bankrupt and you'll need to pay this fee before you apply. You can find out about these fees on our website.

If you decide to go bankrupt you may have to sell your home or your car, and you'll lose any savings or shares, although in most cases your pension savings will be safe.

If you rent your home, bankruptcy can also affect your tenancy agreement, and it might make it hard to get a new tenancy agreement. You may find that your job is affected too, especially if you work in the legal or financial sectors.

Bankruptcy will also appear on your credit file for six years. This will affect your ability to take out credit both during, and after your bankruptcy has ended and could limit your borrowing options.

Your bankruptcy will usually last for 12 months, during which time your finances are overseen by the official receiver from the Government Insolvency Service. You might also be ordered to make monthly payments to them for up to three years after your bankruptcy, if you can afford to.

You'll also face other restrictions during your bankruptcy, including the amount of money you can borrow. You won’t be able to borrow more than £500 without telling a lender that you’re bankrupt, and you must co-operate with the official receiver and give them any information they need.

And finally, its really important to get expert debt advice to make sure that bankruptcy is suitable for you and your individual situation.

We offer free debt advice online or over the phone.

We'll help you put together a realistic budget and a recommend the most suitable debt solution for you.

Frequently asked bankruptcy questions

Bankruptcy (like an IVA) is a form of insolvency and is normally only suitable if you can’t pay back your debts in a reasonable time.

Bankruptcy shouldn't taken lightly as it's a big step and any assets you own (such as your car or home) may be sold. Bankruptcy will also be registered on your credit history for six years and could affect your job.

In some cases, you're asked to make monthly payments towards your debts from your available income. This is known as an income payment agreement (IPA), and can last for three years.

You should always get expert advice before making the decision to go ahead with bankruptcy. The easiest way to find out whether bankruptcy is your best option is to use our free online advice tool.

Bankruptcy fees vary depending on where you live in the UK.

In England and Wales you pay a total of £680, made up of a £130 fee to the adjudicator and £550 to the official receiver; a total of £680.

In Northern Ireland the total cost is £683; made up of a £151 court fee, £525 bankruptcy deposit and solicitor's fees of £7.

Your debts are written off and the restrictions placed on you during your bankruptcy are usually lifted. If your bankruptcy was caused by dishonest or reckless behaviour, the official receiver can extend the bankruptcy restrictions through a bankruptcy restriction undertaking (BRU) or order (BRO). This can last up to 15 years.

The record of your bankruptcy stays on the Insolvency Register (England and Wales) or Bankruptcy Register (Northern Ireland) for a further three months after you’re discharged, or longer if you have a BRU or BRO.

You may still have to make payments towards your bankruptcy, the official receiver will decide if you have to do so.

When you go bankrupt almost all of your debts are written off, allowing you to make a fresh start. However declaring yourself bankrupt is a big step that involves fees and can impact many areas of your life, such as your job or home.

In the UK, personal bankruptcy normally lasts for a year. During this time you can’t borrow more than £500 without letting the creditor know you’re bankrupt.

You must also declare any changes in your circumstances to the official receiver.

You could be asked to sell valuable assets such as your home or car, but you’ll be able to keep the things you need for day-to-day living. Find out more about how bankruptcy affects you.

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Our bankruptcy guides

If you’re thinking about going bankrupt, there are many factors to take into consideration. You will need to clearly understand the consequences and how it affect you and those around you. Our personal bankruptcy guides have useful advice about the entire process.