Make yourself bankrupt

Your duties as a bankrupt


When a bankruptcy order has been made against you, you officially become bankrupt. You will have to give up any possessions of value and your interest in your home. It will almost certainly involve the closure of any business you run and the dismissal of your employees. Your name will appear on the individual insolvency register maintained by the Bankruptcy and Chancery Office at the High Court throughout your bankruptcy.

There are a number of things you must and must not do if you're made bankrupt:

  • Give the Official Receiver (OR) a full list of your assets and details of what you owe and who to, ie your creditors, and full details of your business and personal financial affairs, eg bank statements, financial records, statements etc. You will need to contact the OR as soon as possible once the bankruptcy order has been made - the Court will give you contact details. If you do not have to go immediately to the OR's office, they will ask you questions over the telephone. You may also have to go to the OR's office at a later date.
  • Collect and hand over your assets to the OR, with all your account books, records, bank statements, insurance policies and other papers relating to your assets and debts. To read about this, see bankruptcy.
  • Tell your trustee in bankruptcy about any assets and increases in income you receive during your bankruptcy.
  • Stop using your bank and building society accounts, credit cards and similar accounts straight away.
  • Don't get credit of £500 or more from any person without first telling them that you are a bankrupt.
  • Don't make payments direct to your creditors for money that you owed before the bankruptcy order was made. The OR will tell your creditors that you are bankrupt and tell them how much money - if any - will be shared out.

When your bankruptcy ends

Generally you will automatically become free from bankruptcy - known as 'discharged' - after a maximum of 12 months. However, it could be less if the OR concludes enquiries into your financial affairs sooner and files notice of this in the High Court.

Once you are discharged from bankruptcy, you are released (freed) from your bankruptcy debts and the restrictions imposed on you under the bankruptcy order. You will no longer be considered bankrupt.

You may still have certain obligations - for example, if you are making payments under an income payments order or agreement. In some cases - eg if you have not carried out your duties under the bankruptcy proceedings - your discharge could be suspended, effectively extending your bankruptcy.