Generally, financial matters can be both complicated and stressful to deal with. It is recommendable that you consult an experienced debt advisor if you are struggling with making your repayments on time.
The right solution will depend on your circumstances, below is information on debt solutions available to residents of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
DEBT MANAGEMENT PLAN (DMP)
The proposed monthly repayment is based on what you can reasonably afford and is arrived at after an analysis of your monthly budget.
Unlike most debt solutions, there is no set duration for a DMP. This is because the plan may differ depending on your circumstances, your total outstanding debts, and the amount of your payment each month.
Your DMP provider will inform you the proposed duration of your plan your plan begins.
A DMP is a flexible and informal debt solution which is appropriate for you if you are struggling to pay back debts above £1,000. Payments in a Debt Management Plan start from £80 per month depending on your affordability.
Most DMP providers will not charge you any upfront fees to set up the Plan. It is important to note that your DMP can be terminated any time your plans change.
If you believe a DMP is the right solution for you, you can also seek help directly by contacting one of the free services such as the Money Helper.
DEBT RELIEF ORDER (DRO)
ALL THE ESSENTIAL DETAILS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT A DRO
DRO stands for Debt Relief Order. It is a debt solution that allows your unsecured debts to be written off if you have a relatively low level of debt and a few assets. A Debt Relief Order is usually simpler and less costly than bankruptcy.
A Debt Relief Order is only available to residents of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. I
WHAT EXACTLY IS A DRO?
A DRO is a type of formal insolvency which is ideal for those with a debt level that is less than £30,000, low assets and low income. It is often a favoured alternative to an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) for those who are not eligible due to their debt level or affordability.
Unlike the significantly higher application fees involved in bankruptcy, to apply for a Debt Relief Order you only pay a fee of £90 and if approved, you will no longer need to make any payments towards any debts included in the DRO (Debt Relief Order).
If your financial situation has not changed within 12 months of the DRO being approved, then your debts will be written off.
If however within the 12 month period you circumstances change such that you no longer meet the required criteria, the DRO will fail and you may have to seek an alternative resolution to your financial difficulties.
Debt Relief Order applications are put forward to and considered by the Official Receiver via an approved intermediary. You cannot apply directly to the Official Receiver yourself.
You can find and book and appointment with an approved intermediary at most Citizens Advice centres. They will conduct an assessment and, if appropriate refer your application to the Official Receiver.
- Total debts below £30,000
- No less than £75 “surplus” income available per month to pay your debts (after all reasonable household living costs are accounted for)
- If you own a vehicle (unless specially adapted for disability) it’s value must be below £2,000
- You have assets of below £2,000 in value.
- You do not own your own home.
INDIVIDUAL VOLUNTARY ARRANGEMENT (IVA)
IVA stands for Individual Voluntary Arrangement. It is a formal arrangement that allows you to make affordable payments to your debts, usually within 5 to 6 years. At the end of the IVA term, all qualifying unsecured debts will be written off.
Even though an IVA is a formal insolvency procedure it is very different from bankruptcy. It must be set up by a qualified debt expert, known as an Insolvency Practitioner (IP).
In most cases, the Insolvency Practitioner will charge you a fee for the IVA. The average fees and legal charges to third parties are around £3,650. However typically these fees are not taken up front but come out as a percentage or share of the money you pay into the arrangement once it is in place, before the funds are passed on to your creditors.
You will be required to make regular monthly payments at an agreed level to your IP, who acts as the supervisor of the IVA. The IP will then make all payments to your creditors. The amount you pay is dictated by your affordability. The core principle of the IVA is that the payment is affordable, based on your other essential domestic expenditure needs.
Instead of struggling with making many unaffordable debt payments to creditors, an IVA allows you to make a single payment each month, which is then dividend among all the creditors listed in the IVA. The amount each creditor gets depends on the total amount you owe them, and they all receive an equal proportionate share.
AM I ELIGIBLE FOR AN INDIVIDUAL VOLUNTARY ARRANGEMENT?
Individual Voluntary Arrangements are an ideal option for people with multiple creditors. There is a potential to write off more than 90% of your debts, however the amount debt forgiveness will depend on how much you owe and how much you can afford to pay in.
Minimum requirements you need to qualify for an IVA with us:
- You have at least two different lenders you owe money to.
- You reside in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland.
- You have sufficient funds spare for IVA payments each month.
These criteria are a guide only. Suitability for an IVA will be fully assessed prior to proceeding with an application. Even if you do meet these requirements, an Individual Voluntary Arrangement is not always guaranteed as its approval is dependent on the acceptance by your creditors.
BANKRUPTCY – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Bankruptcy can be an ideal option if you are struggling with debts. In the United Kingdom, bankruptcy works differently depending on where you are located. If you are Scottish resident, consider applying for sequestration (Scottish Bankruptcy), If you live in Wales or England, you should consider Bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy is a legal solution to get rid of all your debts. It is often only considered when other options have failed since the consequences can be severe.
Bankruptcy is administered by a person known as a trustee if you are a Scottish resident, elsewhere in the UK it is handled in the first instance by the Official Receiver, who will then only appoint a Trustee if they believe it to be warranted.
It is highly advisable that you seek professional advice before filing for bankruptcy.
WHAT EXACTLY IS BANKRUPTCY?
Bankruptcy is a legally binding debt solution that is often as a last resort if you are unable to pay your debts in a reasonable amount of time. It is a formal insolvency procedure for citizens of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Bankruptcy can involve the sale of your valuable assets to raise money to pay back what you owe. You may also be required to raise a monthly contribution towards your debts for up to 3 years if you have sufficient surplus income.
The Official Receiver or Trustee hold will need to investigate your financial history, and there can be consequences if you are found to have contributed to your bankruptcy by for example preferring one creditor over another or disposing of significant assets for less than their true value.
At the end of the bankruptcy period, all your debts are written off and you can rebuild your life afresh.
In many cases a bankruptcy can be the quickest way to become debt free.
Applications are done via the government website and there is no longer a need to attend court when applying.
You’ll need to pay £680 if you decide to apply for bankruptcy. You can pay in installments, but you’ll need to pay the whole amount before you submit your bankruptcy application. If you’re struggling to raise the bankruptcy application fee, you might be able to apply for a grant or get help from a charity.
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