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Bankruptcy option explained

In this blog, we are seeking to expose some of the misinformation that exists regarding bankruptcy.

We expect that these 17 myths listed below have been created by deceptive people who have an agenda to mislead or simply do not know what they are talking about.

If you have any questions on any of these myths or anything else, you have been told you are welcome to give us a call on 1300 060 122 or email helpdesk@nichollsco.com.au and we will answer your questions without obligation.

# You will never be able to borrow money again if you become bankrupt.

Incorrect, bankruptcy only remains on your credit record for two years after you are discharged from bankruptcy. Further, a lot of people commence rebuilding their credit records while bankrupt. If this interests you, we recommend our article ‘How to Improve Your Credit Score When Bankrupt’, which can be accessed here.

# You will not be able to travel overseas if you become bankrupt.

Incorrect, you can travel overseas during bankruptcy for work or holidays, but you do have the inconvenience of obtaining your trustee’s written consent for your travel. Overseas travel is a human right. You would have to be doing something very wrong for the trustee to be precluded from approving your travel.

# Bank debt still has to be paid if you become bankrupt.

Incorrect, bank unsecured debt is captured by your bankruptcy. Further, you are not required to continue payments on secured debt if you do not wish to continue using the financed goods. Any shortfall on the financed goods would be caught by your bankruptcy.

# Monies owing to the Australian Taxation Office still must be paid if you become bankrupt.

Incorrect, tax debts are caught by your bankruptcy and are gone permanently. If you have outstanding tax returns to lodge, these will have to be lodged. If your outstanding returns are lodged after you have become bankrupt, all tax debt up till when you become bankrupt, created from those returns will be caught by your bankruptcy. Taxes owing for the period up until the date of your bankruptcy will be written off by the ATO.

# You will definitely lose your home if you become bankrupt.

Incorrect, it is very common for the co-owner to not want to lose the home and buy out the interest of the bankrupt estate in the property. If you have a home, it would be worth your while to call Nicholls & Co on 1300 060 122 or email helpdesk@nichollsco.com.au to discuss your specific circumstances and options we identify available to you.

# You are better off to bunker down, struggle and pay off your debts over time.

Incorrect, continued financial pressure that has no end will inhibit your financial progression. It can cause relationship problems, health problems and has the potential to destroy all aspects of your life. Not only does bankruptcy save lives, but it can also have a positive impact on your life – removing stress, putting your financial problems behind you, and creating the opportunity for you to regroup and get going again without being inhibited by debts you cannot pay. Bankruptcy has significant benefits not just for you but also for society. It is in everyone’s interest for you to be working productively, paying taxes, fit, well, and in a happy relationship. Continued financial problems can take all of that away from you.

# Your spouse will be liable to pay your debts if you become bankrupt.

Incorrect, your spouse is not liable for your debts and is only liable for debts jointly incurred or guaranteed in writing. Likewise, the liabilities of your spouse can not be included in your bankruptcy unless the debt was jointly incurred, or you guaranteed the debt in writing.

# Married couples must both file for bankruptcy.

Incorrect, marriage has nothing to do with it. Only the person with the debt would need to become bankrupt.

# You will lose everything if you file for bankruptcy.

Incorrect, your essential assets are protected. This includes your household furniture and effects, vehicles up to a threshold value, tools of trade up to a threshold value, and all statutory superannuation you have accumulated over time. What is more, during bankruptcy you can save from your wages in your ordinary bank account and statutory superannuation paid by your employer to your super fund is not available to your bankrupt estate.

# Once you are discharged from bankruptcy, you will be required to recommence payment of your debts.

Incorrect, debts caught by your bankruptcy are gone permanently.

# Everyone will know that you are bankrupt.

Incorrect, your bankruptcy is not advertised in the newspapers. It is recorded on your credit record for five years, but your credit record is not available to the public. It is recorded on the National Personal Insolvency Index (NPII)which is maintained by AFSA. There is an obscure chance that a member of the public could pay a fee to search the NPII to see if your name is on it. The persons who would typically be notified of your bankruptcy would be your creditors, solicitor, accountant, and bank.

# You cannot file for bankruptcy if you are employed.

Incorrect, your employment has nothing to do with you filing for bankruptcy. What’s more, your employer will not know about your bankruptcy unless your employer is owed money, you own shares in your employer’s business or you refuse to provide your trustee with details of your employment and your trustee has to go to your employer for that information. If your employment requires a specific registration, you should check to make sure bankruptcy would not have implications for that registration.

# You cannot file for bankruptcy if you earn over the threshold amount.

Incorrect, if you earn over the after-tax threshold amount you can file for bankruptcy. If your income exceeds the threshold amount, your after-tax income up to that threshold amount plus half of the excess is protected for you. The other half of the excess amount is paid to your bankrupt estate. If your after-tax income exceeds your threshold amount and would like to check what income contributions you would have to pay, call us on 1300 060 122 or email helpdesk@nichollsco.com.au and we will organise for the Nicholls & Co income assessment team to run your numbers and let you know what income contributions you would have to pay if you proceed to become bankrupt.

# To become bankrupt, you will need to go to Court.

Incorrect, to become bankrupt you must complete a 23-page Form that documents your financial affairs and is lodged with the Australian Financial Security Authority. If you have a simple bankruptcy and do not need Nicholls & Co to administer your bankruptcy, we can assist you to complete and lodge your 23 page Form for a fixed fee of $330. If your bankruptcy will have assets to be realised or income contributions and you would like Nicholls & Co to administer your bankruptcy, we will assist you to complete and lodge your 23 page Form without charge. If this interests you, give us a call Nicholls & Co on 1300 060 122 or email helpdesk@nichollsco.com.au.

# Creditors must give their approval for you to become bankrupt.

Incorrect, if you are unable to pay your debts as and when they fall due and you are present in Australia you can file for bankruptcy. If you are presently overseas you can file without returning to Australia if you own property or operate a business in Australia.

# You must attend a meeting of your creditors when you become bankrupt.

Incorrect, it is extremely rare for a meeting of creditors to be held – meetings are done electronically without a physical meeting being held.

# When you become bankrupt the trustee will attend your house and inspect your possessions.

Incorrect, the trustee does not turn up at your house. Your household furniture and effects are protected for you. What is more, second-hand furniture is essentially unsaleable, so it makes no commercial sense for the trustee to turn up at your house.

We hope we have helped you. We are here to help you Understand Bankruptcy. If you would like to discuss your situation or anything you have been told about bankruptcy, give us a call Nicholls & Co on 1300 060 122 or email helpdesk@nichollsco.com.au.

If you would like Nicholls & Co to help you with your bankruptcy or further information on the services of Nicholls & Co or a complimentary copy of our eBook, please call us on 1300 060 122 or email helpdesk@nichollsco.com.au.

For details on the services Nicholls & Co provides, click here.

 

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…… your understanding and help along the way means a real lot to myself and my family and reinvigorates my belief in decent people and humanity as a whole    ……

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…… our sincere appreciation goes to Nicole and Alan Nicholls for the assistance they gave us at the very critical moment when our destiny was at the crossroads. We are going to cherish that moment for a long, long time to come  …..

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Alan Nicholls’ no obligation help desk

Nicholls & Co provide a free, no obligation ‘help desk’ for people considering bankruptcy – we discuss and explain bankruptcy and answer questions for anyone who is considering bankruptcy. The Nicholls & Co help desk can be accessed by phone  
1300 060 122  or helpdesk@nichollsco.com.au . Alan Nicholls, Registered Trustee in Bankruptcy is also available to answer your questions to enable you to decide if bankruptcy is right for you.