IVA - Individual Voluntary Arrangement - Not Available In Scotland
What Is An IVA?
An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (or ‘IVA’) is a legal agreement between a debtor and their creditors, suitable if you have a minimum of £5,000 of qualifying unsecured debt, owed to two or more creditors, and are struggling to keep up with debt payments. It enables you to prepare an offer (known as a ‘Proposal’) of what you can realistically afford to repay over an agreed period of time, typically five or six years. This offer needs to be agreed/approved by 75% of your creditors (by value) in order to be put in place.
On completion of an IVA, remaining balances on your included debts are written off.
Benefits Of An IVA
- No upfront payment is required to access an IVA. A Nominee and Supervisory fee are both payable once the solution is active. These are taken from the monthly contributions you pay into the IVA.
- Your property is protected on an IVA (as long as you keep up with the mortgage/any secured loan payments)
- Your creditors will not be able to continue with, or start, any legal action against you relating to your debt once your IVA is approved. Apart from sending you regular statements, your creditors will not be able to call or send you any post regarding your debts.
- When entering an IVA, a full review of your income and outgoings will be completed with you to work out how much you can actually afford to pay towards your debts each month, regardless of the amount you are currently paying. Once your IVA is approved, you will pay this single, affordable monthly payment to your IVA Company each month.
- An IVA can be varied to meet your needs (subject to creditor agreement) should circumstances change.
- In most cases, the term of an IVA is set at five years, however in some cases it can be extended to 6 years.
Drawbacks Of An IVA
- An IVA will negatively affect your credit rating/score and you will have limited access to credit until your IVA has completed, which could mean that you pay higher rates of interest until your credit rating is restored.
- Not all debts can be included in an IVA, for example student loans, child support and maintenance, magistrate court fines and social fund loans.
- An IVA is a matter of public record – the public can access details of your IVA on the Insolvency Service website.
- An IVA may impact your employment; we always recommend checking your employment contract. Until you have successfully completed your IVA, you may not be permitted to hold certain public offices or continue as the director of a limited company.
- Homeowners will be expected to try and remortgage towards the end of their IVA and if affordable, release additional funds to be paid into the IVA. This remortgage may attract higher interest rates than your previous mortgage rate. If a remortgage isn’t possible, the term of your IVA may be extended by one year, during which you may be required to make additional payments.
- If you fail to maintain your IVA repayments or obligations, your IVA could fail and your creditors may decide to order bankruptcy proceedings.
- There are restrictions on the expenditure of those who enter into an IVA.
How The Process Works
- Step #1 – You First Call/Contact Us
When you contact us for help, we go through your finances and assess your eligibility for an IVA. If you are eligible, we will request the necessary documents from you and refer you to a registered Insolvency Practitioner - these are specialists qualified to administer and manage IVAs.
- Step #2 – Preparing Your IVA Proposal
Your IVA Proposal is drafted and prepared. This details the proposed reduced payments to your creditors. You will be given the opportunity to check your draft IVA Proposal and agree to its contents before it is submitted to your creditors.
- Step #3 – Meeting With Creditors
This is the point where creditors look at your Proposal and decide whether they wish to agree to its terms, or not. Your creditors do not have to agree, however if the majority of your creditors (by value) do agree to the terms of your proposed IVA, the minority who declined your IVA will still be bound by its terms.
- Step #4 – Your IVA Results
If your IVA is approved, your discussed IVA payments will begin. Your included creditors will no longer be able to chase you for debt payments and interest and charges on included debts will be frozen at this point. Should your IVA be unsuccessful, you will be contacted to discuss alternative debt solutions to help you manage your financial situation.
Call us today and we will provide you with confidential, friendly and non-judgemental debt advice that is tailored to you and your own individual circumstances.
PTD - Protected Trust Deed - Scotland Only
What Is A Protected Trust Deed?
Protected Trust Deeds, or ‘PTDs’, are exclusively available to residents of Scotland who are finding it difficult to repay their unsecured debts of over £5,000 (if you live elsewhere in the UK, an IVA is a similar solution). The solution offers a structured repayment plan and way out of unmanageable debt situations, but applicants need to meet specific criteria in order to qualify.
A Protected Trust Deed is a legally binding agreement made with your unsecured creditors to make reduced monthly debt repayments at an affordable rate over a set period (generally 4 years). Outstanding balances on debts included in your PTD are usually written off at the end of the term.
Advantages Of A Protected Trust Deed (PTD)
- A PTD usually has a fixed term of 4 years and at the end of the PTD any outstanding balances on included debts will be written off.
- The monthly payments you make into a PTD are based on a completed assessment of your income and expenditure, so should always be affordable to you.
- A PTD offers you legal protection from your included creditors and once in place, your creditors cannot contact you regarding payments to your debts.
- The fees for the management of your PTD are incorporated into your affordable monthly payments, so there are no upfront payments to make or large sums to find.
Drawbacks Of A Protected Trust Deed (PTD)
- Your creditors do not have to agree to your proposed PTD.
- Once in a PTD, your credit file and your ability to obtain credit may be negatively affected for a period of 6 years.
- If you are a homeowner, you may need to release equity from the value of your home to pay towards your debts. A remortgage may attract higher interest rates or, if no remortgage is available, your PTD may be extended for 12 months.
- There are restrictions on the expenditure of a person who enters into a Protected Trust Deed.
- Any debts not included in your PTD will remain outstanding and you will need to continue to manage these yourself.
- A PTD can impact on certain jobs, such as those in finance and the Civil Service - if you are unsure check your employment contract.
- A PTD is a formal insolvency procedure. Failure to keep up to date with PTD payments may result in your creditors filing for your bankruptcy, which they can do without your consent.
How Protected Trust Deed (PTD) Works
A Protected Trust Deed has two stages – ‘unprotected’ and ‘protected’. During the application stage of the process, you remain ‘unprotected’, which means that your creditors can still pursue you for payment of debts. Once a Trust Deed gains creditor approval, the creditors of the included debts must stop pursuing you for repayments.
If after our financial assessment you feel that a Protected Trust Deed is the most appropriate debt solution for you, we will refer you to an Insolvency Practitioner. Only a licensed Insolvency Practitioner can arrange and supervise a Protected Trust Deed, and he/she will prepare the documents necessary. Your case will then be prepared and presented by the Insolvency Practitioner to your creditors. If your creditors agree to the terms presented, the Trust Deed will be approved and become a Protected Trust Deed.
Am I Eligible For A Protected Trust Deed (PTD)?
To qualify for a PTD:
- You must be a resident of Scotland.
- You must have at least £5,000 of qualifying unsecured debt.
- You must have an income that doesn’t exclusively consist of benefits.
- You must be able to stick to the agreed monthly payments for the duration of your PTD’s term.
If you would like help and professional debt advice, please contact one of our specialist debt advisors here at Write off My Debt. We can review your circumstances to provide advice tailored to you and your needs, helping you to find the most appropriate solution for your individual situation.
DMP - Debt Management Plan - Not Available In Scotland
Are you struggling to keep up with your monthly unsecured debt repayments? One solution to resolve this issue may be a Debt Management Plan, also known as DMP, to help reduce monthly unsecured debt payments to a manageable and affordable level.
Your living costs may have increased or your financial situation may have changed since taking out your credit commitments, resulting in you having less money available each month to maintain debt payments. No matter what the reason for your difficulties, a Debt Management Plan may be a suitable option to help you to regain financial control. However, DMPs don’t include any secured loans such as your mortgage, and you would have to pay for those separately.
What Is A DMP?
Debt Management Plans (DMPs) help those who are struggling to repay their monthly non-priority debt payments (such as loans, store cards and credit cards). A DMP is an informal arrangement, so payment levels can be changed if your financial situation alters, and you can cancel at any time if you wish to take over the management of your debts yourself.
The initial stages of a DMP involve your DMP company reviewing your income and expenses, working out how much you can actually afford to contribute towards your debts each month and then creating a realistic ongoing payment plan. They will contact your creditors to negotiate with them on your behalf to reduce your monthly payments to a rate that you can afford, though this will usually extend the term of your contracted repayment plan. Creditors will usually agree (and sometimes will also agree to reduce or even freeze interest and charges) to a DMP as this means they are more likely to receive a regular payment from you and to receive repayment for your debts in full. Some DMP companies are fee-charging, while others are fee-free – it is important that you understand which type of DMP company you sign up with.
Benefits Of A DMP (Debt Management Plan)
- You pay a lower, affordable, monthly payment to your DMP company, who (after taking their management fees, if they are fee-charging) will divide and distribute this appropriately between your creditors.
- Your DMP company may be able to negotiate for your included creditors to reduce or freeze your interest and charges. However, this cannot be guaranteed.
- A DMP is informal and flexible, so your debt repayments can be changed if your financial circumstances change.
- Having a set payment to your DMP each month will help you budget what’s left for your usual living costs.
- Your DMP company will deal with your included creditors for you, which some customers find reduces financial pressure.
Drawbacks of a DMP
- Reducing your monthly payments each month with a DMP usually means you will be repaying your debts for a longer period of time
- Your creditors may not agree to your DMP company’s attempts to negotiate a lower repayment.
- Your creditors may not wish to reduce or freeze interest and charges.
- Reducing your monthly payments means you are not meeting the payments agreed in your original credit contracts, which can negatively affect your credit rating and your ability to obtain credit.
- There are fee-free DMPs available, however if you choose a fee-charging DMP company, you will usually be charged for their services monthly within your usual DMP payment. Fees vary between DMP companies.
Taking Out A Debt Management Plan (DMP)
- To be considered for a DMP, you will usually need to be able to afford to pay at least £80 towards your debts each month. We can help you work this out by completing a financial review with you.
- Some debts cannot be included in a DMP, such as student loans, tax, fines, current gas and electric utilities, current council tax, child support and selected benefits.
DAS - Debt Arrangement Scheme - Scotland only
The Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) is a way to manage your unaffordable and unsecured debts. DAS is a formal scheme that’s only available to residents of Scotland and it isn’t applicable anywhere else in the UK.
DAS was introduced by the Scottish Government in 2004 as an alternative to formal insolvency, and was created for those who are finding it difficult to meet current debt repayments, but feel that they could repay their debts in full if they had more time. The DAS involves a Debt Payment Programme (‘DPP’) which extends the term of included debts over a reasonable period (usually a maximum 12 years), reducing and combining the monthly payments of these debts into a single, affordable amount each month.
Is A Debt Arrangement Scheme Suitable For You?
To qualify for a DAS, you must meet the criteria below:
- You are living in Scotland
- You are struggling to make your monthly debt repayments
- You could repay debts in full, usually within a maximum 12 years, if you had a more affordable monthly repayment plan.
- You have been provided debt advice by a DAS approved adviser
- You are not already in a PTD, bankrupt or subject to a bankruptcy order
- You have some disposable income to pay towards your debts after deduction of normal household expenses
Applying For DAS As A Couple
Do you want to apply for DAS (Debt Arrangement Scheme) as a couple? Then, you must both agree to the DAS proposal, though you do not need to have any joint debts. You will be considered as a couple if:
- You are married
- You are living together as a married couple
- You are civil partners
Advantages Of Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)
- You get more time to repay your debts.
- Your monthly debt repayment amount is based on your own affordability.
- Your assets are generally not included in a DAS.
- A DAS offers you legal protection from your included creditors taking enforcement action against you relating to your included debts.
- Interest and charges on included debts will be frozen upon DAS approval.
- Once a DAS is in place, your creditors cannot legally chase for additional payments and you do not need to deal with your creditors yourself. Your Money Advisor handles all DAS negotiations and after approval, a Payments Distributor arranges the payments.
- You do not declare yourself insolvent. With DAS, you are setting up a statutory payment plan and there is no insolvency at all.
A Few Drawbacks Of DAS
- You must go through a Money Advisor to get a DAS – you cannot set up a DAS directly yourself.
- You must be a permanent resident in Scotland
- You can only make one application a year, so if your DAS application is rejected you will have to find an alternative solution or wait 12 months before reapplying.
- Your credit file will be affected for 6 years and your ability to obtain credit may be limited.
- You will be on the scheme until your debts are paid off.
- Some money advisors may charge a setup fee. 10% of your monthly payments are also taken as fees – 8% by your chosen Payments Distributor and 2% by the Accountant in Bankruptcy.
Our advisors can provide you with advice on Debt Arrangement Schemes (DAS) and other solutions appropriate to your individual financial situation. Please contact us for friendly, discreet and non-judgemental tailored debt advice.
DRO - Debt Relief Order - Not Available In Scotland
What Is A DRO?
A Debt Relief Order is designed to help those in England, Northern Ireland or Wales (Scottish residents have a similar process called MAP Bankruptcy) with few assets and less than £50 spare income each month to regain control of unmanageable debt. If you don’t own a home, don’t have much spare income, your car is worth £1000 or less and your debt total is under £20,000, a Debt Relief Order (DRO) may be the right option for you.
Benefits of a DRO
- A Debt Relief Order is a formal solution so once in place, your creditors cannot chase you for payments.
- As long as your financial situation doesn’t improve, all debts in your DRO will be written off after one year.
- During the 12 months the DRO is in place, you will not be required to make any payments towards the included debts.
- A DRO has a relatively low set-up cost of £90.
- Interest and charges relating to debts including in the DRO will have no effect on you as these will be cleared (along with your outstanding balances on these debts) upon successful completion of your DRO.
Drawbacks of A DRO
- A Debt Relief Order will affect your credit rating and your ability to gain credit will be limited. A DRO will remain on your credit file for 6 years.
- A Debt Relief Order can impact on certain jobs – please check your employment contract.
- If your circumstances improve during the 12 months, the debts could be reverted back to you and interest and charges will still be payable.
- You cannot have more than £1000 worth of assets .
- It is a criminal offence to falsify information on a DRO.
Are You Eligible For A DRO?
To qualify for a DRO, you must meet the below criteria:
- You can’t repay your debts
- Your debts are no more than £20,000
- You can only spare £50 or less towards your debts each month after your usual household expenses
- You don’t own a home
- Your assets (savings or valuable things you own) are worth less than £1,000. A few assets aren’t considered in this allowance.
- If you own a car, this is worth £1000 or less (Those with a disability may have a different allowance)
- You haven’t had a Debt Relief Order, IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement), Bankruptcy, or any other another formal insolvency process in the last six years.
- You have lived, worked or ran a business in England, Northern Ireland or Wales in the last 3 years.
Applying for A DRO
You are required to only apply for a Debt Relief Order through an Insolvency Service Service-accredited intermediary. To see if you are eligible for this solution, contact us for a full review of your financial situation is conductedand to ensure that this is definitely the most suitable solution for you. If this is the case, Then, an application is send sent to the Official Receiver, along with your £90 fee.
Once your Debt Relief Order is granted, you will stop making any payments towards the debts included. Creditors may still continue to apply interest and charges throughout your DRO, but these will not matter (unless your DRO is cancelled) as these will be wiped off at the end of your 12 months.
However, you must inform the Official Receiver, if you have a change in your financial situation in this 12 months period, e.g. for example, an increase in income/benefits or a windfall such as an inheritance, receipt of compensation funds or, a pay rise, lottery win, you MUST inform the Official Receiver etc. Then, It will then be decided whether you still qualify for a DRO or if you can now afford to contribute more than £50 per month towards your debts. If this is the case, your DRO should continue or not. A DRO it will be revoked and you will be required to pay your creditors yourself., if you no longer qualify for it.
During your Debt Relief Order, though you will not need to contribute towards your included debts, you must still continue to pay for your essential household bills like mortgage/rent, council tax, utilities and any debts which aren’t included in a DRO.
If you are finding it difficult to keep up with your debt payments, please contact one of our friendly, non-judgemental specialist debt advisors today, if you’re facing troubles to repay your debts.
Important Note: DRO is only available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. who can assess your financial situation and help you find the most appropriate debt solution for your needs.
Bankruptcy - Not Available In Scotland
Are you immersed in the sea of debts and finding it really difficult to repay? One of your options for resolving your debt problem is to report for bankruptcy.Apart from you, even your creditor can apply to make you bankrupt, even if you don’t want them to do it. You must owe at least £5,000, if a creditor wants to make you bankrupt.
What Is Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy can be defined as a formal insolvency process that may have critical and long-lasting effects on a person. It needs to be considered only after serious thoughts and discussions with an expert. Bankruptcy becomes an option in cases where existing debts exceed your existing income and assets. Also, there’s little possibility of repaying it within a specific time.
Your debts will be written off after you file for bankruptcy, but your long term financial plans may get affected negatively. There’s a high possibility that you may lose control of valuable assets, and have to make contributions from your income for up to 3 years.
Benefits Of Applying For Bankruptcy
You can make a fresh start after the bankruptcy order gets completed. In many scenarios, this can happen in a year. Here are some other benefits of applying for bankruptcy:
- The money you owe can usually be written off.
- You won’t have to deal with your creditors anymore, so a lot of pressure is taken off from your shoulders.
- A few things such as household goods and a reasonable amount to survive are allowed to be kept.
- After a bankruptcy order, creditors have to stop many types of court action to get their money back.
Drawbacks Of Going Bankrupt
You’ll need to pay a fee to apply for bankruptcy. Here are a few other drawbacks of going bankrupt:
- If you own a business, then it might be closed down and its assets are sold or auctioned.
- A few of your valuables or possessions might be sold, like your car and any luxury items you own.
- If you own your home, it might be sold. However, you can apply at your local authority for re-housing.
- It will be hard for you to take out credit, while you're in the bankruptcy period and your credit rating will go down for 6 years.
- For 3 years, you’re supposed to make repayments towards your debts, if your income is high enough.
- Your immigration status might get affected due to bankruptcy.
- Some professions don’t allow bankrupt people to carry on with the work.
- Your pension savings, might be taken off.
- Your bankruptcy is supposed to be advertised publicly, although if you’re concerned about the safety of you or your family, then you can ask that your contact details aren’t disclosed.
What Happens At The End Of Bankruptcy?
Normally, after a year your bankruptcy period will end. When it is over, you’ll be notified by the Official Receiver. Most debts that weren’t paid will be written off, however a few debts such as student loans and court fines can never be written off.
Sequestration - Scotland only
Sequestration is a type of bankruptcy that is applicable only in Scotland. Bankruptcy and sequestration are very similar to each other. Sequestration is a way for Scottish residents with unmanageable or out of control debt situations to end the pressure. If you’re living in Scotland and facing significant financial troubles, sequestration may be an option for you.
What Is Sequestration?
You (or your creditors) can apply for sequestration if:
- You are Scottish, or living/residing in Scotland for the past 12 months
- You owe more than £1,500 in unsecured debts
- You’re unable to repay your debts.
Usually Sequestration lasts for just one year (but not in every case), but it can have a major effect on your life.
How Does Sequestration Work?
Sequestration is a court-based insolvency procedure in which the control of your assets is given to a ‘Trustee’ who will be fully authorised to sell any of your assets (such as your home, vehicles or other high value items), with some exceptions. These steps are taken in order to help pay for the cost of managing your case and to repay your creditors as much as possible towards your outstanding debts. Remember, you may still be asked to contribute towards your debts by making a payment from your income, even after the sequestration period is over (generally a one-year timescale). As well as applying for your own sequestration, your creditors can also petition the Sheriff Court or Court of Session for your sequestration.
Benefits Of Sequestration
- You can pay off your debt quickly - provided you co-operate fully, your Trustee may grant your discharge at the end of one year.
- Your included debts will be written off once you have been discharged.
- Your Trustee (this may be an IP or the Accountant in Bankruptcy) will contact your creditors on your behalf - creditors won’t contact you anymore and you will stop being chased for repayment of debts.
- If you are receiving welfare benefits, these will not be classed as income for the purpose of calculating your monthly contribution
Drawbacks Of Sequestration
- Sequestration is a form of formal insolvency and should be considered as a ‘last resort’ debt solution because of the serious impact it can have on your life.
- If you are a homeowner or have assets, these could be sold to pay towards your debts.
- Your credit rating will be affected and sequestration may affect your ability to obtain credit in the future.
- Your employment choices may be affected, in a similar to those filing for bankruptcy in the rest of the UK. No one should ever consider applying for sequestration without first seeking advice from experts in this field.
- Your sequestration will be displayed on an online Register of Insolvencies, which the public can search.
At Write off My Debt, we offer advice on all Scottish debt solutions, making sure that you are fully aware of all the options available to you based on your individual financial circumstances. So, what are you waiting for? Contact us today to start regaining control of your finances.