Unfortunately disclosing all your assets is a necessary part of bankruptcy, and it's vital that you provide your official receiver or trustee with a complete list of all your assets.

What happens after you declare yourself bankrupt?

Once you've petitioned the court for a bankruptcy order, you'll be contacted by the official receiver or trustee. You will either have a face-to-face interview with them, or a phone interview to go through the process.

You should receive a letter detailing what is expected of you at that meeting, and you may have to fill in a questionnaire. This can be done online if you prefer through The Insolvency Service, but make a note of any areas you did not know how to answer.

You will need to take any and all financial records that the official receiver or trustee asks for in relation to your case. If you don't think you'll have enough time to source all the relevant documents let them now ASAP. Going along 'in hope' is going to be a waste of time, so call to explain your position if this is the case.

What assets do you have to declare?

You'll have to disclose the value of all your assets such as:

  • Any cars

  • shareholdings

  • property

  • Bank accounts (including savings and investments)

Do not try to hide anything from them. If you do, you could end up with your bankruptcy taking as many as 15 years to be discharged, rather than the usual 12 months.

You must co-operate with the Official Receiver or Trustee too. If you don't, you could be dragged back to court and/or arrested. It will inevitably make things worse for you.

It may be uncomfortable having someone looking through everything you own, but it is part of the deal, so you will have to grin and bear it. Just think that, in return, you'll be getting your finances back on track.

Assets you can keep

There will be certain assets that you'll be allowed to keep including:

  • Household items - including bedding, furniture and clothes

  • Work related assets - tools, work vehicle etc

You'll still need to declare these items because, if they cost more than reasonable replacements, you may have to give them up as well.

Declaring your property and bank accounts

If you own your property and have some equity in it, you could find yourself having to remortgage to clear some of the debt. Your trustee may even sell your home if it's the only way to meet your debts.

You'll have to give the official receiver your bank cards, cheque books and credit cards for the accounts you can no longer use. This will include accounts that were overdrawn at the time of bankruptcy.

Declaring your income

You will also have to detail all of your income, plus any expected changes to income and tax credits. Your trustee will then determine how much you can realistically pay each month to clear your debts.

It is also important to say what you are paying in bills each month, the items that you have no way of reducing payments on, so you have everything taken into consideration when the payments on your bankruptcy are agreed.

You'll only make payments from your spare income in an arrangement call an Income Payments Agreement (IPA). These can last for three years, even if you've been discharged from bankruptcy after 12 months.

Is bankruptcy right for you?

Bankruptcy may be seen as a last resort, but there are other ways to get your finances back on track.

For more information on bankruptcy itself, read our Bankruptcy guide.