The Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Act officially came into force on 1 April 2015. The Act has been designed by the Scottish government to make life easier for the thousands of Scottish households who are experiencing severe financial hardship and debt problems. It follows on from the introduction in December 2014 of Scotland’s Financial Health Service, a new phone and online service that offers advice on a range of money-related issues.
The Act brings in a selection of measures that together make up one of the most modern and sophisticated debt advice and debt management systems in the world. Its implementation will be overseen by the Accountant in Bankruptcy, which is the Scottish version of the Insolvency Service.
This article from debt advice experts, Trust-Deeds.co.uk, provides the lowdown on some of the key measures within the Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Act.
- The Minimal Asset Process (MAP)
Aimed at those on low incomes, MAP provides fast access to debt management services. It replaces the previous Low Income Low Asset (LILA) rules. MAP is a cheaper option, costing less than half the amount of an application for sequestration (the Scottish version of bankruptcy) under LILA, making debt relief more widely accessible. It also allows bankrupts to be discharged in six months rather than 12.
Debtors will be assessed for their eligibility for MAP using the Common Financial Tool – see below.
- Financial advice for people seeking formal debt solutions
The Act makes it mandatory for people considering legally-binding debt solutions such as sequestration to consult an approved money adviser first. The aim is to help make sure people understand and are aware of all the options that are open to them, so they can make informed decisions about how best to manage their debts.
The advice given must cover specific areas, such as the effect that declaring bankruptcy would have on the individual’s estate, and include helping with the application process if they want to proceed.
- Common assessment tools for advisors
The government has introduced a new Common Financial Tool for debt advisers to use when working out how much people can afford to pay off their debts each month. In certain circumstances, the adviser can set the individual’s contribution to their debts at zero, or grant them a payment break of up to six months.
The Act will make it compulsory for anyone who’s been sequestrated, had a Protected Trust Deed or taken part in the government’s Debt Arrangement Scheme to take a financial education course. They’ll be told about the course by the Trustee handling their finances. Hopefully, these courses will help people gain more control over their money and avoid repeating their mistakes in the future.
Creditors will now have a limit of 120 days in which to submit claims on a debtor’s estate, after they’ve been notified about sequestration or other proceedings by the Trustee. Any claims that aren’t submitted within this time frame will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.
This gives debtors the extra reassurance that additional creditors won’t keep ‘coming out of the woodwork’ once a sequestration, Trust Deed or Debt Arrangement Scheme is in place.
- New powers to the Accountant in Bankruptcy
As a result of the Act, some decision-making powers have been transferred from the court to the Accountant in Bankruptcy. These include:
- Making and varying Debtor Contribution Orders
- Applications for sequestration to be recalled where the debtor can afford to repay their debts
- Removing Trustees or Commissioners from a case
- Making a Bankruptcy Restrictions Order (BRO) against a debtor
- Converting a Protected Trust Deed into a sequestration award.
What we think
Here at Trust-Deeds.co.uk, we welcome the new legislation introduced under the Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Act. Debt and poverty have blighted too many Scottish households for too long and it’s reassuring to see the government taking positive action to help.
Of course, Scottish debt problems won’t disappear overnight. So if you’re finding you can no longer afford your debt repayments, talk to Trust-Deeds.co.uk. Our expert advisers have been fully trained on all the implications of the new Act, so we’re perfectly placed to help you make the right financial decisions and access the best debt solution for your needs.
Contact Trust-Deeds.co.uk today
Call 0141 301 1170 now to speak to one of our friendly advisers. Or why not email us with your questions? You can also complete our simple online form with brief details of your debts. An adviser will get back to you shortly to discuss how we can help.
Here at Trust-Deeds.co.uk, we’re often asked about the differences between Trust Deeds (or Protected Trust Deeds) and the government’s Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS). The two solutions certainly have a few things in common, but there are also some differences that you need to be aware of. This article gives an overview of some key things to consider.
Type and amount of debt
Both Trust Deeds and DAS are designed to deal with unsecured debts such as credit cards, loans and overdrafts. Secured debts such as mortgages and Hire Purchase arrears can’t be included. To qualify for a Trust Deed, you must owe at least £5,000. There is no minimum debt amount for DAS.
Initial set up
A Trust Deed must be set up and managed by a licensed Insolvency Practitioner (IP). Applications for DAS must go through a government-approved money adviser, who will be a qualified debt adviser or an IP. For both solutions, you’ll be asked to provide a detailed breakdown of your financial circumstances, covering income, outgoings and debts.
Your IP or money adviser will then work how much you can afford to pay towards your debts each month after you’ve paid for essential living expenses such as rent, food and fuel. They’ll use this information to create a proposal (Trust Deed) or Debt Management Plan or DPP (DAS) to be sent to your creditors for consideration.
You’ll have to pay your IP or money adviser fees for setting up and managing your Trust Deed or DAS. These fees will be included in the proposal or DPP and deducted from your monthly payments if your solution goes ahead. You can read about Trust-Deed.co.uk’s fees and view examples here.
With Trust Deeds, the proposal will be accepted if 50% or more of your creditors by number or 33% by debt value give their approval. If fewer creditors accept the proposal, the Trust Deed won’t go ahead and you’ll have to either agree a revised version with your IP or find a different debt solution.
DAS works differently. Creditors have 21 days to respond to the DPP and will be deemed to accept it if they don’t respond within this time. If one or more of your creditors rejects the DPP, your money adviser will decide if your DAS should go ahead. In some cases, an objecting creditor will be obliged to accept the DPP.
How the solutions work
A Trust Deed’s duration is fixed and normally lasts for 48 months. During this time, you’ll make monthly payments to your IP, as set out in the proposal. If you make all your payments on time and comply with all the other terms set out in your Trust Deed, any outstanding debts will be written off when it comes to an end.
With DAS, your money adviser will set the duration of your DPP based on how much you owe and how much you can afford to pay each month. Your DPP will continue until you’ve paid off all your debts in full, so it might last much longer than a Trust Deed.
Legal protection, interest and charges
With both solutions, lenders are obliged to freeze interest and charges on your accounts once the Trust Deed or DPP is in place. This means that, once set-up and management fees have been deducted, your entire payment will go towards reducing the balance of your debts rather than paying off interest and charges.
You’ll also have legal protection from your creditors, so they can’t pursue you in other ways for debts listed within the proposal or DPP. It’s important to note, however, that you can still be pursued for debts that aren’t listed, such as secured loans.
Your home and other assets
These shouldn’t be affected by DAS. With a Trust Deed, you should be able to stay in your property if you’re a homeowner. However, you may be asked to re-mortgage or release some equity towards the end of your Trust Deed term, to help pay off your debts.
It’s important to remember that your home can still be repossessed if you don’t keep up with your mortgage or rent payments.
Changes in circumstances
If your income goes up or down during your Trust Deed or DAS, it may be possible to vary its terms so you can pay less or more each month. If you’re in a DAS and your income goes up considerably, your DPP may be cancelled and you may have to start making your original payment amounts again.
In the case of windfalls, you’re legally obliged to disclose these. If the amount covers all your unsecured debts, your DAS or Trust Deed will finish early.
Other things to consider
- A Trust Deed restricts your ability to get additional credit during its term
- Details of your Trust Deed will be made public and your employment might be affected
- Both solutions will damage your credit rating for up to six years afterwards
- If either solution fails, your creditors could force you into sequestration (bankruptcy).
Get expert debt help today
It can be hard to decide which route to take when it comes to dealing with debt. Let the specialist team at Trust-Deeds.co.uk help. We’ll talk to you about your financial circumstances and explain which solutions might work best for you. You options could include a Debt Management Plan or sequestration as well as a Trust Deed or DAS.
- Call us on 0141 301 1170
- Email us at email@example.com
- Complete our online enquiry form with your questions.
A poll carried out for the Scottish newspaper The Daily Record has revealed an alarming lack of financial awareness amongst Scotland’s youngsters. The survey company Survation spoke to 1,000 people aged between 16 and 24 about a range of financial issues such as loans, interest rates and savings.
The worrying findings included:
- 45% of people questioned were unable to say whether they’d pay more back on a high (21% APR) or low (8% APR) interest loan
- 40% of young Scots don’t bother checking the interest rate when they apply for a loan or credit card
- 28% said they have no savings in the bank
- 25% don’t know where to get help with money or debt problems
- 25% said they’d consider using a payday loan provider to make ends meet
- Almost 50% don’t see having loans for cars or household goods as being in debt
- Almost 40% of people polled don’t control their spending with a monthly budget.
The results of the poll come in the wake of the recently launched Financial Health Service website. A Scottish government initiative, the new website aims to help people gain access to trusted organisations that can offer help, information and advice on financial issues such as debt, money management, housing, borrowing and saving.
Andy Gorton, owner of debt advice company, Trust-Deeds.co.uk, comments: ‘The Daily Record survey is clear proof that young people in Scotland haven’t been getting access to the financial information they need to understand and manage their money effectively. Hopefully the new Financial Health Service website will help reverse this trend by pointing Scottish consumers of all ages in the right direction to take better control of their finances in the future.’
Debt problems? Help is on hand.
The Daily Record poll might have found that 48% of young Scots don’t consider themselves as being in debt if they’re finding it hard to pay their bills each month, but sadly the reverse is true. And if you’re in this situation, it’s important to seek expert debt help as soon as possible, before the problem spirals out of control.
Trust-Deeds.co.uk can help. Through our reputable debt management partners, we can give you access to a range of formal and informal debt solutions that can be tailored to your needs. Depending on the size and type of your debts and your other financial circumstances, these might include:
- A Trust Deed. A Trust Deed is a legally-binding agreement to make affordable monthly payments to your unsecured creditors for a set time period, usually 48 months. You’ll have legal protection from your creditors, and interest and charges on your debts will usually be frozen. And when the Trust Deed comes to an end, any remaining debts listed within it will be written off.
- A Debt Management Plan (DMP). This is an informal solution which can help reduce your monthly debt repayments into a single, affordable amount. Our DMP partner will negotiate new, lower payment amounts with each of your unsecured creditors and may be able to stop interest and charges accruing as well. They’ll manage the plan on your behalf and take over all correspondence with your creditors.
- A Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS). This is a government-run scheme that helps you pay off your debts over a reasonable period of time, through a Debt Payment Programme (DPP). Interest and fees on your accounts will normally be frozen and you’ll enjoy legal protection from your creditors, so they can’t pursue you through the courts.
- Sequestration (bankruptcy). If your debts are truly overwhelming and you have little or no income or assets with which to repay them, sequestration may be your only option. Once sequestration is in place, you’ll have no further direct contact with your creditors and any payments you make will go through a Trustee. You could be discharged after just 12 months, after which most or all of your remaining debts will be cancelled.
Of course, there are pros and cons to all debt management solutions and it’s important to choose the best option for your individual needs. Trust-Deeds.co.uk will take the time to listen to your money problems before providing information and advice on the options that are available to you.
Get in touch today by calling 0141 301 1170 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, you can complete our online enquiry form with your questions and we’ll contact you as soon as we can. We look forward to hearing from you.
An insolvency firm has published a damning report into the state of Scotland’s finances, claiming that 2015 could see 1,000 companies going bust and 12,000 Scottish people declaring bankruptcy. The report, issued by accountancy and business advice firm BDO LLP, is predicting an about-turn in last year’s economic upswing due to issues such as interest rate rises, political uncertainty and a fall in consumer spending.
Spokesperson for BDO LLP, Bryan Jackson, commented: ‘For many companies and individuals there is the prospect of another year of standing still as profits remain flat and incomes are static. The slightest change in any circumstances could have serious consequences. The number of businesses falling into insolvency is likely to be around 1,000.’
Moving on to personal insolvency, Mr Jackson noted that, after a steady decline in bankruptcies since 2009, figures have recently levelled off. And whilst the 12,000 bankruptcies BDO has forecast for 2015 is nowhere near the 2009 peak of 23,541, there is still cause for concern.
Andy Gorton, Managing Director of Scottish debt advice service, Trust Deeds.co.uk, agrees. ‘BDO’s figures equate to 230 sequestrations – the Scottish term for bankruptcy – and 20 businesses going under each and every week in 2015,’ he says. ‘Debt problems are already rife in Scotland, with BDO’s report actually coinciding with a new Government initiative called “Lighten the Load”, which is designed help people cope with financial problems.’
What is sequestration (bankruptcy)?
Sequestration is usually seen as the last resort for dealing with overwhelming debts that you can’t afford to pay off. If you have low or no income and/or few or no assets, it could be an option for you. There are a number of advantages to choosing sequestration, such as:
- You’ll have legal protection from your creditors so they’ll stop pursuing you
- If you can afford to make payments towards your debts, you’ll do this through a Trustee so there’ll be no direct contact with your creditors
- You could leave most or all of your debts behind just 12 months after your sequestration order, helping you make a fresh financial start.
However, as with all forms of debt management, sequestration comes with cons as well as pros. The disadvantages include:
- You could lose your home if you’re a homeowner and be forced to sell any other valuable assets that you own
- You can’t act as a company director, or take any part in setting up or running a limited company
- You’ll find it harder to get more credit during and after your sequestration, and your credit rating will be adversely affected for up to six years.
Alternatives to sequestration
Depending on your situation, other debt solutions may be open to you that mean you can avoid bankruptcy.
These might include:
- A Protected Trust Deed (PTD). This is a formal arrangement that involves paying an affordable monthly amount towards your debts for a set time period, usually four years. During this time, you’ll have legal protection from your creditors and when the Trust Deeds ends, any remaining debts within it will be cancelled. However, at least 50% of your creditors in numbers of 33% by debt value must vote in favour of the Trust Deed before it can go ahead.
- A Debt Management Plan (DMP). This is an informal agreement with your creditors to make reduced monthly payments towards your unsecured debts. A debt management service will usually set up and manage the plan, distributing the payments on your behalf. They can also take over all correspondence with your creditors, but as this isn’t a legally-binding agreement, your creditors could still pursue you in other ways.
- A Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS). A DAS is a government-run debt management tool that lets you pay off your debts over an extended period of time through a Debt Payment Programme (DPP). There are some similarities to a Protected Trust Deed, such as legal protection from your creditors, and interest and charges on your debts being frozen. However, a DPP can run for any reasonable length of time and is not a form of personal insolvency.
Need debt help? Contact Trust Deeds.co.uk today!
Trust Deeds.co.uk are here to help Scottish people find the best solution to their debt problems. Our friendly advisers can give you access to all the above debt management options and more, depending on your individual circumstances. Simply tell us your story and we’ll talk you through the debt solutions that might suit your needs.
How to contact us:
- Call us today on 0141 301 1170,
- Fill in our online form, or
- Email your enquiry to our expert team.
Sequestration is the Scottish form of bankruptcy. At the moment, it works in a similar way to the system in England and Wales. However, the Accountant in Bankruptcy or AiB (Scotland’s version of the Insolvency Service) is proposing some important changes that you’ll want to know about if you’re considering sequestration as a way of dealing with your debt problems. This article from debt experts, Trust Deeds.co.uk, gives an overview of some of these possible changes.
- The sequestration term may be lengthened
At the moment, discharge from sequestration happens automatically and takes place 12 months after the date you were declared bankrupt. However, the AiB wants to increase this term to 48 months. This would bring sequestration in line with Trust Deeds, which had their length increased from 24 months to 48 months last year.
When you enter into sequestration, your Trustee will decide if you can afford to make any monthly payments to your creditors. Under the current rules, these payments would only continue for three years (you’d still be discharged after 12 months). However, if the proposed changes are made law, you’d be required to make monthly payments to your creditors throughout the four year sequestration period – just like with a Trust Deed.
This means that, if you can afford to make payments to them, your creditors could end up receiving more money than before.
- The automatic discharge system may be abolished
As noted above, discharge is currently automatic unless the Trustee or your creditors have asked the AiB to delay it for any reason. The AiB wants to change this system so that successful discharge depends on your co-operation with the Trustee and compliance with the terms of your sequestration.
The proposals could see the Trustee having to compile a detailed report of your behaviour during the sequestration, plus your financial circumstances at the time of application for discharge. The AiB would use this information to decide whether to approve or decline your discharge.
- Changes to creditor claim timescales
When you’ve been sequestrated, your Trustee will contact all your debtors and ask them to make a claim against your estate. In order to receive payment in the next accounting period, they must respond within eight weeks of the end of the previous period.
The AiB is proposing that this system be changed to one where creditors have 120 days to make their claim, from the date when they were notified by the Trustee. Late claims will only be accepted in exceptional cases and all creditors will be required to support their claims with documentation such as statements or bills. The idea behind these changes is to make it quicker for creditors to start receiving payments from your estate.
- A new tool for calculating your finances
At the start of your sequestration, your Trustee will take a close look at your income and outgoings to work out how much (if any) money you can afford to pay your creditors each month. You should always be left with enough money to cover your essential living expenses, but at the same time, the Trustee has to consider what’s fair to your creditors.
Inevitably, there are inconsistencies between how individuals’ finances are calculated, which can lead to unfairness on one side or another. The AiB wants to improve this situation by introducing a standard financial tool that all Trustees would use to work out each person’s finances in the same way. This would be good news for you, as you’d be sure to be left enough money each month to live on, and good news for your creditors as they’d receive reasonable payment amounts.
- Changes to the Low Income, Low Asset (LILA) route
LILA is a form of sequestration that’s similar to the Debt Relief Orders that are available in England and Wales. The idea is that if you can’t repay your debts and meet certain criteria around having low income and few or no assets, you can apply for sequestration via the LILA route. You’ll be subject to certain restrictions during the term of your bankruptcy and you’ll generally be discharged after 12 months.
The AiB is proposing that LILA be abolished and replaced with MAP, which stands for Minimal Asset Process. This would allow you to be discharged after just six months, but you’d still be subject to restrictions for another six months. As with LILA, there would be criteria that you’d need to meet to qualify, such as being resident in Scotland and showing that you’ve sought professional debt advice before applying. The amount you owe would need to be between £1,500 and £10,000.
Like to know more?
Contact Trust Deeds.co.uk for more information about sequestration, or about the other debt solutions that we offer to people in Scotland. These include Trust Deeds, which are a form of personal insolvency, and Debt Management Plans, which are a less formal solution.
Whatever the size or nature of your debts, we’ll take the time to understand your circumstances and explain the available options. Our friendly, fully-qualified advisers are ready and waiting to help you, so get in touch today.
Contact Trust Deeds.co.uk
A Trust Deed is a formal debt solution that offers an alternative to sequestration (bankruptcy) for people living in Scotland. To qualify, you’ll need to have unsecured debts of at least £1,000 that you can’t afford to repay. When the Trust Deed is in place, you’ll make affordable monthly payments into it for a set period of time, usually two years. After that, all remaining debts listed within it are cancelled.
As our name suggests, Trust-Deeds.co.uk specialise in providing advice and information on Trust Deeds, as well as other debt solutions including Debt Management Plans and sequestration. We’re often asked about how Trust Deeds can be used to deal with joint debts, so we’ve written this article to explain some of the key points you might want to know.
Defining ‘joint debts’
When it comes to joint finances, things can get complicated. However, put simply, a debt is normally considered to be ‘joint’ when two or more parties’ names appear on the credit agreement. An example is a loan or bank overdraft that a married or cohabiting couple takes out together in both their names.
In cases like this, each party named on the credit agreement is seen as being ‘jointly and severally’ liable for the debt. This means that, if one of you can’t or won’t pay any money off the debt, the other party can be pursued for the full amount owing.
A common area of confusion is credit cards. Whilst two or more people might hold cards linked to a single account, responsibility for the entire debt will always rest with the one person who set up the account. So, if your partner uses a credit card linked to your account and they can’t repay what they’ve spent, you’ll be legally obliged to pay off the full balance – even if you’ve never used the account yourself.
Trust Deeds and joint debts
There’s no such thing as a joint Trust Deed, although you and your partner can enter into individual Trust Deeds at the same time to deal with your debts. If you do this, debts that are in each person’s sole name will only appear in their individual Trust Deed, whilst debts that are in joint names will be listed in both Trust Deeds.
Couples often decide to both enter into Trust Deeds for joint debts because, if your partner goes ahead on their own, your creditors can still chase you for the full amount of the debt, minus any payments your partner has already made into the Trust Deed. So the only way to stop your creditors pursuing you might be to set up your own Trust Deed.
How the Trust Deeds will work
Both Trust Deeds will be set up and managed by a Trustee, usually a licensed Insolvency Practitioner (IP). When considering each of your finances, the IP will look carefully at your income and outgoings to see how much you can afford to pay off your individual and joint debts. So if you earn more than your partner but have the same outgoings, you can expect to be asked to pay more off the joint debts.
Each Trust Deed will go ahead if a third of creditors by debt value or half by numbers agree to accept the Trustee’s proposals. At this point, the Trust Deed becomes legally binding for you and your creditors. It also becomes ‘Protected’, which means your creditors must freeze interest and charges on your accounts, and also stop pursuing you for repayment in other ways.
In most cases, a Protected Trust Deed will last for 48 months, provided you make all your payments on time and comply with the other conditions set out in the Trust Deed. When your and your partner’s Trust Deeds have both come to an end, any outstanding joint debts included within them will be written off.
Trust Deeds and your home
If you own your home, you may be asked to remortgage or release equity from it to help repay your creditors as part of your Trust Deed. So if you’re both named on the mortgage, this will apply to both individual Trust Deeds. If you’re unable to release equity or secure a remortgage, the term of one or both Trust Deeds might be extended.
Find out more
For more information about Trust Deeds, how they work and their advantages and disadvantages, please browse our website, www.trust-deeds.co.uk. You can also find out if you qualify for a Trust Deed by completing our simple online form.
Or, please call us on 0141 301 1170 or send us an email if you have any questions you’d like to discuss.
A study by financial auditors, KPMG, has found that around 414,000 Scottish people are earning less than the living wage, which was recently increased by 20p to £7.85. The living wage is different from the minimum wage, which currently stands at £6.50 for adults aged over 21, and is based on standard living costs and income distribution.
According to KPMG, most people in Scotland earning less than the living wage work in the hospitality, retail and care industries. Spokesperson Margaret Butler commented that their figures are an indication that ‘…too many Scottish people are stuck in the spiral of low pay.’ She added that the research ‘…reports the concerns of people earning below the living wage who expect their finances to worsen during the next 12 months and shows that debt levels have continued to rise among this group.’
At the moment, around 60 employers in Scotland have committed to paying their workers at least the living wage. These include SSE, Glasgow Caledonian University and Standard Life. The government is currently funding a pilot scheme, implemented by the Poverty Alliance, to encourage more Scottish firms to sign up as living wage employers, and numbers have tripled over the last three months.
There are certainly benefits attached to paying staff a living wage, such as better retention, productivity and satisfaction levels. Costs to the taxpayer are also reduced, as workers on low pay have their incomes topped up through the benefits system. But despite these arguments, paying a living wage and swallowing the resulting hike in payroll costs simply isn’t possible for many smaller businesses running on tight budgets.
For those not lucky enough to work for a living wage employer, the outlook could be grim. As the Poverty Alliance points out, low pay and in-work poverty are the main causes of child poverty in Scotland. And as Ms Butler says above, those on low incomes now are more likely to see things take a turn for the worse over the next 12 months.
Andy Gorton, Managing Director of debt advice service, Trust Deeds.co.uk, is keen to urge anyone with growing debt levels to get professional help as soon as possible. ‘Trust Deeds.co.uk can help with debts from £1,000 upwards,’ he says. ‘So don’t wait for the problem to spiral out of control – nip it in the bud now and get your finances back on track sooner rather than later.’
About Trust Deeds.co.uk
Trust Deeds.co.uk is here to offer you advice, information and help with your money problems. Our team of friendly, qualified advisers will talk through your situation and discuss the debt solutions that are open to you. We’ll help you make the right choices about managing your debts so you can leave them behind and get on with your life.
Our debt solutions
As our name suggests, we’re specialists in advising on and arranging Trust Deeds. A Trust Deed is a formal agreement with your creditors to repay as much of your unsecured debts as you can afford each month for a set time period, usually 48 months. The agreement is set up and overseen by a Trustee, who is normally a licensed Insolvency Practitioner.
Your Trust Deed will go ahead if 50% by number or 33% by debt value of your creditors agree to the Trustee’s proposals for repaying your debts. If they agree, the Trust Deed becomes Protected, which means that you and your creditors are legally bound by it and interest and charges on your debts must be frozen.
If you then make all your payments on time and comply with the Trust Deed’s other terms, your remaining debts will be cancelled when the agreement comes to an end.
For less serious debts, an informal Debt Management Plan may be an option. We’ll contact each of your creditors to agree a new, lower monthly payment amount and, if possible, to also freeze interest and charges on your accounts.
Once we’ve spoken to all your creditors, your Debt Management Plan will be set up. You’ll only need to pay us one fixed amount each month, which we’ll distribute to your creditors on your behalf. We’ll also deal with their letters and phone calls, taking away much of the hassle of being in debt.
There are no contracts or legally binding agreements with a Debt Management Plan, so you have the flexibility to alter your payment amounts if your situation changes.
If things have got out of hand with your finances, we may ask you to consider sequestration as a way of managing your debts. It’s a formal process that places a number of restrictions and limitations on your personal and working life, so it’s not to be entered into lightly.
However, if sequestration is the right choice, then you’ll have the relief of no further contact with your creditors, as your Trustee will deal with them on your behalf. You could also walk away from your debts in just 12 months and make a fresh start.
Contact Trust Deeds.co.uk today
Get in touch today to find out about your debt management options.
An overview of Trust Deeds
A Trust Deed is a formal way of managing your unsecured debts that’s set up and managed by a Trustee, who is normally a licensed Insolvency Practitioner. As part of the process, your Trustee will look carefully at your finances to decide how much you can afford to pay off your debts each month. They then put together a proposal and send this to your creditors for consideration.
If at least a third (by debt value) or half (by numbers) of your creditors accept the proposal, the Trust Deed will go ahead. At this point, it becomes Protected, which means you and your creditors are both legally-bound by its terms and your creditors can’t pursue you for debt repayments in any other way. They must also freeze interest and charges on your debts.
Once your Trust Deed is in place, you must pay the agreed amount on time every month. If you do this, and if you comply with all the other terms of the Trust Deed, any remaining balance of your unsecured debts will be cancelled when it comes to an end. That’s normally 48 months from the date it was set up – so you could free yourself from unsecured debt in just two years.
However, a lot can happen in two years and it’s sometimes the case that an individual’s financial circumstances change whilst their Trust Deed is in place. You might get a new job with a higher salary. You might receive a financial windfall from a lottery win or inheritance. And on the other side of the coin, your income could go down as a result of unemployment or ill health.
Let’s take a look at the possible effects on your Trust Deeds if one of these scenarios happens to you.
Higher disposable income
This might happen if your income goes up after a job change, or if your expenses are reduced by, for example, a child support arrangement coming to an end.
Unfortunately, you won’t have the chance to benefit from your higher income until your Trust Deed has finished. You’re obliged to tell your Trustee about the change in income and they’ll then decide whether or not your Trust Deed should be varied. If they think it should, they’ll work out a new, higher monthly payment amount with your creditors so you end up paying off more of your debts.
In the majority of cases, the full amount of any windfalls you receive will need to be paid into your Trust Deed. Of course, if the amount exceeds the total amount of your debts and the fees payable to your Trustee, then these will be completely cleared and you can pocket the difference. Even if there’s a shortfall, this could still result in your Trust Deed coming to an end early.
Lower disposable income
The key thing to remember if your income goes down is to tell your Trustee straightaway. Missing one or more payments could lead to your Trust Deed failing, which could be in turn lead to your creditors petitioning for your sequestration (bankruptcy).
Your Trustee will reassess your finances and work out how much you can now afford to pay each month. They’ll then ask your creditors to agree to a revised proposal. You may find that your creditors are sympathetic to your changed circumstances, although they’re not obliged to accept lower payments. Or they might ask for your Trust Deed to be extended so that you still end up paying the amount that was originally agreed.
If the worst comes to the worst and you can no longer afford to pay anything at all into your Trust Deed, it may be cancelled and you’ll need to find another way of dealing with your debts. Your Trustee will advise you on this.
Talk to your Trustee
You’re legally obliged to keep your Trustee informed of any changes to your personal finances, so don’t delay on this if a change takes place. No matter how trivial you think the change might be, your Trustee needs to know about it so they can take an informed decision around whether or not the terms of your Trust Deed should be varied.
Find out more
If you have any questions about your Trust Deed, or think a Trust Deed could be the best option for managing your debts, the expert team at Trust-Deeds.co.uk will be happy to help. Just give us a call on 0141 301 1170 or email email@example.com.
New to Trust Deeds?
If you’re new to Trust-Deeds.co.uk, you can also complete our quick online form with some brief financial details. One of our specialist debt advisers will then call you back to discuss how we can help.
Here at Trust Deeds.co.uk, we’re often asked which is the best option for dealing with debt – a Trust Deed or sequestration? Of course, the answer depends entirely on your individual circumstances, and on factors like how much you owe, the type of debts involved and whether you can afford to make monthly repayments.
This article provided an overview of how Trust Deeds and sequestration work and their respective pros and cons, so you can gain an initial idea of which option might suit you before you contact us for expert advice.
About Trust Deeds
You might want to consider a Trust Deed if you have multiple unsecured debts to different creditors and you have some disposable income to hand. A Trust Deed is a legally-binding agreement that usually lasts for four years, although the term can be as short as 48 months. During this time, you’ll make affordable monthly payments to your creditors. When the Trust Deed comes to an end, any remaining unsecured debts listed within it will be written off.
A Trust Deed can only be set up and managed by a licensed Insolvency Practitioner. They’ll contact all your creditors and ask them to agree to the Trust Deed. If at least 50% by creditor numbers or 33% by debt value are in favour, then the Trust Deed will go ahead. At this point, the Trust Deed becomes Protected. This means your creditors must freeze interest and charges on your accounts, and stop pursuing you for repayment in other ways.
Sequestration is the Scottish form of bankruptcy. Although it’s often seen as a last resort, it will release you from the vicious cycle of debt, enabling you to make a fresh start when your sequestration has been discharged.
To request sequestration, you’ll need to ask an Insolvency Practitioner or approved Money Adviser to look at your finances. If they think you should proceed, they’ll give you a Certificate of Sequestration, which you’ll use to apply to the Accountant of Bankruptcy (AiB). Once they’ve declared you bankrupt, control of your money and assets pass to a Trustee.
The Trustee will decide whether any of your assets should be sold for the benefit of your creditors. They’ll also assess whether you can afford to make monthly payments towards your debts, which might continue for up to three years. Your Trustee will also tell your creditors about your sequestration and, from this point, they’ll deal with all correspondence from and payments to your creditors.
In most cases, your sequestration will be discharged after 12 months and all unsecured debts listed within it written off, except for any monthly repayments that you’re still making as directed by the Trustee.
Pros and cons
Below are some of the key advantages and disadvantages of each debt solution.
- No minimum or maximum debt amounts
- Interest and charges on your debts will be frozen
- You’ll make a single, affordable monthly payment to your creditors
- When the Trust Deed ends, any remaining unsecured debts within it will be cancelled
- You can normally keep your home and any essential vehicles
- You’ll have legal protection from your creditors
- You could be debt-free in just 48 months
- Your career and job prospects won’t usually be affected
- You can’t include unsecured debts
- Your creditors don’t have to accept the Trust Deed proposal
- If you don’t stick to the Trust Deed’s terms, you could be made bankrupt
- You’ll need to disclose any existing debt recovery action that have already been taken against you
- You may need to re-mortgage or release equity from your home
- There’ll be restrictions on your expenditure and ability to obtain credit
- Your credit rating will be adversely affected for up to six years
- Your Trust Deed will be published in the Insolvency Register of Scotland
- You’ll be legally protected from your creditors
- Your Trustee will deal with your creditors and distribute payments on your behalf
- You’ll be allowed to keep essential assets such as furniture and appliances
- You can still enjoy joint assets if you can arrange for a partner, relative or friend to buy your share
- Your sequestration will probably be discharged after just 12 months
- You can make a fresh financial start after your discharge
- Secured loans can’t be included
- You may lose your home or other valuable assets
- You’ll find it hard to get credit over £500 during your sequestration
- Your credit rating will be adversely affected for up to six years
- Your job and career prospects may be affected
- You can’t act as a company director
Find out more
Now you have an overview of Trust Deeds and sequestration and how they both work, it’s time to seek professional debt advice from the experts at Trust Deeds.co.uk. Our friendly, qualified advisers are here to help you find the right answer to your money problems, based on your individual needs and circumstances.
Contact Trust Deeds.co.uk today
You can call us on 0141 301 1170 or complete our simple online form and an adviser will get back to you. Or, you can email us your enquiry if you prefer.
The number of bankruptcies in Scotland has fallen by 20% over the past year.
Even though the number of bankruptcies in Scotland is in decline, the number of people in Scotland seeking alternatives debt solutions is on the rise with approved Debt Payment Programmes being up 40% to 4,632 in 2012- 2013.
The number of companies going into receivership and liquidation in Scotland is also down in 2012 – 2013 with figures from the Bankruptcy’s Annual Report showing a 25.3% drop. In 2011 -2012 there were a total of 1,369 liquidations recorded which compares with just 1,022 liquidations in Scotland in 2012 -2013.
Despite the current financial climate and personal debt being on the rise the figures do relate with the number of Bankruptcies being at their lowest level in a decade and show that people are seeking out alternative solutions to solve their debt problems.
There is a marked rise in the number of people using a Debt Arrangement Scheme or a Debt Management Program, which provides a less severe solution to debt problems.
One other Scottish debt solution on the rise is a Scottish Trust Deed. With a trust deed, the debtor only has to pay off as much as they can afford over a 3 year period. At the end of the 3 year period, any remaining unsecured debt is then written off. This solution can be much more appealing as it does not tend to place the debtors home at risk and the repercussions of a trust deed are less strict.
With the improvement of alternative solutions to bankruptcy and sequestration it is clear that we are seeing a trend of Scottish people looking for ways to avoid bankruptcy.