A new poll commissioned by the Debt Advisory Service has found that almost one in five Scots are hiding their debts from their partner. The survey included 634 Scottish people as part of a wider group of 2,000 participants. Of the 634, around two thirds of those in a relationship have run up unsecured debts such as credit cards and personal loans.
The average debt level was found to be £3,400, although more than 20% said they owed over £5,000. 17% of Scottish respondents admitted that their partners either don’t know about their debts at all, or are unaware of just how much they owe. And on the flip side, 7% said they didn’t know whether or not their partner had any unsecured debts.
Figures from the survey also boded ill for indebted Scots who are married or planning to tie the knot. Of this group, around two thirds said they owe money to unsecured creditors, whilst a third said they didn’t think it was important to let their current or future spouse know. Another 5% said they thought it was best to wait until after the honeymoon was over to broach the subject of debt – perhaps not the best way to start off a happy marriage!
Andy Gorton, owner of Scottish debt advice service, Trust-Deeds.co.uk, comments: ‘Keeping financial secrets from your partner is never a good idea. The best relationships are built on trust and honesty – two things that will be instantly destroyed if your spouse or partner finds out that you’ve been running up debts behind their back. If you haven’t been upfront about your debts in the past, it’s a good idea to make a clean breast of it sooner rather than later.’
It’s even more important to be honest with your partner if you run into problems with repaying your debts. Whilst it’s possible to keep some debt solutions private even if you live with your partner, your debt adviser will still need to consider your joint finances when working out how much you can afford to repay off your debts each month. And you may find it difficult to obtain this information without your partner’s knowledge or cooperation.
Says Andy: ‘Tackling debt problems can be very stressful. Keeping them from your partner will only make things worse – potentially causing irreparable damage to your relationship as well as shutting you off from your partner’s support. If they’re the right person for you, they’ll stand by you and help you overcome your money problems together.’
Get the right advice
All debt management solutions come with their own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to take expert advice before deciding what to do. The expert team at Trust-Deeds.co.uk will discuss your financial circumstances in detail before explaining which options are open to you. When you’ve made your decision, you’ll receive as much support and guidance as you need once your chosen solution is in place.
Household debt is a big problem north of the border. The Scottish Government is keen to help people get out of debt and learn how to manage their finances better in the future. As part of its work to tackle the nation’s money problems, MSPs have introduced a number of initiatives to make it easier for Scottish people to access debt help and solutions. This article from debt advice experts, Trust-Deeds.co.uk, explains some of the changes.
Scotland’s Financial Health Service
This is a telephone and online service that was launched in December 2014. The service is divided into four sections, including general financial advice and borrowing and saving, but there is a strong emphasis on overcoming debt problems.
Scottish consumers who are worried about their debts can access clear, impartial information about some of the options that may be open to them, such as Trust Deeds, sequestration (bankruptcy) and the Government-run Debt Arrangement Scheme (see below).
The service also explains how to find and contact an approved money adviser for further assistance.
The Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Act
The Scottish Government introduced this Act on 1 April 2015. It brings together a range of different initiatives that combine to make the Act one of the world’s most comprehensive and advanced debt management systems. Key measures include:
- Introducing a low cost, fast track alternative to sequestration called the Minimal Asset Process. This replaces a previous scheme called Low Income, Low Asset.
- Making it the law that people must take advice from a Government-approved money adviser before entering into formal insolvency solutions.
- Creating a Common Financial Tool to bring consistency and fairness to the process by which money advisers calculate a person’s ability to repay their debts.
- Sending anyone who’s been subject to formal insolvency proceedings (a Debt Arrangement Scheme, Protected Trust Deed or bankruptcy) on a financial education course.
- Imposing a time limit on the window during which a creditor can make a claim on an insolvent person’s estate.
- Giving the Accountant in Bankruptcy (the Scottish equivalent of the Insolvency Service) more powers to make decisions around sequestrations and how they should be administered.
You can read more about the Act in our blog article from June 2015.
The Debt Arrangement Scheme
The Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) has been specifically developed to help Scottish people to repay their debts through an affordable debt payment programme (DPP). It can only be set up and managed by a Government-approved money adviser.
A DAS is available to anyone living in Scotland who can’t afford to repay their debts under their existing terms, but can afford to pay something each month. There is no minimum amount of debt to qualify for the scheme. However, like a Trust Deed, a DAS can only include unsecured debts like credit cards, loans and overdrafts. Secured debts such as mortgages can’t be included.
If you apply for a DAS, your money adviser will start by working out how much you can afford to pay off your debts each month. You’ll always be left with enough money for essential living expenses such as rent, utilities, food and fuel. This information will be used to draw up a DPP that will be sent to your creditors for consideration.
Your creditors will then vote for or against the DPP. However, even if one or more of your creditors rejects it, your money adviser can overturn this decision and force the DAS to go ahead if they feel this is in your best interests.
Once the DPP has been put in place, you and your creditors will be legally-bound by it. You’ll need to keep making your monthly payments for the full time period specified in the DPP, which you’ll have agreed with your money adviser. It will carry on until your debts have been completely cleared, so you could be in a DAS for quite some time.
Other key points to note about the Debt Arrangement Schemes are:
- You’ll need to pay your money adviser fees for setting up and managing your DPP. The fees will be subsumed within your monthly payments, so you won’t need to pay anything upfront.
- Your creditors will be legally obliged to freeze interest and charges on your accounts and stop any pending court action against you once your DAS is in place.
- A DAS shouldn’t affect your home or other assets such as a car. However, if you don’t keep up repayments on any loans secured against these assets, like a mortgage or Hire Purchase agreement, they could be repossessed.
- If your income changes during the course of your DPP, your money adviser may be able to amend your monthly payment amounts. However, if there is a big increase in your disposable income, you may have to revert to your original credit terms.
- Your credit rating will be affected for up to six years from the date your DAS comes to an end.
- You could still be forced into sequestration if you don’t keep up your DPP repayments or your DAS fails for any other reason.
Find out more
Trust-Deeds.co.uk are here to answer all your questions about the Government debt help that’s available in Scotland. Just give us a call on 0141 301 1170 and our friendly advisers will be pleased to help. Alternatively, you can email us your enquiry or fill in our simple online form.
The summer holidays are here and (weather permitting) it’s the time of year that everyone likes to relax and unwind. However, summer can also be an expensive time with the costs of keeping the kids entertained and taking the family away for a well-earned break. This article from debt management experts, Trust-Deeds.co.uk, offers a few helpful tips to having fun without sliding into debt this summer.
- Grow your own food
Starting a vegetable garden won’t just cut down on your food costs, it’s a great way to keep the kids entertained, too. All you need are a few packets of seeds, some basic tools, a bag of compost and suitable containers to incubate your young plants. The kids will love watching the seeds they’ve planted grow into succulent salads and delicious vegetables that are healthy and taste great.
- Look out for entertainment discounts
If you’re planning a day out, look around online for discounts and vouchers that can save you money. Theme parks such as Alton Towers often have deals such as ‘2 for 1’ tickets or free entry for children. And if you’re off to the cinema, find out if certain showings have cheaper tickets and eat at home first to avoid splashing out on pricey treats. Better still, rent a movie online and watch it at home. You’ll save pounds on the snacks and drinks as well!
- Holiday at home
Everyone loves getting away, but you can still have a good time at home. Turn your garden into a beach resort for the kids with a sandpit and paddling pool, and pick up some outdoor games such as a swingball set and basketball hoop. Crank up the stereo, pour yourself a drink and relax in the comfort of your own garden. You could even add to the excitement (and gain yourself some peace and quiet) by letting the kids camp in the garden overnight.
- Carry on camping
If you’ve set your heart on going on holiday, camping is an inexpensive option that’s great for kids and adults alike. As well as saving money on accommodation and meal costs, you’ll also have the freedom to move around whenever and wherever you like. The kids will enjoy the novelty of al fresco cooking and eating, and if you’re staying on a large campsite, the facilities and entertainment on offer will keep them happy all day long.
- Party on
Why spend money on a night out when you can have your own party at home? Holding a barbecue is an easy way to entertain your friends and family, and if everyone brings some food and drink along, it won’t cost much either. For even more savings, look out for deals on barbecue food, alcoholic and soft drinks at your local supermarket.
- Explore for free
The UK is packed with attractions and things to do that won’t cost you a penny. From music and arts festivals to country walks and bike rides, you’re sure to find a wealth of free or low cost days out in your local area. Or take a trip down to London, where you can visit some of the world’s most famous museums and art galleries absolutely free.
Still having money problems? Talk to Fresh Finance.
Sometimes, cutting back on your spending just isn’t enough. So if you’re finding it harder to make your credit card and loan repayments each month, it might be time to seek professional advice. Fresh Finance are here to help.
Our trained advisers will help you find the smartest way to clear your debts, based on how much you owe and who to, and your household income and outgoings. For smaller debt amounts, we might suggest Debt Management, an informal solution that reduces the amount you pay to your creditors each month. We’ll talk to your creditors on your behalf and manage everything for you, making life a little less complicated.
If your debt problems are more severe, you could consider a form of personal insolvency such as bankruptcy or an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA). These options might sound daunting, but there are advantages such as legal protection from your creditors once the solution is in place. It’s all about finding the option that’s right for you.
Contact us today
To get the ball rolling, get in touch with the friendly team at Trust-Deeds.co.uk today. You can call free from a landline on 0808 168 8262 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if you prefer, you can fill in our quick online form with your questions.
If you’re a property owner and considering a Trust Deed to manage your debts, you’ll need to think about the potential impact on this on your house or flat. This article from Protected Trust Deed experts, Trust-Deeds.co.uk, sets out some of the key information you’ll need to take on board before making your decision.
You can ask your creditors to exclude your property from your Trust Deed
Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to ask your secured creditors (such as your mortgage lender) to let you exclude your property from the Trust Deed. If they’re happy to do this, your unsecured creditors will then be asked to agree to excluding your home when your Trust Deed becomes Protected (this is the stage where it becomes legally binding for you and your creditors).
If they don’t agree to this, you might need to propose another Trust Deed which does include your house or flat. Should this go ahead, your interest in the property will then be passed into the control of, or ‘vest’ in, your Trustee when the Trust Deed becomes Protected.
If your property is included in your Protected Trust Deed, you can normally stay in it
One of the benefits of a Trust Deed over sequestration (bankruptcy) is that you won’t normally be required to sell your property for the benefit of your creditors. However, if you have any equity in your home, you may be asked to release this during the Trust Deed by re-mortgaging or selling your share of the equity to a third party such as a spouse or partner. Alternatively, the third party could pay money directly into the Trust Deed, if your Trustee will allow this.
The downside if that if you can get a re-mortgage, this could be at a higher rate than you were paying before. And if you can’t re-mortgage, release any equity or raise the related funds from friends or family, the term of your Trust Deed will probably be extended.
Make sure your property is independently valued
If your property is likely to be included in your Trust Deed, you’ll need to obtain an independent valuation to determine how much equity you have. Your Trust Deed provider should be able to arrange this for you.
After the valuation has taken place, your Trustee will deduct the amount of equity you own from your share of any outstanding mortgage loan. This amount will then be written into your Trust Deed and you’ll be legally obliged to release the equity in one of the ways described above before your Trust Deed can be discharged.
Note that if you have no equity in the property when your Trust Deed is drawn up, you should make sure this is recorded in writing, stating that a re-valuation won’t be required later to assess if you’ve built up any equity. Some Trust Deed firms will charge for providing a ‘No Re-Valuation Guarantee’ whilst others offer this free of charge.
Get everything set out clearly in writing
However your property is to be treated during your Trust Deed, make sure that all the relevant facts are set out in writing by your Trust Deed provider before you commit to going ahead. This will help to prevent problems and disputes arising once things are underway.
You’ll still need to keep up with your mortgage payments
Whether or not your property is listed in your Protected Trust Deed, it’s important that you keep your mortgage payments up to date. Your Trustee should have included these payments in your essential outgoings when calculating your disposable income, so you should have enough money to keep them covered.
If your circumstances change (for example if you lose your job) and you’re finding it hard to make your mortgage payments, you must tell your Trustee straightaway so they can try to vary the terms of your Trust Deed to make it affordable. They may be able to get your creditors to give you a payment break, or reduce the amount you pay into the Trust Deed each month. However, doing this will probably extend its term.
It’s important to remember that if you do fall behind with your mortgage payments, your secured creditors can still take action against you to repossess your home.
If your Trust Deed fails for any reason, you could still lose your home
If you don’t comply with the terms of your Protected Trust Deed and it fails as a result, the chances are you’ll be made bankrupt – or sequestrated as it’s known in Scotland. Should this happen, your property and any other valuable assets that you own will be at risk of repossession.
Like to know more?
Trust-Deeds.co.uk are here to answer all your questions about Protected Trust Deeds. Just give one of our friendly advisers a call on 0141 301 1170 or email us at email@example.com. Alternatively, you can take our online debt test to see if you qualify for our help.
A new report by student accommodation provider Student Unite has revealed that around 6,300 university students in Scotland are relying on payday loans to make ends meet. The figure accounts for almost 3% of all students attending universities north of the border.
In the UK as a whole, around 32,000 students are estimated to be using payday loans. However, the Scottish student population only accounts for around 10% of all UK students. So the Student Unite survey shows that 18.75% of all UK students who are using payday loans are attending Scottish universities.
In other words, Scottish students are almost twice as likely as their English or Welsh counterparts to turn to payday loans to help cover their costs. But where has this Scottish student debt crisis come from? After all, Scottish-domiciled students aren’t saddled with tuition fees of up to £9,000 a year, so you might expect them to have an easier time of it than people studying in England or Wales.
According to Scottish Labour, the answer lies in the large cuts that the SNP government has made to student grants and bursaries – slashing available funds by a massive £40 million. As a result, student debt levels have increased sharply, with many students feeling they have no choice but to turn to payday lenders to make up the shortfall.
Andy Gorton, Managing Director of debt counselling service, Trust-Deeds.co.uk, comments: ‘It’s very sad to see so many students struggling with poverty in Scotland. These are young kids who are just starting out in life and who should be looking ahead to a bright future, not worrying about how to pay the rent or afford the books they need for their course.’
As youngsters in their teens and early twenties, students are unlikely to have much if any credit history. They’re also unlikely to be earning much, even if they work part-time. So whilst they can usually access student banking packages – which often include interest free overdrafts – they’re effectively precluded from other forms of affordable credit such as personal loans. This leaves them with very few options when the money runs out.
‘As Unite Student points out, there are university and student union-based services that can provide help and advice on financial matters and, in some cases, Hardship Funds,’ adds Andy. ‘But given the current situation, these services are likely to be under extreme pressure – with the unfortunate result that many students are now taking matters into their own hands and resorting to short-term, high interest loans.’
Of course, taking out the odd payday loan here and there can be a useful solution to a short-term cash flow problem. But the glaring clue to their unsuitability for students lies in the name: payday loans. This is a form of credit that’s designed for working people with a regular wage or salary packet that they can use to pay off the loan within a short time. It’s not the right answer for a student with little or no regular income who needs extra cash, fast – but then has no means of repaying the loan.
‘It’s all too easy to get in a financial mess with payday loans,’ says Andy. ‘Even with the recent crackdowns by the FCA, there are still providers who aren’t too scrupulous about who they lend to, or how they collect debt. To any student who’s got themselves into a bad situation with payday loans or any other type of credit, I would say “Speak to a professional debt adviser as soon as possible”.’
Trust-Deeds.co.uk can help
Trust-Deeds.co.uk is here to help you find the best way to overcome your debts so that in time, you can leave your problems behind and enjoy a life without debt. Our friendly, trained advisers can arrange access to a range of high quality debt solutions, including:
- Protected Trust Deeds. With a Trust Deed, you make affordable repayments to your creditors each month, usually for four years. After that, any remaining unsecured debts are written off.
- Debt Management. This is a less formal solution that reduces the amount you pay to each of your creditors. We negotiate the deal and distribute your monthly payments on your behalf.
- Sequestration. The Scottish form of bankruptcy, sequestration gives you the chance to make a fresh financial start – usually after just 12 months. There are pros as well as cons but it could be an option if you’re short on income and assets.
Contact us today
Get in touch with Trust-Deeds.co.uk today so we can talk you through your debt management options and empower you to make informed decisions. Call us on 0141 301 1170 or complete our online form to receive confidential, impartial advice.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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 email@example.com. 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