As a licensed insolvency trustee, my responsibility by law is to provide a thorough assessment of a person’s situation so that person can make the best choice about how to deal with his or her debts. You might be surpised to hear that only 20% of the people who contact my firm ultimately file with us and only half of those are bankruptcies. That tells me that a trustee can help people find many ways to get out of debt.
Having said that, sometimes bankruptcy is absolutely the right answer. If the time for negotiation has run out and you are at risk of having your pay cheque or property seized by a creditor, you likely need the protection that bankruptcy brings.
For many people, the process for filing bankruptcy is relatively straightforward. Here’s my quick guide for filing bankruptcy:
- Contact a licensed insolvency trustee to schedule a consultation. For most trustees, a consultation is free of charge. The purpose of this meeting is to explore the options. You are not expected or required to make a decision, but most people do.
- The trustee will assist you in preparing the government forms for filing bankruptcy. You will be required to provide a list of who you owe money to, a summary of significant assets (with estimated values) and a monthly budget. You will be required to provide documents to verify some of the details. The trustee uses this information, along with your answers to some other general questions, to prepare the paperwork.
- Once the paperwork is ready, the trustee will review it with you for accuracy. You will be required to sign all of the forms, including making a sworn declaration that you have provided all of the details to the best of your knowledge. For most people, it takes one or two prior meetings to get to this point.
- The trustee will file your documents with the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB). This process is done electronically.
- Once the OSB has received the filing documents, you are protected against your creditors taking legal action. The trustee proceeds to contact all of the creditors within five business days to provide the notice of bankruptcy.
There is a variety of duties, financial and non-financial, in completing a bankruptcy. The trustee explains these duties to you before you file. This is a big part of deciding whether bankruptcy or some other option is right for you. Nobody is ever excited about talking to a trustee. Nobody should be excited about filing bankruptcy. For many, it is a very emotional process. However, a trustee can help you make the right choices so that you can start to focus on the future again.
If you are considering bankruptcy in Kitchener Waterloo or the surrounding area, give us a call today. We can walk you through your options. You may discover an alternative but if not, we will help you through the process.