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What paperwork will be required if I go bankrupt?
If you are thinking about going bankrupt you need to understand that will normally need to back up some of the information that you give in your application form about your financial situation with paperwork.
Once you have been declared bankrupt at the Court the Official Receiver (OR) will review the information you have given in your application forms. They will also conduct an interview with you normally over the telephone so that they can get a better understanding about your circumstances.
Once they have spoken to you the Official Receiver will then make a decision as to whether they require you to provide any paperwork to support the information you have given them.
BE Tip: You will not need to take any paperwork with you to the court other than your completed application forms. Any addition paperwork will be requested by the OR at a later date if they feel they need it.
Contrary to what you might have already read or been told there are no hard and fast rules about the type and amount of paperwork that the OR will ask you for. They can ask for absolutely anything that they feel is relevant to their investigation of your previous conduct and affairs.
If your circumstances are particularly simple and clear cut it is possible that the OR will not request any paperwork from you at all. However this is rare. Normally they will ask for various things such as bank statements and proof of your income such as wage slips.
Confirmation of your income
It is highly likely that the Official receiver will ask for confirmation of your income. If you are employed they may ask for between 3 and 12 months recent wage slips. They may also ask for benefits statements if you are receiving benefits.
If you are self employed it is likely that you will be asked to provide recent tax returns and accounts of your business.
Recent bank statements
In order to confirm your major living expenses the Official Receiver is likely to ask you for copies of your recent bank statements. They will normally ask for between 3 and 12 months of bank statements.
By looking at your recent bank statements the OR will also be able to get a good idea as to whether you have recently received or paid out any lump sums of money. If you have they are likely to question you about this.
The OR will also be able to see any recent payments you have made to any of your creditors and take action if they feel these were preferential.
Recent credit card statements
It is becoming more and more common for the Official Receiver to ask you to provide recent copies of your credit card statements.
These statements will enable the OR to get an overview of your expenditure patterns over the past 6-12 months. They may question you about any unusual or significant purchases.
Your rent agreement
If you are renting your property it is likely that the Official Receiver will ask you to provide them with a copy of your rent agreement.
Should I get a home valuation?
If you are a home owner it is always a sensible idea to get a local estate agent to value your property before you go bankrupt.
Even if you believe that your property is in negative equity it is important to confirm this with a valuation so that you can be sure. The last thing you want is to declare yourself bankrupt and then find out that your property is worth far more than your thought as this may then put it at risk.
Another good reason for getting a valuation even if you believe that there is little or no equity in your property is that you might be interested in buying back the beneficial interest from the Official Receiver straight away. You will need a local estate agents valuation to be able to prove the value of the property to the OR.
BE Tip: If you are a home owner it is unlikely that the Official Receiver will ask you to provide a home valuation. If they want to verify the value of your property they will normally arrange for their own valuation to be carried out (normally a simple drive by valuation). However this would be unusual unless the OR believes that there is currently significant equity in your property.