What is Bankruptcy?

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Bankruptcy is a formal way out when you can no longer handle your debt. When facing financial challenges in Australia, bankruptcy becomes an important option for individuals struggling with debt.

With expert bankruptcy lawyers in Brisbane Kyle Macmillan and Tom Pils at the helm, the Macmillan Lawyers and Advisors team offers extensive experience and an established track record of success in addressing intricate bankruptcy matters.

What is bankruptcy in Australia?

Bankruptcy in Australia is a legal process that individuals can enter into when they are unable to repay their debt. It is regulated, and the process is typically initiated by the debtor or their creditors. When someone declares bankruptcy, their assets are assessed, and the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) appoints a trustee to supervise the distribution of assets to creditors. This process provides individuals with relief from overwhelming debt and a chance for a fresh financial start.

Understanding the Bankruptcy Act 1966

Bankruptcy in Australia operates under the Bankruptcy Act 1966, overseen by AFSA. It can be voluntary or involuntary through a sequestration order obtained by a creditor through a court process.

  • Voluntary bankruptcy: If you choose to file for bankruptcy on your own, it's called voluntary bankruptcy. You’ll need to fill out a Bankruptcy Form and submit it, signalling your decision to start the process.
  • Involuntary bankruptcy: On the other hand, someone you owe money to (a creditor), can file a creditor’s petition with the court. If the court grants the petition, it issues a sequestration order.

Duration of Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy typically lasts for a minimum of 3 years and 1 day. During this time, your finances are carefully managed to help you get back on track.

AFSA and Your Trustee

AFSA oversees individual bankruptcies. When you become bankrupt, a trustee is appointed to manage the process. This trustee can be the Official Trustee (a body corporate appointed by AFSA) or a registered trustee of your choice. Registered trustees are registered with AFSA on the National Personal Insolvency Index (NPII).

Your trustee will inform your creditors about your bankruptcy, stopping them from bothering you about debts. Moreover, your trustee might sell some of your assets to pay off your debt.

Your Obligations During Bankruptcy

While bankrupt, you have certain responsibilities. You must:

  • Provide details of your debt, income, mortgage, and assets to your trustee
  • Inform your trustee if your personal details change (e.g., name, address, employment)
  • Make compulsory payments if your income is above the threshold
  • Keep your trustee up to date on any new assets or inheritance
  • Officially ask your trustee for permission to travel outside of Australia
  • Disclose your bankruptcy in any credit applications, and if you use another name for business or trade.

What to Do Before You Enter Bankruptcy

what to do before you enter bankruptcy

What to do before you enter bankruptcy

Step 1: Seek Help

Before entering bankruptcy, it's crucial to seek help. Financial counsellors, available in every state and territory, offer free, independent, and confidential assistance. Contact Macmillan Lawyers and Advisors today to discuss your situation and options.

Step 2: Know Your Options

Bankruptcy is just one option. There are other alternatives under the Bankruptcy Act 1966, such as temporary debt protection. Explore these options with your financial counsellor before making a decision.

Step 3: Understand the Consequences

Bankruptcy can have serious consequences, affecting your credit, insurance policies, travel plans, and job opportunities. Your name will permanently be recorded on the NPII. This list can easily be accessed by banks, landlords, and employers. It's essential to be aware of the repercussions before choosing this path.

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Alternatives to Bankruptcy

Exploring debt management alternatives is crucial before opting for bankruptcy. Options like personal insolvency agreements can help to get you out of your current situation with far fewer long-term complications. Each alternative has its pros and cons, requiring careful consideration based on your individual circumstances.

Should I Just Declare Bankruptcy?

Should I file for bankruptcy

Should I file for bankruptcy

Deciding whether to file for bankruptcy is a choice that requires careful consideration. Here are key factors to contemplate:

  1. Financial alternatives: Evaluate alternative debt management solutions such as debt consolidation, debt agreements, or personal insolvency arrangements. Bankruptcy should only be considered after exploring all viable options.
  2. Professional guidance: Seek advice from financial counsellors, insolvency lawyers, or accountants. Professionals can provide insights tailored to your situation, helping you make an informed decision.
  3. Credit and employment impact: Understand the repercussions on your credit rating and potential limitations on future employment opportunities. Assess the long-term effects on your financial stability, as bankruptcy adversely affects credit ratings, limiting borrowing capabilities.
  4. Asset implications: Consider the consequences for your assets. Bankruptcy may involve selling certain assets to settle debts, affecting your personal and financial circumstances.
  5. Legal obligations: Familiarise yourself with the legal responsibilities that come with bankruptcy, such as your travel restrictions. Ensure you're prepared for the obligations and restrictions during and after the process.
  6. Duration of bankruptcy: Acknowledge the timeframe involved in bankruptcy proceedings. Be aware of any potential extensions based on your cooperation with the trustee.
  7. Permanent public record: Recognise that bankruptcy becomes a part of the public record. Your financial details will be accessible on the NPII, impacting your privacy.
  8. Impact on relationships: Consider how bankruptcy may affect your relationships, both personal and professional. Open communication with affected parties is crucial.
  9. Emotional preparedness: Assess your emotional readiness for the challenges associated with bankruptcy. It's essential to be mentally prepared for the process and its outcomes.
  10. Future financial goals: Reflect on your future financial goals and aspirations. Understand how bankruptcy aligns or conflicts with your long-term objectives.

Before opting for bankruptcy, take the time to thoroughly evaluate these factors. Seeking professional legal advice and considering the broader implications will empower you to make a well-informed decision aligned with your unique circumstances. Contact Macmillan Lawyers and Advisors today for a consultation.

Pros and Cons of Bankruptcy

Pros Cons
Debt relief Credit impact
Immediate protection Employment limitations
Financial fresh start Asset liquidation
Structured repayment Long-term consequences
Legal protection Limited types of debt covered
Asset exemptions Permanent public record
End to creditor harassment Difficulty obtaining loans
Automatic stay on collections Potential for employment discrimination
Opportunity for rebuilding Emotional stress
Elimination of unsecured debts Travel restrictions

What is Bankruptcy vs Insolvency?

Bankruptcy is a legal status specifically for individuals who cannot pay their debt. In this process, a trustee manages the distribution of the individual's assets to creditors, offering relief and a chance for a new financial beginning.

Insolvency, however, is a broader term applicable to both individuals and businesses that are unable to meet financial obligations. Insolvency can lead to bankruptcy for individuals or liquidation for companies and may be addressed through debt restructuring, negotiations, or formal insolvency processes.

Why Choose Macmillan Lawyers and Advisors for Bankruptcy

Now that you know what bankruptcy is, you can make an informed choice. Seek professional assistance with Macmillan Lawyers and Advisors to make your bankruptcy process more straightforward and less stressful.

Simplifying the Insolvency Process

When it comes to bankruptcy, liquidation, or turnaround, our team knows how to simplify the insolvency process, guiding you step by step. We offer legal representation to ensure your interests are protected, providing support for voluntary bankruptcy declarations and bankruptcy notices.

Independent Trustee for Financial Protection

Bankruptcy occurs when an individual is insolvent, has unmanageable debt, and is unable to pay that debt. Macmillan Lawyers and Advisors ensure the protection of debtors and creditors by appointing a registered trustee. This independent professional investigates financial affairs, manages asset collection, and facilitates fair distribution to creditors.

Disputes are inevitable, and when they arise, Macmillan Law is here to provide legal representation. From personal to corporate insolvency, our team is dedicated to resolving disputes and protecting your legal interests.

Bankruptcy FAQs

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insolvency lawyer brisbane

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Contact Information

Phone: 07 3518 8030

Email: [email protected]

Address: Level 38, 71 Eagle Street, Brisbane QLD 4000


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