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Declaring Bankruptcy In Victoria

If your financial situation has become overwhelming, and you’ve explored all other viable avenues, bankruptcy may be your best option. Bankruptcy is a legal process that releases you from your unsecured debts, allowing you to make a fresh start.

While it has some notable consequences, the positives typically outweigh the negatives. You’re eligible for bankruptcy in Victoria if you can’t pay your debts as and when they fall due and you are present in Australia or have a residential or business connection in Australia. There’s no minimum or maximum amount of debt required to enter the process.

You can become bankrupt in Melbourne two ways: a creditor’s or debtor’s petition. In the first, a creditor forces you to become bankrupt. In the second, you decide to become bankrupt. Our Victorian bankruptcy specialists can manage the process for you, helping you with the paperwork and working as your registered bankruptcy trustee.

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The bankruptcy process in Melbourne

Lodging A Petition

If we’re unable to help you pay your debts or come to a suitable arrangement with creditors, we’ll help you fill out the relevant forms and lodge a debtor’s petition to become bankrupt.

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The AFSA Decision

If your application is accepted by the Australian Financial Services Authority (AFSA), you become bankrupt. The decision typically takes 24-48 hours. You’re unable to change your mind after lodging.

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Trustee Takes Control

After appointing us as trustee, we take control of your property and debts. In order to pay creditor’s, we’ll sell some assets, recover any income, and investigate your financial situation. The process typically wraps up in three years.

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Success Story

Leigh had debts of approximately $60,000 and couldn’t afford to service it on his current income.

He had placed his Melbourne based company into liquidation six months earlier due to solvency issues and needed to avoid any personal action being taken against him. He solely held real property with net equity of less than $10,000 and a vehicle of minimal financial value.

After already losing his business, Leigh didn’t want to lose his house as well. He was feeling highly stressed and felt out of his depth.

Our Solution

When he reached out to us, we could sense his distress and spent time discussing his situation and allowing him to offload the burden, which he had been dealing with largely on his own. After assessing his finances, the only viable option at this stage was bankruptcy.

Our bankruptcy solution included entering a deed of forbearance, ensuring he kept his home in Victoria. This allowed him to make affordable payments over the bankruptcy period towards his bankrupt estate whilst continuing to pay off his vehicle.

Positive Outcome

Unsecured Debts Wiped

Leigh was able to save over $45,000 through the bankruptcy and is now discharged.

Kept His Home And Vehicle

The deed of forbearance ensured he kept his home. He was also able to repay his vehicle, allowing him to retain the vehicle.

Freedom To Start Over

With no more harassing calls and better cash flow, he could breathe and start afresh.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long does bankruptcy last?

Bankruptcy typically lasts for 3 years and 1 day, plus two years after you are discharged from bankruptcy (generally 5 years in total). It can be extended to up to 8 years under certain circumstances, such as not complying with requests made by your Bankruptcy Trustee.

There is legislation currently in parliament that proposes changes to Australia’s insolvency laws. This legislation proposes to shorten the bankruptcy period to 1 year. Should the legislation be passed, it will also apply to all existing bankruptcies.

What debts can be included in bankruptcy?

All unsecured debts such as: tax debts, credit card debts, personal loans, store cards, school fees, debts under personal guarantees and utility bills.

You must continue paying some debts during your bankruptcy period. These include: Penalties and fines imposed by the court, Unliquidated damages, Child Support and Certain Centrelink Debts, HECS and HELP debts and debts incurred after your bankruptcy begins.

Bankruptcy does not include secured debts, such as a mortgage or vehicle loans; as such, if you fail to make the repayments on these debts, the creditors are within their rights to repossess the security (home or car) and sell it to recover their money. If the creditor sells the asset and a shortfall arises (more is owed than the amount sold), the shortfall will be included in the bankruptcy.

How long is bankruptcy noted on my credit file?

Your bankruptcy will remain on your credit file for the entire period of bankruptcy plus two years after your a discharges (generally 5 years total).

Your name will also appear on the National Personal Insolvency Index (NPII). This is a register of all personal insolvency activity. Your name is on the NPII for life.

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