Tag Archives: Sands & Associates

AskExpertQuestion

Ask the Trustee – May Edition

Licensed insolvency trustee Blair Mantin answers your questions about how to manage debts, including options such as Credit Counselling, Consumer Proposals and Bankruptcy in BC!

Q: What are some actions to avoid when trying to get out of debt?

A: Hiding from creditors: Ignoring creditors can lead them taking further steps to collect, including seizing wages and assets.

Paying off family debt first: Paying family debt in priority to other debts can be viewed as preferential treatment and can cause future problems.

Getting a co-signor: By co-signing, a person is agreeing to take on 100% of the debt if you can’t pay.

Cashing in RRSPs: RRSPs are federally protected assets.  Don’t cash RRSPs to pay debt unless you fully understand the rules and the tax consequences.

Paying for debt advice: It should never cost money to discuss your options, so speak to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee first.  We can often give you the information you need to move forward in a free consultation.

To find out more about your debt options, call us at 1-800-661-3030 or contact us here to arrange for a free, confidential consultation.

Money and Marriage

Relationships and Debt

Finances often play a leading role in relationship problems, in fact, a 2014 poll by Ontario-based Trustees Hoyes Michalos showed that a significant number of relationships face debt challenges from the very start.  Communication also appears to play a significant factor in paying down debts – respondents who did not discuss their debts prior to walking down the aisle were more likely to be among those adding to their debts instead of reducing them together.

One couple, two financial blueprints

Despite sharing a household, a couples’ finances are legally quite separate.  It’s a common misconception that one spouse automatically becomes responsible for their partners’ debts.  This is completely false; there is no automatic liability for debts created by virtue of marriage or cohabitation.  Even one person filing for bankruptcy (or making a consumer proposal) does not automatically assign their spouse into the same.  Make sure you know the facts about who owes what!

  • Unless a spouse has signed explicitly to be responsible for their partner’s debts, there is no ability for a creditor to try to collect from an individual who does not owe this money.
  • Care should be taken before agreeing to co-sign debts.  You are ultimately giving the creditor another set of pockets to collect from should the debt go unpaid.

Some financial Do’s and Don’ts for couples

DO:

  • Set aside time to talk about where your finances (shared and separate) are at. Be honest with your partner about your financial situation.
  • Work together to create a budget for the household.  If you have separate obligations try making three budgets; one to share, and two separate/personal budgets.
  • Set financial goals and be supportive of each other.  Money skills take time; be sure to celebrate your shared successes.

DON’T:

  • Ignore bills and assume your spouse is taking care of everything.  It’s important for both people to remain involved and informed.
  • Play the blame game.  A plan of action is far more useful than accusations.
  • Be afraid to ask for assistance.  If the financial problems are beyond your resources, there are professionals available to help you.  Financial counselors, bankruptcy trustees/proposal administrators help many couples trade financial burden for freedom.

With over 25 years of experience, Sands & Associates is BC’s largest firm of Credit Counsellors, Proposal Administrators and Licensed Insolvency Trustees focused exclusively on assisting individuals and small businesses achieve their “debt free” goals.

To meet with a representative for a free, confidential consultation in one of our 15 BC offices, please contact us.

debt+free

How Much Does it Cost to File a Bankruptcy?

It’s no surprise that often the first question people considering bankruptcy ask Licensed Insolvency Trustees is “How much does a bankruptcy cost?”.  Because of the legislation that sets out the rules and regulations around bankruptcy, the answer requires a bit of further investigating.

Free Consultation

  • A Licensed Insolvency Trustee will meet with you for free to review your specific situation and provide you with your legal options, including options besides bankruptcy. It should never cost you money to find out what solutions are available to you.  This first meeting is very important as many components of the law vary depending on your unique circumstances.

Cost of the proceeding

  • Trustee’s fees, filing fees and counselling fees are all regulated and set by a government tariff – it is not a “fee for service” like you might commonly find with a lawyer or accountant. As most people will retain all of their assets in a bankruptcy, the Trustee will generally have you arrange monthly payments to pay the fees and disbursements.  In a very simple case, where a person’s income falls below a certain threshold, this may amount to roughly $200 per month over a period of 9 months; this includes registration, counselling and filing fees, as well as tax payable.
  • If your household income, net of standard deductions as well as certain expenses, is above a government-set income standard, you may be required to contribute additionally towards your bankruptcy – this is called “surplus income”. The income standard varies depending on the number of people in your household and is generally adjusted each year to account for increases in cost of living.
  • Whether or not you’ve done a bankruptcy before will dictate not only the length of time before you will be eligible to be discharged (“released”) from bankruptcy, but also how much the fees are. The fees payable will be slightly higher in a subsequent bankruptcy.
  • It is also important to note that in every bankruptcy, a copy of the Trustee’s final accounting (Statement of Receipts & Disbursements) is sent to the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy for review and approval – this ensures full transparency and compliance with the laws in place.

The best thing you can do is to meet with a local Licensed Insolvency Trustee for a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your situation and evaluate all of your options.  There may even be solutions besides bankruptcy available to you, such as a Consumer Proposal – so it is important to find out the specifics and how they relate to you personally.  If you’re meeting with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee it will never cost you money to find out what your options are!

To meet with a representative at Sands & Associates, please contact us for a free, confidential consultation.

ProposalvsCreditCouns-Blog

Bankruptcy Is Not Your Only Option!

Bankruptcy is not your only debt resolution option.  A Consumer Proposal is the most powerful and least well-known debt solution.

Speak with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee to find out if a Consumer Proposal is the best way for you to get back on track!

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Click the infographic to enlarge.

To meet with a representative for a free, confidential consultation in one of our 15 BC offices, please contact us.

AskExpertQuestion

Ask the Trustee – April Edition

Licensed insolvency trustee Blair Mantin answers your questions about how to manage debts, including options such as Credit Counselling, Consumer Proposals and Bankruptcy in BC!

Q: What happens in a personal bankruptcy?

A: In general, a personal bankruptcy involves 4 key steps:

Meet with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee for a free consultation to discuss your situation. There may be other options besides bankruptcy to consider.

Your Trustee will prepare legal documents.  Once signed, your creditors will be contacted and will no longer be able to attempt collection.  You get the relief you need to rebuild your finances.

During the bankruptcy you will report your household income and expenses, this will determine how much you will pay.  You will also attend two credit counselling sessions.

Once your duties are complete you will receive a discharge from bankruptcy – for most people this is after 9 months. A fresh financial start has been achieved!

To find out more about your debt options, call us at 1-800-661-3030 or contact us here to arrange for a free, confidential consultation.

VancouverSun-2016

Vancouver Sun Editorial: “Ignorance rife when dealing with debt”

A recent editorial from the Vancouver Sun newspaper highlighted several current financial issues which are continuing to affect British Columbia residents.  The editorial focused on trends revealed by Sands & Associates’ BC Consumer Debt Study.  The findings released in March 2016 were from the fourth annual BC Consumer Debt Study undertaken by BC’s largest firm of Credit Counsellors and Licensed Insolvency Trustees.

As the editorial plainly states, many individuals are simply waiting too long before seeking financial assistance and in the meantime are often aggravating the issue by opting to take on more debts, depleting RRSPs, or visiting unlicensed debt agents. The author further notes that “free spending is not always at the root of ensuing financial problems”, and that if people felt more comfortable opening up about their financial situation,  the information they need could be acquired much more easily.

To read the full editorial please click here.

Improving financial literacy for consumers is always top of mind for Vice-President of Sands & Associates, Blair Mantin:  “Over seventy five percent of our survey respondents indicated that they would have taken action sooner if they had been aware of how the processes really work.  Licensed Insolvency Trustees are always available to provide information about people’s options – for free.”

For more information about the 2016 BC Consumer Debt Study, please click here.

To meet with a Sands & Associates representative about your financial options, please contact us for a free, confidential consultation.