What is Personal Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a legal option available to you to resolve your debts and achieve a financial fresh start. The option to file for personal bankruptcy is yours – no creditor or other party can prevent you from seeking the protection of Canadian personal bankruptcy legislation. To understand if personal bankruptcy might be the right option for you (and if our trustees in bankruptcy can provide debt relief), consider the following signs of serious debt problems:
- Making only minimum payments on credit cards
- Wages are being garnisheed by creditors
- Assets are being seized by creditors
- Using overdraft most months
- Uncertainty about how much you owe in total
- Credit collectors are calling
- You are considering consolidating your debts
It is important to realize that you are not alone in your financial challenges or your drive to become debt-free. Over the past 26 years, Sands & Associates, trustees in bankruptcy, has helped thousands of individuals in BC by providing debt relief and helping them achieve a financial fresh start.
Contact Us for a free, confidential evaluation to see if we can help you become debt-free.
Dave’s Story – an Independent Film
Sands & Associates partnered with local filmmakers to make an independent film about one person’s journey through bankruptcy. Dave Malicki is a 46 year old lawyer, at the age of 39 he declared personal bankruptcy. Watch Dave’s story progress, from successful lawyer to an individual going deeper and deeper into debt.
There are many misconceptions and myths about filing for personal bankruptcy in BC. Here are the facts:
Myth: I will be in bankruptcy for seven years or longer
Fact: According to the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy, for 80% of debtors, bankruptcy lasts nine months, and costs approximately $1,800 (minimum fees set by Government tariff). Most people pay $200 per month for the nine month term of their bankruptcy.
Myth: My credit rating will be destroyed and will never recover
Fact: Bankruptcy will negatively impact your credit rating and will be noted on your credit report for six years following your discharge. During your financial counselling sessions with us, we will provide you with proven tools and techniques to help you rebuild your credit after bankruptcy. There are a number of ‘after bankruptcy’ lenders who specialize in working with rehabilitated debtors. With the right saving and budgeting habits post-bankruptcy it is very possible to rebuild your credit much sooner than six years after your discharge. For many people who are considering bankruptcy, their credit rating has already been negatively impacted by missing payments on their current debts. Claiming bankruptcy and achieving a fresh financial start can be the best option for some people to repair their credit in the shortest time possible.
Myth: I will lose everything I own
Fact: Contrary to conventional wisdom and bankruptcy’s portrayal on Wheel of Fortune™ (where the contestant loses everything), most people keep all of their assets when they go bankrupt. As part of the bankruptcy process, you are required to swear a statement disclosing all of your assets and liabilities. BC legislation sets out a base level of assets that are considered “exempt property” (i.e. you are not required to surrender them if you go bankrupt). Exempt property includes the following:
- RRSPs up to an unlimited value (except for contributions made in the 12 months prior to bankruptcy)
- Equity in a home in Greater Vancouver and Victoria up to a $12,000 value (in the rest of the province up to a $9,000 value)
- Household items up to a $4,000 value
- One vehicle up to a $5,000 value (the vehicle exemption drops to $2,000 if the person is behind on child support payments)
- Work tools up to a $10,000 value
- Essential clothing and medical aids is unlimited.
Many people considering bankruptcy are concerned about the potential negative impact on their credit rating. We have developed a short animated YouTube video that provides concrete steps on how you can quickly rebuild your credit after a Personal Bankruptcy or Consumer Proposal:
We find that many individuals with whom we meet have various misconceptions about personal bankruptcy. Please click below to watch a short animated YouTube video that addresses the main misconceptions about personal bankruptcy proceedings in Canada: