Bankruptcy - the role of the Official Receiver

Once the court issues your bankruptcy order, it appoints an Official Receiver to look into your affairs in a balanced interest of both you and your creditors. The Official receiver plays an important role in your bankruptcy, be it selling of your assets or fixing your bankruptcy discharge date. It is a must for you to be honest and co-operate with him for the rest of your bankruptcy term and sometimes even longer. This increases the need to know about his role in detail and also a better understanding of what is expected out of your relation with him.

The Official Receiver is the court appointed individual who investigates your bankruptcy, manages your affairs and assets during the bankruptcy period and finally discharges you from its charges. He is an official of the bankruptcy court who is also a civil servant in the Insolvency Service. He also acts as a trustee for your assets during your bankruptcy and takes responsibility for selling the assets to repay your creditors. Along with his primary role in collection and protection of your assets to pay off your debts, he is also responsible for writing your bankruptcy report, determining your bankruptcy discharge date and for advertising your bankruptcy in publications. He is not entitled to provide you with any sort of advice, legal or financial during his role as an Official Receiver. You can seek help of any financial organization which can offer your free or paid service on these.

The Official receiver may be involved in three major part of your bankruptcy, namely analysing and reporting your bankruptcy to the court, settling your debts by sale and management of your assets and finally determining your discharge date from the bankruptcy condition.

Analysing and Reporting about your bankruptcy

The court appoints an official to preside over your bankruptcy case as soon as the order is issued. You will need to meet him to discuss on your bankruptcy reasons and debts details. He will send you an invitation for a scheduled interview anytime between 2 weeks from the date of declaration of your bankruptcy. He will send you an official write communication about your bankruptcy interview and the requisites.

He collects all information regarding your bankruptcy in this interview which maybe in person or telephonic. He might ask you to provide all information in a form or questionnaire which you would be provided with. The information required might be about your debts and other agreement for payment, assets lists including joint ownerships, creditors and the amount owed to them and finally your income and expenses statement. You might be asked to submit bank statements, account books, etc. to prove yourself on the above claims.

During the interview, the official receiver will perform a check on all the information you have provided in his questionnaire regarding your bankruptcy. He might also question you about the reasons of your bankruptcy which is needed for him to complete his report to the court. The reasons for your bankruptcy also helps him in decide for any extension of bankruptcy restrictions if required. In the interview, he might also ask you for related additional data about your assets and debts and may also answer your questions on bankruptcy.

Once the interview is over, the official receiver will inform about your bankruptcy to your creditors, bank, landlord and even your employer if applicable. He is also responsible for advertising you bankruptcy status in the London Gazette and the Individual Insolvency Register. He will officially check your assets and will send a written notification to your creditors detailing your assets and debts. This process normally takes about 8 to 12 weeks from the interview date.

Sale and Management of Assets
As soon as your bankruptcy is declared, your assets are taken charge by an appointed trustee. He takes charge of most of your assets to pay the debts to your creditors. Once your interview with the Official Receiver is completed, he collects all necessary information on your assets to determine the need for a separate trustee. In case you assets are considerably significant, then he informs your creditors to appoint a trustee for the assets. The creditors might consider appointing an insolvency practitioner who is a debt specialist to manage your assets. Sometimes in cases of not much significant assets, an Official Receiver can himself act as a trustee for your assets.

Discharge from bankruptcy
The official receiver decides your discharge term from the bankruptcy. The term of bankruptcy is normally a period of 12 months from the date of issue of the bankruptcy order. But in case he has completed your affairs and has also received an acceptance from the creditors, he can recommend the court to discharge your terms anytime within 6-12 months. Alternatively, if he reports about any criminal charges or dishonest behaviour that was responsible for the bankruptcy, the term and the restrictions can be increased by the court.

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