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Forgotten debts or assets - after bankruptcy

This advice applies to England

When you apply for bankruptcy, you have to declare details of your belongings, called assets, and your debts. If you forgot a debt or asset, or you’ve found out about it since you applied for bankruptcy, it's important that you act quickly.

You can't hide a forgotten asset by giving it away to someone else. The official receiver will investigate all your financial affairs. If they discover you've deliberately hidden assets, they can seize them and you could be fined or even sent to prison.

Check what to do about a debt

Your bankruptcy might still cover the debt. If this applies to you, you should contact the official receiver or bankruptcy trustee. They will add the debt to the bankruptcy.

If you already had the debt before you went bankrupt but you forgot to tell the official receiver about it, your bankruptcy might still cover it.

If you were only asked to pay the debt after you went bankrupt, it depends when the debt started.

If the debt is because of something that happened before you went bankrupt, your bankruptcy might cover it. For example, your bankruptcy might cover a benefit overpayment if the overpayment happened before you went bankrupt - even if you were only asked to pay it after you went bankrupt.

If the debt is paying for something that happened after you went bankrupt, it’s not covered by your bankruptcy.

If you think your debt might be covered, you’ll also need to check it’s a type of debt that bankruptcy can cover.

Remember, under the restrictions that bankruptcy places on you, you're not allowed to get credit for £500 or more without telling the lender about your bankruptcy. If you do, you'll be committing a criminal offence and could be fined or go to prison.

Check what to do about an asset

If you find you've forgotten to declare belongings or some money that was yours, called assets, before the bankruptcy order was made, you should contact the official receiver or bankruptcy trustee immediately to tell them about it. The same applies to any assets you come into before you've been discharged from bankruptcy, such as an inheritance or lottery win.

If you've claimed a refund, compensation or insurance payment since being declared bankrupt, you need to tell the official receiver or trustee about it. This is because any claim or potential claim is part of the bankruptcy estate, if it’s for something that happened before the bankruptcy. For example, if you were mis-sold PPI before you went bankrupt, you must tell the official receiver so they can use the money to pay your creditors.

If you don't tell the trustee about a debt or asset

You must tell the official receiver or trustee as soon as you realise you've forgotten a debt or asset. If you don't tell them, you'll be committing a criminal offence. You could be fined or go to prison for committing a bankruptcy offence.

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