Bankruptcy can be the only thing that comes to mind when you realize that you can't afford to pay your debts and bills. It might be a good solution for your debt problems. But, before filing bankruptcy, you need to know more about your options, what it costs, how the process works, and what it could mean for you and your family in the future. We can help you avoid a possible mistake by showing you your other options first.
Types of Debts - What Bankruptcy Won't Do For You
|Julia Fletcher is interviewed by Global TV
after avoiding bankruptcy by paying off
her debt with no interest with help from
the Credit Counselling Society.
Watch News Story
|CTV story shows how Dan Robinson
pays off $30,000 in debt with zero
interest after getting help from
the Credit Counselling Society.
CTV - Help to Pay Down Debt
It's easy for people to tell you that bankruptcy helped them eliminate their debts, but do they also tell you that it's not possible for everyone? Some debts might still have to be paid because by law, they can't be included when you file for bankruptcy.
3 common kinds of debt that are excluded from bankruptcy are:
- Secured debts, like a car loan or mortgage
- Student loans in Canada, if they are less than 7 years old
- Child and alimony support payments that aren't up to date
Also, if you recently racked up credit card bills and now want to go bankrupt, creditors may stop you or ask that you pay more, before they let you get rid of the debt through bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy Procedures - The Process of Working with Your Trustee to Attain Your Discharge
Filing for bankruptcy is the easy part. Did you know that it takes at least 9 months to complete the whole bankruptcy process? During that time, there are costs and fees to pay to your trustee for bankruptcy. You are also required to attend two bankruptcy counselling sessions. Depending on your situation, if you have to pay extra money to your creditors, completing the process will take longer. If you have too much equity in your home, or assets above what you're allowed to keep in your province, your trustee will sell your assets for you.
You should also be aware that your trustee, your creditors, the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy or the Court can oppose or delay your bankruptcy discharge. Depending on your situation, you may need to attend a hearing, answer questions under oath and/or meet the additional requirements to obtain your discharge.
Your Credit Report & Bankruptcy in Canada
Legally eliminating debt through bankruptcy seriously impacts your credit rating and makes it hard to obtain credit later. You need to show creditors why they should trust you enough to lend you money again. Not being able to renew your mortgage, get a loan or apply for a low interest rate credit card often impacts other financial plans and puts your life on hold.
Alternatives to Bankruptcy in Canada
By now you are likely wondering what alternatives to bankruptcy really exist. There are quite a few, and combining them might also be a solution. Depending on your situation, 4 options that might work for you are: consolidation loans, debt repayment programs, debt settlement options or a Consumer Proposal.
Debt Consolidation & Debt Repayment Plans
Consolidation usually means consolidating your bills and everything you owe into a new loan. With a fine-tuned budget, this might work for you. For other people, consolidating only the monthly payments makes more sense. Don't worry if you've been turned down by your bank or credit union. There are other types of debt consolidation that may be available.
Consolidating payments doesn't involve borrowing more money, so there's never a problem with bad credit. That's how a debt management program and plan with a non-profit credit counselling organization works. Creditors help by lowering or waiving interest charges while you're making your payments. This lets you pay off your debts and saves you thousands in interest and fees. What you pay each month is based on what you can afford after you've had help to create a realistic budget.
To help you pay back what you borrowed, consolidation programs and loans can help. Most people don't want to walk away from their debts and go bankrupt, but they think they have to because they don't know what else to do. Surprisingly, sometimes only paying back part of what you owe can also be a solution. When done properly, a debt settlement offers your creditors a lump sum of money. That might not be as far-fetched an option as you might think.
Filing a Consumer Proposal
Sometimes a legal alternative to bankruptcy might be what you need. A Consumer Proposal could be the right solution depending on your situation. It is arranged by a trustee, and by making monthly payments, you pay back part of what you owe. Your creditors have the option to agree to the proposal or not.
How Do I Decide Which Option to Go For?
By now you can likely gather that a lot depends on your situation. And regardless of what you've tried in the past, you need help taking an objective look at your whole financial situation with a fresh set of eyes. You need a trained and certified Credit Counsellor to help you come up with a good plan.
Non Profit Bankruptcy Information & Credit Counselling Advice in Canada
If you want to find out why someone shouldn't declare bankruptcy, get answers to your questions about joint debts or debts left over from a divorce, or learn more about alternatives to bankruptcy, one of our Credit & Debt Counsellors can help! They are experts in helping people with their debts and money, and they'd be happy to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about your financial future.
Your Counsellor will:
- Review all of your options to deal with your debts, including bankruptcy alternatives
- Show you how to manage your living costs and bills effectively
- Refer you to a bankruptcy trustee if filing for bankruptcy is a good option for you
- Answer your questions and explain what you need to know so that you can decide the best way to deal with your debts
Free Credit Counselling Appointments & Consultations for Canadians
We specialize in helping people just like you deal with their debts in ways that work best for them. It really is possible to be debt free and look forward to a stable financial future. To learn more or to schedule a free, confidential consultation with one of our Debt Counsellors that works in one of our 22 offices across Canada contact us today at 1-888-527-8999, email us or chat with us online.
Related Articles of Interest
- More Information About Bankruptcy in Canada
- Common Bankruptcy Myths
- Will Bankruptcy Solve My Debt Problems?
- The Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy in Canada
- Insolvency Glossary
- Credit Counselling Society Canada office locations
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