1. Overview

If you can’t pay your debts and want to declare yourself bankrupt, you must apply to a court to issue a bankruptcy order against you.

There’s a different guide if you’re being made bankrupt.

What happens when you go bankrupt

Once the court has issued a bankruptcy order:

After 12 months you’re usually discharged (released) from your bankruptcy restrictions and debts. Assets that were part of your estate during the bankruptcy period can still be used to pay your debts.

You might be able to cancel (annul) your bankruptcy before you’re discharged.

Bankruptcy only applies to individuals. Limited companies that can’t pay their creditors are ‘insolvent’ and can face compulsory liquidation.

Get help and information

Read the following:

You can also contact the National Debtline for bankruptcy advice.

Scotland and Northern Ireland

The bankruptcy process is different in Scotland and Northern Ireland.