Is a Do-It-Yourself Bankruptcy Possible?

  • By Jillian Taylor-Mancusi


With so many do-it-yourself sites on the Internet and shows on television, it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to consider a do it yourself bankruptcy. If you’ve wondered if you could handle the bankruptcy process on your own, the answer is no—you’ll need a trustee.  The law requires it.

What is a Licensed Insolvency Trustee?

A Licensed Insolvency Trustee is a financial professional who has spent many years preparing to counsel and assist Canadians experiencing a debt crisis. Trustees usually come to the profession from a financially related field. After completing the required course of study, prospective licensed insolvency trustees must pass a licensing exam and work for one year as a supervised associate before they can branch out on their own.

Why do I need a trustee?

There are several reasons you need a licensed insolvency trustee. First and most important is that the law requires it. The Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA) Is the legal framework that defines all of the processes involved in bankruptcy, and it makes retaining a trustee a requirement.

Going bankrupt is not easy. After months of worrying over your debts, dealing with creditors, paperwork, and legalese is often too much to handle. Having a trustee represent you throughout the process allows you time to heal and begin the process of rebuilding your finances. Your trustee also provides mandatory credit counseling. These sessions will help you avoid past mistakes and learn new money management skills.

What does a licensed insolvency trustee do?

A licensed insolvency trustee is the first person you visit with when you are deciding whether or not to file bankruptcy. Your trustee will go over your finances with you and help you determine the best course of action for getting your finances under control.

Gathering the necessary documentation, filling out and filing paperwork, and communicating with your creditors are some of the duties of a trustee. Licensed insolvency trustees also oversee the sale of your assets and the disbursements to your creditors.

Your licensed insolvency  trustee determines whether or not you will be required to make surplus income payments. Trustees also collect and distribute surplus income payments to your creditors.

Counseling is another valuable service provided by your trustee. The law requires you to attend two counseling sessions before your bankruptcy is discharged.

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How do I find a licenced insolvency trustee?

Although the BIA is a federal law, each province or territory administers the law in a slightly different way. You need a local trustee who is familiar with the law in your area. You can find a licensed insolvency trustee near you by visiting the website maintained by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB). The site offers two different lists, the Trustee Registry and a list of trustees licensed by the OSB.

The trustee registry provides the name and contact information of licensed insolvency trustees. The list of licensed insolvency trustees helps you find a trustee close to home.

While you may want to do it yourself, bankruptcy must be handled by a licensed insolvency trustee. While bankrupt, your trustee will help you through the process and provide support and advice.

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