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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 later find you've forgotten any debts or assets, it's important that you act quickly.

This page explains what to do if you find you've forgotten a debt or asset.

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.

Can you add a debt to your bankruptcy?

Whether or not you can add a debt to your bankruptcy will depend on when you took it out.

If you forgot or didn't know about a debt when you applied for bankruptcy, you can have it added to your bankruptcy, as long as it isn't a type of debt that bankruptcy doesn't cover. If this applies to you, you should contact the official receiver or bankruptcy trustee immediately. They will add the debt to the bankruptcy.

If you've taken out a new debt since you were declared bankrupt, you won't be able to add it to your bankruptcy.

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 even go to prison.

Forgotten assets

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 made a claim for payment protection insurance (PPI) mis-selling at any point since being declared bankrupt, you need to tell the official receiver or trustee about it. This is because any claim or potential claim for PPI mis-selling is treated as being part of the bankruptcy estate, if the PPI was mis-sold before the bankruptcy, so you don't have the right to the money.

The official receiver or trustee will take control of the asset and it will be used towards distributing your bankruptcy estate amongst your creditors.

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

If you don't tell the trustee after you realise you've forgotten a debt or asset, you'll be committing a criminal offence. You could be fined or even go to prison for committing a bankruptcy offence. It's therefore vital that you act as soon as you realise you forgot a debt or asset.

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