Skip to main content Skip to search

Archives for May 2014

What is a Registered Bankruptcy Trustee?

A Private Registered Bankruptcy Trustee is a fully qualified personal insolvency practitioner who is registered with the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) to administer bankrupt estates and Personal Insolvency Agreements. In order to become registered, one will need to hold the necessary qualifications and have completed the minimum level of studies and also have extensive work experience and knowledge in dealing with insolvency and bankruptcy matters. AFSA (who is the licensing authority) usually expects the applicant to have the following qualifications/experience:

  • Hold a university degree majoring in accountancy;
  • Is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants or CPA Australia; and
  • Preferably is also a member of the Australian Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association (ARITA).

All Registered Trustees are regularly monitored by AFSA. AFSA usually conducts an annual inspection of a Registered Trustee’s file to ensure that the high level of standards are maintained.
Choosing to work with a Registered Trustee is advantageous as they will be able to help you with all personal insolvency services, including:

Debt Free Australia has a Registered Trustee on site so we look forward to being able to assist you with your personal insolvency issues.
If you are considering  either a Debt Agreement, Personal Insolvency Agreement or Bankruptcy, then call our highly trained debt advisors on 1800 676 598 to receive impartial and obligation-free advice.

Read more

Difference between Debt Agreement & Bankruptcy

Here at Debt Free Australia we frequently receive questions from people who are struggling with their debts and want to explore if there are any alternatives to formal bankruptcy. In this article we explore the differences between a Debt Agreement and Bankruptcy.  Hopefully we will clearly explain how a Debt Agreement is a genuine alternative to bankruptcy.
 How is a Debt Agreement an alternative to Bankruptcy?
Simply put, a Debt Agreement is an alternative way to deal with your unsecured debts. Like Bankruptcy, a Debt Agreement is governed by the same Federal legislation (the Bankruptcy Act 1966), however it brings less severe consequences compared to a full blown bankruptcy.
So what are the consequences of a Debt Agreement?
Simply put the consequences can be summarised as follows:

  • Proposing a Debt Agreement is an Act of Bankruptcy;
  • Will be recorded on your credit file for a minimum of 5 years (unless if the agreement runs longer than 5 years).

Why is proposing a Debt Agreement an Act of Bankruptcy?
An Act of Bankruptcy is not to be confused with a full blown Bankruptcy. It simply means that if you fail to comply with the terms of your Debt Agreement, or if your creditors fail to accept your proposal, they can then rely on  that “event” to petition to the court to make you bankrupt.  But remember, you cannot be made bankrupt without a court order. i In other words, if you commit an act of bankruptcy, you do not automatically become bankrupt.
If you are looking for financial relief (i.e. as most do not repay 100% of the debt through a Debt Agreement) the Government legislators felt that there must be consequences of proposing and entering into a Debt Agreement. AFSA has prepared an information sheet on the consequences of entering into a Debt Agreement.
How will my credit rating be affected under a Debt Agreement?
A Debt Agreement will be recorded on your credit file for a minimum of 5 years (unless if the agreement runs longer than 5 years).  It will also be recorded on the National Personal Insolvency Index (NPII) for life which is a public record.
If you attempt to obtain a loan during this time, lenders will know that you have previously entered into a Debt Agreement. That being said, a Debt Agreement will most likely be viewed more favourably than Bankruptcy, as it shows that you attempted to repay as much as you could despite the fact that you were insolvent.
What benefits will I enjoy in a Debt Agreement compared to Bankruptcy?

  • No Travel Restrictions – In Bankruptcy you must request permission to travel overseas and often you will need to show where the monies to fund your trip has come from.  Compared to a Debt Agreement, there is no restriction at all under a Debt Agreement.
  • No Yearly assessment of income & compulsory contributions – In Bankruptcy, your trustee will need to conduct an annual assessment of your income to see if you have become liable for compulsory income contributions. There is no such requirement under a Debt Agreement, so if you get a higher paid job after entering into your debt agreement, you will be able to save more money!
  • No automatic loss of assets – When you declare Bankruptcy, your trustee will make an assessment as to what assets you can keep and what assets you will need to surrender. Furthermore, whilst you are bankrupt, you cannot purchase any asset. In a Debt Agreement, you get to keep all of your assets.

Should I propose a Debt Agreement or Bankruptcy?
Ultimately, the best course of action will depend on your specific circumstances and for that reason we offer a free debt assessment.  You may commence this assessment by providing some basic details on-line.  For a full assessment call the team at Debt Free Australia.  Our staff are fully trained and can advise you on your best options.
Call us today on 1800 676 598. We offer a 24 hour / 7 days a week advice line.

Read more

Will the Trustee hold any meetings of my creditors?

Bankruptcy Meetings

Bankruptcy Meetings are usually called by the Trustee in Bankruptcy who administers the bankrupt estate. The Bankruptcy Act stipulates very strict rules and procedures for meetings of creditors. A bankruptcy meeting will be chaired by a meeting president (the person who runs and controls the meeting) and the dialogue at the meeting will be recorded by a minute secretary. The minutes secretary will prepare and sign minutes of the meeting. Both the meeting president and the minutes secretary need to be appointed by the creditors. Usually the Trustee in Bankruptcy is appointed as the meeting president, however, creditors can appoint an independent person to act as the meeting president.

Why are Meetings of Creditors held?

Meetings are usually held for more complex bankrupt estates. A Trustee in Bankruptcy may call a meeting of creditors to discuss the progress of the estate and to have creditors consider and pass any necessary resolutions. For example, if a Trustee in Bankruptcy was considering to commence complex litigation, the Trustee in Bankruptcy may consider calling a meeting of creditors to obtain the views of creditors. It is important to note however, that whilst the Trustee in Bankruptcy will in most cases consider the views of creditors, the Trustee does not need to follow the decision of creditors.

Can a creditor call a meeting of creditors?

If a creditor either individually or collectively wishes to call a meeting of creditors and have 25% of the total claims then they can request that the Trustee in Bankruptcy call the meeting. If any creditor who hold less than 25% of the votes wish to call a meeting of creditors then they will need to pay the trustee for the cost of holding the meeting (Section 64(1) of the Bankruptcy Act).
At Debt Free Australia we offer a 24 hour / 7 days a week advice line. Call us now on 1800 676 598 for in-depth advice on bankruptcy and how it might affect you.
All calls are free, entirely confidential and if required, anonymous.

Read more