Insolvency Service of Ireland An independent government organisation.

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Debt Solutions


What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a formal, high court process for people in debt over €20,000.

Is Bankruptcy right for me?

Before you consider applying for bankruptcy you must first have explored the alternative solutions to bankruptcy which are contained in the Personal Insolvency Act 2012, and which are also available on this website. If these alternative solutions are not suitable then bankruptcy could be the right solution for you.

Questions and answers

  • What does it mean to be declared bankrupt?

    When you are declared bankrupt, your property and possessions are transferred to a person called the Official Assignee. He then arranges for those items to be sold and the money generated from the sale is distributed to the people you owe money to your creditors.

  • Do I have to deal with my creditors?

    No, the Official Assignee will deal with your creditors for you, so this will put an end to any demands for unpaid debt – no more calls, letters or visits.

  • Am I entitled to a reasonable standard of living?

    Yes, you are entitled to have a reasonable standard of living. This includes food, clothing, education, healthcare and a modest allowance for savings. Under the ISI model, this means a higher standard than merely living at a subsistence level, which people often exist on when in debt.

  • What type of debt could be included in a bankruptcy?

    Unsecured and secured debt such as mortgages for family homes or buy-to-let properties, business loans and credit card loans can be included in your bankruptcy. Examples of debt that cannot be included would be court fines in respect of criminal offences, or any new debts you accumulate after the date you are made bankrupt.

  • What are the consequences of bankruptcy? For example, what happens to my family home and other assets?

    In bankruptcy, all assets including your interest or share in the family home will transfer to the Official Assignee. While it is a possibility, you should not assume you will lose your family home in bankruptcy.

  • How long does bankruptcy last?

    Usually, after one year you will be discharged from bankruptcy and all of your debts will be written off. You should then be solvent and able to regain some financial independence.

Get Help

Who can help me decide if bankruptcy is a solution for me?

First, arrange to meet with a Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP). Part of a network of qualified professional advisors regulated by the ISI, each PIP is an expert in debt advice, so don’t feel embarrassed about your situation; they can and want to help you reach a solution. They will assess your options and prepare a tailored solution that best suits your needs.

PIPs are located around the country and contact details can be found below or by calling the ISI’s information line 01 764 4200.