DEBT AGREEMENTS VS BANKRUPTCY
Learn the difference between filing for bankruptcy and entering a Part 9 Debt Agreement
Often, people juggling multiple debts cannot foresee a way to get on top of their finances to achieve financial stability. Having many outstanding debt accounts demanding payment each month, it seems like a never ending cycle of budgeting and missing payments. The result of these unfulfilled payment obligations leads to poor credit ratings, and often, debtors usually consider bankruptcy as the only viable resolution.
Part IX or 9 Debt Agreement under the Bankruptcy Act 1966 is an alternative to filing for bankruptcy, and is a legally binding agreement between you and your creditors where you offer a sum of money to your creditors based on what you can afford. A debt agreement if accepted can be by way of periodic payment plan or lump sum offer to settle all unsecured debt. Debt Agreement is usually submitted by a Debt Agreement Administrator registered by the AFSA, a government department who legislates Bankruptcy Trustees and Debt Agreements Administrators and the personal insolvency system in Australia.
Advantages of Debt Agreements
- If accepted, interest on unsecured debt will be frozen.
- If accepted, legal action and collection action will cease on unsecured debt.
- If accepted, once all payment obligation have been complete you will be released from your unsecured debts disclosed in the debt agreement.
- If accepted, your payments will be based on affordability making repaying your debts much easier.
Disadvantages of Debt Agreements
- Impact on your credit rating for a minimum of 5 years or until the Debt Agreement is completed after the 5 years. It is also recorded on the (NPII) National Personal Insolvency Index.
- Entering in to a Debt Agreement will require you to pay a percentage of your debts back which will mean that if you are making periodic payments you will need to stick to a budget.
- Your creditors can choose not to accept your Debt Agreement Proposal.
- You will be required to disclose all income, debts and assets when proposing a Debt Agreement.
In some cases where you are not able to reach a formal or informal agreement with your creditors or simply cannot afford to offer anything to your creditors to settle you debts, bankruptcy maybe the option to help you deal with your unmanageable debts.
Advantages of Bankruptcy
- If your income and assets are below a certain threshold than you may not be required to pay your creditors.
- You are not required to seek approval from you creditors if you decide to go bankrupt.
- You are bankrupt for 3 years. However may be extended for up to 8 years in certain circumstances.
- There are no income, debt or asset limitations for someone wishing to go bankrupt. However you must be residing in Australia if you are going bankrupt.
Disadvantages of going Bankrupt
- Some Assets and property may be sold to repay your creditors. However you will be able to keep certain assets.
- You will be required to obtain permission from your trustee when travelling overseas.
- Your credit rating will be affected for 7 years and your bankruptcy will be recorded on the (NPII) National Personal Insolvency Index.
- Employment restrictions in some professions and trade may be affected.