Can I File For Bankruptcy on My Own?

The digital world has revolutionized many aspects of our lives, and bankruptcy procedures are not exempt. The on-going pandemic has necessitated a shift toward online platforms, making it possible for Canadians to file for bankruptcy from the comfort of their homes. This article provides a thorough guide on how you can effectively file for bankruptcy on your own in Canada.

Introduction

Until recently, filing for bankruptcy in Canada involved in-person meetings with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT). However, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB) updated its guidelines, permitting LITs to use video conferencing tools, phone calls, and electronic signatures to administer a bankruptcy or consumer proposal. This shift has made it possible for Canadians to initiate bankruptcy procedures online.

Why Online Bankruptcy Filing is Now Possible

The Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act’s directive 6R3 allows LITs to use alternative assessment methods other than in-person meetings in extraordinary circumstances. The OSB recognized the COVID-19 pandemic as such a circumstance and encouraged LITs to utilize various digital tools to facilitate bankruptcy procedures.

By accommodating electronic signatures and virtual meetings, the OSB has made it possible for Canadians to complete all steps involved in the bankruptcy process online.

Steps to Filing for Bankruptcy Online

Initiating bankruptcy online follows the same steps as the traditional in-person process:

Step 1 – Consultation with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee: This is the first and crucial step in the process. LITs are the only certified professionals authorized to administer bankruptcies in Canada. They will assess your financial situation and recommend appropriate debt relief solutions.

Step 2 – Document Preparation: If bankruptcy is deemed the best solution, your LIT will send you all the required documents via email. After filling them out and sending them back, the trustee will review them for accuracy and ask for your electronic signature.

Step 3 – Paperwork Submission: Once you sign the documents, your trustee will contact your creditors, halt all debt collection efforts, and request the release of your frozen bank accounts.

Step 4 – Credit Counselling Sessions: You will be required to complete two credit counselling sessions with your trustee. These sessions can be conducted online as part of the bankruptcy filing procedure.

Required Documents for Online Bankruptcy

Your LIT will inform you about the necessary documents for filing bankruptcy. These include:

Form 79: A Statement of Affairs including all your assets and liabilities, and personal information.

Form 21: An Assignment of Assets demonstrating your consent to assign all your eligible assets for the benefit of your creditors.

Reasons to Consider Online Bankruptcy

Online bankruptcy filing offers several advantages:

  • Protection from COVID-19 exposure
  • Time-saving, as you avoid commuting to your trustee’s office
  • Streamlined communication via email
  • Accessibility, as you can file from anywhere, even if you’re living outside of Canada

Filing for Bankruptcy from Abroad

Canadians residing in the United States or other countries can still file for bankruptcy in Canada if they meet certain conditions. These include having most of your assets in Canada, being a resident of Canada within the last year, or conducting business in Canada in the last year.

Different Types of Bankruptcies You Can File Online

  1. Personal Bankruptcy: This is the most common type of bankruptcy in Canada. It’s suitable for those struggling with debt due to loss of income, unforeseen expenses, or inability to meet financial obligations.
  2. Small and Medium Businesses Bankruptcy: If your business isn’t incorporated, its debts and assets are considered your personal ones. Thus, you go through the same process as personal bankruptcy.
  3. Corporate and Large Businesses Bankruptcy: Corporate bankruptcy, which is more complex than personal ones, requires a trustee specializing in corporate bankruptcy.

Evaluating Financial Situation & Bankruptcy Alternatives

Before deciding to file for bankruptcy, consider alternative solutions such as liquidating personal assets, budgeting and self money management, debt restructuring, debt consolidation, debt management plans, informal debt settlement, and consumer proposals.

Conclusion

The shift to online platforms has made the process of filing for bankruptcy more convenient and accessible. However, it’s crucial to carefully consider all your options before opting for bankruptcy. If you’re struggling with debt, consult with a Licensed Insolvency Trustee to explore the best solution for your financial situation.

References

For more detailed information, please refer to the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada and Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.

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