Assessing Your Debt

Consider this: your debts were not accumulated yesterday. Your debts have gradually increased over time, probably over a period of many months, or even many years. When was the last time you were debt free? It was probably a long time ago. So why, after all of these years, do you need to consider filing bankruptcy? Here are some signs that you may need help.

  • Your credit cards are maxed out.
  • You are only making minimum payments.
  • You’ve missed a payment or two, maybe more.
  • Collection agencies are calling.
  • You’ve received a wage garnishment or other legal notice of collection.
  • You are unsure how much you actually owe.
  • You feel overwhelmed and unable to deal with your debts any longer.

If this sounds like you then you may be considering bankruptcy or a consumer proposal.  The first step is to meet with a bankruptcy trustee.

Assess Your Situation

At your free initial consultation your trustee will ask you for some information to fully evaluate your situation, so you can decide whether or not to file bankruptcy in Canada.  Here is a list of items that your trustee will want to review:

Assets (Assets are what you own)

  • House details (if you own a house) including an appraisal done by a real estate agent or appraiser;
  • Car ownership (and perhaps an appraisal if your car has a high value; in most cases your trustee will use the black book value if your car is older);
  • RRSP and RESP statements;
  • Details of any other assets you own.

Liabilities (Also called debts, or what you owe)

  • Statements from your creditors (such as your most recent credit card statements);
  • Mortgage statement (if you own a house);
  • Loan documents (such as for car loans);
  • Details of any other debts you owe.

Income and Expenses (What you earn and spend each month)

  • Recent pay stubs;
  • Proof of other income (such as pensions or child tax credits; since you may not have a monthly statement, a print out from your bank statement should be sufficient);
  • A budget showing what you spend each month (in most cases proof of expenses isn’t required, but it is important to know where your money goes each month).

Other Information

  • Most recent tax assessment from CRA (taxes owing are included in bankruptcy in Canada)
  • Your full legal name (a photocopy of your birth certificate, passport, citizenship card or something with your legal name is important)
  • Your marital status (single, common-law, married, separated, divorced, widowed)
  • The number of people in your family
  • Any other information requested by your trustee.

In order to provide you with complete and accurate advice, your trustee wants all information, so there are no surprises.  Your trustee will advise you if other information is required.

To determine what information will be required, contact a licensed trustee today.