Whether you lose your job, go through an expensive divorce or suffer an unexpected health issue, there are many ways you can find yourself in debt. If you’re in a position where you are struggling to pay your bills or manage your debt, your first call should be to a British Columbia Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT). An LIT has the specialized training, skills and knowledge needed to help you navigate your debt options and put you on a path to a brighter financial future.
Why should I visit a Licenced Insolvency Trustee in British Columbia?
A Licensed Insolvency Trustee (formerly known as a Bankruptcy Trustee) is a federally regulated professional who can assist individuals and businesses with their debt problems. They offer more than just bankruptcy services. An LIT can act as your financial confidant, giving you objective financial advice and helping you develop a practical plan for your money issues.
While many companies claim to offer assistance with debt relief, LITs are the only professionals licensed by the Canadian government to administer the full range of debt relief options. This includes Consumer Proposals and Bankruptcy proceedings which discharge you from your debt.
Another benefit of working with an LIT is that their fees are set by the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB). This means you never have to worry about an LIT overcharging you for debt services.
Licensed Insolvency Trustees also follow a code of ethics outlined in the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA), which establishes a standard for their services. Because LITs are highly regulated, you can feel more confident in your decision to partner with them.
What services are offered by a Licensed Insolvency Trustee?
In British Columbia, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee has the training and licenses needed to offer the full spectrum of debt management and relief options. These include:
The goal of credit counselling is to help you gain the knowledge and skills needed to make long-term changes to your financial habits. During your first credit counseling session, an LIT will assess your finances and financial goals. Are you looking to cut expenses or manage your debt?
Depending on the state of your finances and your individual goals, your counsellor might work with you to develop a monthly budget and improve your financial literacy. If your financial situation warrants a more structured solution, your counsellor may suggest filing for a Consumer Proposal or Bankruptcy.
A Consumer Proposal is a legal process that can only be administered by an LIT. To qualify for a Consumer Proposal, your debt can’t exceed $250,000 (not including the mortgage on your primary residence).
In this process, you work with an LIT to develop a proposal with an offer to pay your creditors a percentage of what you owe, extend the amount of time you have to pay off the debt, or both. The term of your proposal can’t exceed five years.
Your LIT will file the proposal on your behalf and work with your creditors throughout the process on your behalf. If your creditors accept the proposal, you are responsible for paying a lump sum or periodic payments to your LIT. Unlike a Bankruptcy, in a proposal, you usually get to keep your assets provided you continue to make your payments. For instance, you can keep your family home as long as you pay your mortgage.
Filing for a Consumer Proposal will negatively affect your credit score and will remain on your credit report for up to six years.
While Bankruptcy can sound really scary, the process is designed to give people who have fallen on hard financial times a fresh start. An LIT is the only professional in Canada who can legally administer a Bankruptcy proceeding. Your LIT will work with you to complete the necessary documentation and file it with the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy (OSB). Throughout the process, your LIT will work with your creditors on your behalf.
As soon as you have been declared bankrupt, you can stop making payments directly to your creditors. Wage garnishments will also stop, as will any lawsuits filed against you by your creditors.
The benefit of Bankruptcy is that you are discharged from most of your debts. However, you will have to sell your assets (with some exceptions). You will also receive the lowest possible credit rating, and the Bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for up to seven years for a first Bankruptcy and 14 years for subsequent Bankruptcies.
Why work with an LIT?
If you’re tired of trying to navigate your debt alone, it’s time to reach out to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. LITs are debt experts, and they are the only professionals in Canada that can administer the full range of debt relief options from Credit Counseling to a Consumer Proposal and Bankruptcy.
An LIT will listen to the details of your debt story and help you decide which debt management option is the right fit for your situation. Through credit counseling sessions, an LIT can teach you some of the knowledge and skills you need to better manage your money moving forward. This way, you have a better chance of staying on track financially and avoiding a similar situation in the future. Using tools like a Consumer Proposal or Bankruptcy, an LIT can help you find significant relief from the burden of crushing debt.
Need debt help? Contact a British Columbia Licensed Insolvency Trustee
As British Columbia Licensed Insolvency Trustees, we are your local Bankruptcy experts. At Allan Marshall & Associates, we are here to help you with all of your debt problems. When you’re ready to talk, give us a call at 1-888-371-8900 or fill out our contact form online for a free consultation.