Official Assignee Responsibilities

Who is the Official Assignee?
The Official Assignee works for the Insolvency and Trustee Service, which is a government department entrusted with the administration of the bankruptcy regulations. The Official Assignee's sole function is to act fairly and independently in the administration of your affairs when you become bankrupt. The Official Assignee will take charge of all your assets and call in all your liabilities, and then will take steps to cash in your assets in order to raise funds to pay your creditors as soon as possible.

The Official Assignee will also monitor your conduct after the bankruptcy so that you are complying with certain aspects of the law that puts restrictions and obligations on you.

What does the Official Assignee do?
As an officer of the court and under the powers granted by the Insolvency Act 1967, an officer known as the Official Assignee is empowered to administer your affairs, as a bankrupt. The main job the Official Assignee is involved with is bringing in all assets, realising them to obtain cash and using the cash to pay off all the creditors.

There is a process, which the Official Assignee has to follow in order to ensure that everything is done correctly and fairly. The Official Assignee may put a programme in place to assist with the rehabilitation of the bankrupt, if the circumstances are such that the bankrupt requires this.

If you are bankrupt, the Official Assignee may take steps to investigate your past financial affairs and where there have been any breaches of the law, bring about a prosecution where he/she considers it to be in the public interest.

You will be allowed to retain certain amounts of money for your support so will be able in due course to get back on your feet. The law requires you, as a bankrupt, to hand over all your assets and full details of them, including the income you have been getting, as well as the income you are currently receiving.

If you find a job earning good income, the Official Assignee may ask you to work out a budget to see how much of the money you are earning can go towards your creditors. You have to face the fact now that anything of value will be deemed to have been taken over by the Official Assignee from the time you declared bankruptcy.

The Official Assignee has to make sure you have not favoured one creditor over the others and this can happen where you have paid off one creditor when you believed things were starting to fall over. The Official Assignee can take steps to call back those assets and bring them back into the pool, available for all creditors. If there have been any blatant breaches of the Insolvency Laws then you could be prosecuted.

You will need the consent of the Official Assignee to manage a company or to become a business partner or be self-employed. If you are working for a company whose owners are not related then there is no problem. However, if you are employed by any company, trust, or any entity controlled or managed by a relative, then you will need approval from the Official Assignee. You won't be able to travel overseas without the assignee's consent and if you want to change your name or address the assignee must be notified.

How to Avoid bankruptcy
One thing you can be sure of in life - things do not always work out as planned. Sometimes difficult times will come to a business and the easy way out is to close up shop and file for bankruptcy.

If you can work out an arrangement to pay your creditors without having to go to court, then it is a better proposition than taking what can be seen as the easy way out. Filing for bankruptcy is not the only way to solve a situation that has become disastrous because other things can be considered.

bankruptcy should only be the last resort.

The first thing you have to find out is - are you insolvent? Insolvency simply means that you are unable to pay your debts when they fall due. It can also mean that your debts are far greater than your assets, but basically if you are able to pay the bills when they arrive, then you are not insolvent.

A key to avoid insolvency or bankruptcy is to try and catch it early rather than hide from the shame or consequences of it. The best option is to put together a plan that will resolve the situation to the satisfaction of all your creditors and yet avoid bankruptcy.

Whatever happens you will need the cooperation of your creditors to make it work. Meeting with them individually at first and later as a group would be necessary.