If you, like thousands of other North Americans, find yourself swimming in debt month after month with no end in sight, you are probably weighing your alternatives. Bankruptcy may be one of the options you've been looking at, but it should certainly be the last one you consider. A bankruptcy will stay on your record for a minimum of 6 years. This means you may be required to sell some of your assets, and it will be extremely difficult to get credit cards or loans for at least the next 6 years after you file for bankruptcy.
If you are beyond debt consolidation, but you have a regular income and are able to pay a portion of your bills every month, then you have an alternative of which many financially strapped individuals are not aware: a consumer proposal. A consumer proposal is basically a debt negotiation with your creditors. You propose paying a lesser amount instead of filing for bankruptcy.
Often when people can't make payments on their loans, they think their only option is to file for bankruptcy. What they don't know, or don't consider is that many creditors would negotiate a lower payment if it would avoid the customer filing for bankruptcy. If a customer does file for bankruptcy, very often the creditors end up with little or nothing to show, so they will usually be quite willing to negotiate a settlement."
Some of the benefits of a consumer proposal are:
- Less damage to your credit rating.
- Interest stops accruing at the time of filing.
- You only pay a portion of the total amount you owe (sometimes as little as 20%).
- You won't lose your assets.
- Wage garnishment and any other collection activities are stopped at the time of filing.
If you have decided that a consumer proposal is the best course of action for you, your next steps should be to seek the help of a licensed trustee, who will prepare your proposal and send it out to your creditors. Your creditors will then vote on whether or not to accept your proposal. If 75% or more of your creditors vote in favour of your proposal, it will be approved, if not, the trustee will call a meeting of creditors to negotiate new terms.
Bankruptcy should certainly be a very last resort, especially when this option is available and has so many benefits. A consumer proposal is not only better than bankruptcy for you, it is also better for your creditors.
To find a Pre-Screened Attorney in your area, please call our 24Hr Unbiased Law Firm Referral Hotline at 661-310-7999.