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Can I apply for my own sequestration?

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Reviewed 23rd December 2021

This process is known in Scotland as sequestration, and involves handing over your assets to a Trustee who sells them in order to repay your creditors.

It is possible to apply for your own sequestration under certain conditions, and for some people this is the only way to bring to an end a period of significant worry and stress. There are two different avenues into sequestration when applying for yourself, one of which is called the Minimal Asset Process, or MAP.

Both routes have specific eligibility criteria, and need the input of an approved money advisor to identify whether there are better alternatives available that would help you deal with your debt.

To enter sequestration under the full administration route, as opposed to MAP:

  • Your debts must total £1,500 or more
  • You have to live in Scotland
  • You must not have been sequestrated during the previous five years
  • You must have received advice from a qualified money advisor who has issued you with a Certificate of Sequestration

Applying for your sequestration under the Minimal Asset Process

  • Your unsecured debts must total more than £1,500, and less than £17,000*. (*This figure is temporarily set at £25,000 following the Scottish Coronavirus Act).
  • You must be resident in Scotland
  • Your assets must not be worth more than £2,000, with no single asset being valued at over £1,000
  • You should not own any property or land
  • You must not have been sequestrated via MAP within the last ten years
  • You need to have been receiving benefits for a minimum of six months, or have been assessed by a money advisor as unable to make a financial contribution to your creditors

Applying for your own bankruptcy in Scotland

The process of applying for sequestration is relatively straightforward, and involves the completion of a debtor’s petition form. This form is sent to the court along with the Certificate of Sequestration which proves your insolvency – the certificate is valid for 30 days from the date of issue. Your money advisor will be able to assist you in completing the form, and advise on procedures once the court has granted your sequestration.

What are the advantages of applying for your own sequestration?

  • Sequestration removes the considerable stress and worry of creditor action, as all unsecured debts are written off when you are discharged • It allows you to start afresh financially
  • You don’t need to contact your creditors again, as your Trustee deals with them
  • If circumstances change and your disposable income drops, financial contributions can be adjusted accordingly

Disadvantages of choosing sequestration 

  • Your major assets may come under the control of your Trustee
  • Sequestration affects your credit rating for six years or more
  • It is a public process, and will be recorded in the Register of Insolvencies
  • Your job may be affected as some employers don’t allow their employees to get into debt
  • Not all unsecured debts can be included when you are sequestrated
  • Any windfalls or other significant financial gains such as an inheritance, may need to be paid over to your Trustee during the period of sequestration

Scotland Debt Solutions works solely on behalf of Scottish residents and can offer further guidance on the sequestration process. Call one of our experts to arrange a free same-day meeting in complete confidence at one of five offices around Scotland.

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FAQ on Sequestration

Am I likely to lose my home in sequestration?

It is possible that your home may need to be sold or remortgaged in order to raise money if you own part or all of it. This is not always the case, however, and much depends on whether the cost of raising money in this way makes it a viable option. This is a decision that only your Trustee can make.

Are there any disadvantages to Sequestration?

Losing control of assets, such as your home and car, is a possibility. Sequestration will be noted on your credit file for a period of time, which is dependent on certain factors determined by credit agencies and how creditors view the information. Your sequestration can be viewed in the public Register of Insolvencies. Your job may be affected if there are restrictions written down in your contract of employment regarding sequestration You won’t be able to act as director of a company

How does the Sequestration process start?

You can either sequestrate yourself, or alternatively a creditor owed more than £3,000* can start the procedure. To enter sequestration yourself you need an approved money advisor to agree that you are in fact insolvent, and that other procedures are not more suited to your circumstances. Once this has been established, they will issue a Certificate of Sequestration which is valid for 30 days. This is sent to the Accountant in Bankruptcy, along with the application for sequestration and the fee of £200. For a creditor to start the sequestration process, they have to be owed more than £3,000*. They may already have sent you a Statutory Demand, and will lodge a petition for your sequestration with the court. If no single creditor is owed £3,000* they may get together to organise a joint petition. (*This figure is temporarily set at £10,000 following the Scottish Coronavirus Act).

How long does sequestration last?

You are normally discharged from sequestration after 12 months. You will be discharged after 6 months if you enter sequestration through the MAP route. Your Trustee will remain in office for a further period of two years, during which time they may continue to realise your assets. Even though you have been discharged, you must cooperate with your Trustee.

What are the advantages to sequestration?

Creditors will not be able to take further legal action against you, alleviating much of the pressure associated with being in debt Your Trustee becomes an intermediary between you and your creditors, dealing with all correspondence relating to your debts Once you are discharged you do not have to repay the debts which you had when you were made bankrupt, although there are some exceptions to this. You are still responsible for paying: fines, penalties, compensation and forfeiture orders imposed by any court; any liability due to fraud including benefit overpayments; any obligation to pay ongoing aliment; some students loans; and money owed to someone who holds a security on your property, such as a mortgage or secured loan. Apart from the exceptions listed above, your pre-bankruptcy creditors will not be able to take any legal action against you to recover their debts.

What are the eligibility criteria for sequestration?

You have to be resident in Scotland, owe more than £1,500 and be unable to meet payments as they fall due. Additionally, you must not have been in sequestration during the previous five years.

What happens after the initial 12 months of sequestration?

If you can afford to, you will need to continue making repayments from your income for a further period of 36 months. Your Trustee will remain in contact, and you are obliged to cooperate fully.

What happens to my car in sequestration?

If you own a car worth more than £3,000, or you have no real need for a vehicle, it may need to be sold to raise money for your creditors. Alternatively, your Trustee may ask you to sell it and buy a cheaper one so that you can put the difference to paying off your debts. If a vehicle is needed to get to work, however, selling it may not be the best option and you may be allowed to keep it.

What is sequestration?

Sequestration is a form of insolvency available to Scottish residents, whereby assets are transferred to the control of an appointed Trustee in order to pay off unsecured debts. It is very similar in nature to bankruptcy in the rest of the UK, and is seen as a measure of last resort to pay creditors and permanently write off debts. You can apply for sequestration yourself, or if one or more of your creditors are owed £3,000 or more they can apply to put you into sequestration in order to recover part or all of their debts.

What type of debt is included in a sequestration?

Unsecured debt including credit cards, loans and overdrafts are included in sequestration, as well as arrears on household debts such as utility bills and council tax. Any debt secured on an asset is not included. Nor are student loans, Child Maintenance payments, fines or overpayment of benefits.


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