Find Out If Someone Is Bankrupt
064S – BAS
How to find out if someone is bankrupt…
For any business, large or small, chasing payments for outstanding invoices and balances takes up a great deal of time. Without making to sweeping a statement, clients and customers, no matter how amiable they are, often seem to prefer settling debts after they are due.
Put simply then, despite legally binding contracts and purchase orders, there’s still an element of the old gentleman’s agreement within any credit-based transaction. We can do all the background checks in the world, yet still there’s no absolute guarantee everything owed to us will be recouped within a reasonable time scale, if at all.
It’s a rather worrying prospect, and as such it’s always a good idea to try and protect yourself as much as possible against entering into financial agreements with the wrong type of person. Clearly unsavoury types should be avoided at all costs, but for many business owners people with a history of insolvency are also far from the ideal candidates to loan money or provide services to in trust.
There’s plenty worth criticising within this mind set of course. Bankruptcy is designed to eventually wipe the slate clean, or near enough, and so in all fairness individuals that have been involved in such situations should be afforded at least one more chance. From the other side of the table, though, it’s safe to say anyone willing to offer credit deserves to know the recipient’s recent monetary background.
Thankfully this isn’t hard to do. For starters, if you’re already waiting for payment from someone who becomes bankrupt it’s standard practice for the Official Receiver (a court appointed professional who oversees distribution of the debtor’s estate) to notify everyone who is owed money within 12 weeks. This is providing the money you are owed is directly involved within the insolvency case.
Which is all well and good, however once you’re in this situation realistically it’s already too late. The individual in debt to you has now filed for bankruptcy, and in many instances this will mean it’s unlikely all creditors will receive settlement of the full outstanding balance. So how do you tell if someone has already been in such dire straits before lending them money?
Again the answer is reassuringly simple, as bankruptcy is a particularly public declaration. For starters, this kind of action can be published in the press, and by law will appear in the London Evening Gazette, which isn’t hard to find. In addition, when a business goes bankrupt it’s also common for the details to be printed in the local papers. Further to this though, and arguably far more accessible, the case will be logged on the Insolvency Register for six years after the insolvency period begins, despite discharge from bankruptcy often taking place after 12 months.
If you know the area in which the person lives, or where the business is based, then the local county court at which the bankruptcy petition was filed will hold full records of the case too, accessible upon request. Any Individual Voluntary Agreements will also be held on the Insolvency Register and at the county court, however, unlike bankruptcy, there is no legal obligation for newspapers to publish the details. For the individual involved none of this is ideal, what with the social stigma attached to this kind of financial action, but from the perspective of an outside party looking to safeguard against losses, that this information is so readily available will be unarguably reassuring.