The internet is a good source of information, if you can find a credible source. If you’re considering filing bankruptcy or a consumer proposal, the best source of information is an expert in personal insolvency. Today’s guest is a Licensed Insolvency Trustee with over two decades of experience, and we’re here to bust bankruptcy myths and sort fact from fiction.
The truth is, personal bankruptcy or a consumer proposal is a viable option to get you on your way to debt freedom and Licensed Insolvency Trustees are the only ones who can file those for you. When you’re in need of professional information, go straight to the source.
Table of Contents
Bankruptcy Myth #1 People Who Go Bankrupt Are Spendthrifts
Contrary to popular opinion, bankruptcy is not caused just because people are overspending, it’s that their income has been reduced but their expenses have stayed the same. A study we conduct on the causes of insolvency found only 37% of debtors mentioned financial mismanagement and over-extension of credit as the sole reason for filing bankruptcy. More often, their debt was accumulated over time by people who are struggling to make ends meet. They live paycheque to paycheque and use debt to pay for every day living expenses. Then something catastrophic happens. So debt, coupled with a sudden job loss or pay reduction, illness or health-related issues, or relationship breakdown is often what triggers someone to file a bankruptcy or consumer proposal in Canada.
Bankruptcy Myth #2 Mostly unemployed people file bankruptcy
Again this is not true. In our study, 81% were working at the time of their filing. Most Canadians in financial difficulty aren’t lazy, unemployed or blasé with their money, but rather are good, hardworking people who have been forced into bankruptcy as a result of extenuating circumstances. An increasing percentage of insolvent people in Canada are retired seniors. Less than 6% are unemployed at the time of filing and some of these are individuals off work due to illness, pregnancy or because they are sole caretakers for their children or parents.
For those with a higher income, a consumer proposal is more often the solution over personal bankruptcy. This is because in a bankruptcy, the more you earn, the higher the cost. A consumer proposal allows you to spread potentially high monthly payments over a period of up to 5 years, interest free.
Bankruptcy Myth #3 Everyone Will Know I Filed Insolvency
Once you choose to file for bankruptcy (or a consumer proposal), there are documents that must be prepared and filed with the government and this information does become part of the public record. However, the amount of information that is readily available to the general public is very limited and not easily accessible. If someone wants to see whether you filed insolvency, they must do a bankruptcy search, a pay to see the results, through the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Records of the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy.
Contrary to the popular myth, a notice does not appear in the newspaper signifying that you filed personal insolvency. This can be the case for business bankruptcies or if the value of your assets (excluding secured assets) will exceed $15,000, but this does not happen in most individual bankruptcies. A consumer proposal is never reported in the newspaper.
Who Finds Out?
- Your creditors will find out; they need to be notified so that they cease collections and garnishments that they’ve started.
- Canada Revenue Agency gets notified (even if you don’t owe them money), for tax purposes.
- Your employer will only find out if your wages are currently being garnisheed. They need to know in order to stop a wage garnishments and ensure you start receiving your full pay again.
- Credit bureaus know and a consumer proposal and bankruptcy will affect it in different ways.
Bankruptcy Myth #4 Insolvency Will Ruin Your Credit Forever
While bankruptcy is a negative mark on your credit score, it puts you in better financial standing for the future than does ignoring your debts. Generally, a bankruptcy note will remain on your credit record for 6-7 years after you discharge, and a consumer proposal will remain for 3 years after successful completion of the proposal. After filing bankruptcy, you can immediately begin to repair and build up your credit.
If you’re at the point where you’re considering a bankruptcy or consumer proposal, it’s because you already have a poor credit utilization ratio, are most likely late on payments, which means your credit score has already taken a hit. Although you might be surprised to know that many people who file bankruptcy have a good credit score at the time of filing. This is because they never miss a minimum payment, yet they can’t pay their way out of debt.
Bankruptcy or a consumer proposal is the first step in repairing your credit score.
Bankruptcy Myth #5 If You Go Bankrupt, You Lose Everything
A common myth about bankruptcy is that the insolvent will have everything seized once they file. In Canada, however, there are personal bankruptcy exemptions within certain monetary limits. While what you get to keep and what you lose in a bankruptcy can be complicated, generally, bankruptcy exemptions include:
- Household goods such as food and furniture
- Automobiles (up to a certain dollar amount)
- Pensions and retirement savings
Bankruptcy Myth #6 Government Debts Are Not Included in a Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy deals with unsecured debts, like credit card debts, unsecured lines of credit, payday loans, past due bills and yes, most government debts.
- Any tax debts you owe up to the date of bankruptcy are included in your bankruptcy as long as the CRA hasn’t placed a lien against your property making it a secured debt.
- Bankruptcy is an option for student loan debt relief. Student loans are included if you haven’t been a student for more than seven years. The best way to determine whether or not it’s eligible is to bring your student loan documents to your trustee.
Some debts cannot be discharged by filing bankruptcy. Secured debts, which are guaranteed against assets (such as home mortgages), are not affected. Also, certain kinds of unsecured debts may not be erased, including alimony or child support and court fines and penalties.
Bankruptcy is not a scary. It’s a way for the honest, but unfortunate debtor to obtain relief from overwhelming debt. If you are struggling contact a Licensed Insolvency Trustee for help.
Resources mentioned in this show
- Debt Free in 30 show #33 Smart Ways to Pay Off Debt
- Tell Tale Signs of Financial Trouble
- LC Taylor website
FULL TRANSCRIPT show #150 Top Bankruptcy Myths with Leigh Taylor
Doug Hoyes: We just celebrated Canada’s 150th birthday and this is Debt Free in 30 episode number 150 so to celebrate both of these milestones I’m bringing back a guest from one of our most popular shows ever. Back in season number one, show number 33, originally broadcast in April of 2015, my guest was Leigh Taylor and the topic of that show was smart ways to pay off debt.
Even though that show aired more than two years ago it is still downloaded many times each month and as of today it is one of the top three downloaded shows in the history of this podcast. That tells me that Leigh was a great guest because that show has been shared many times by our listeners. So today, two years later, I’m bringing Leigh back for round number two.
Today I want to ask Leigh about debt and bankruptcy myths. We get a lot of information from the internet and that information is not always accurate so today we’re going to dispel the top debt myths that Leigh and I encounter as we help people with their debts. So, let’s get started, Leigh, welcome back to the show, how are you doing today?
Leigh Taylor: We’re doing just great Doug.
Doug Hoyes: Excellent, well thanks for being here. So, you’re talking to me from Winnipeg today I believe. Tell me a little bit about your company and what you do there.
Leigh Taylor: Well, LC Taylor, as a matter of fact LC Taylor is 25 years old this year. We operate in Manitoba and North-Western Ontario. We deal with a broad spectrum of insolvency situations but we mainly focus on personal insolvency solutions.
Doug Hoyes: So your company is very similar to what we do, we deal with people, actual real people. What are the issues that you see in, you know, Manitoba now? What are the kind of hot buttons that you like to talk about?
Leigh Taylor: Well, there’s a number of them. The one that comes to mind of course is the issue with credit counselling organizations. There’s a whole plethora of agencies out there, some purporting to be – to have some official capacity etc. that purport to deal with personal financial problems, you contact them and they will go to bat for you to solve your financial problems. A lot of them are available on the internet some of them are based out of Florida or someplace down in the states etc. Not all of them are as upfront with their situation as you might imagine.
And the difficulty is that they try to give an easy, simple solution to people and we’ve had a lot of situations where people have spent hundreds of dollars trying to go through them to solve their problems to no effect. They don’t have any of the necessary tools disposable to solve the problem. And eventually they will come to a licensed insolvency trustee such as ourselves only to find out that they should have come to us first.
Doug Hoyes: Yeah and that’s something we see a lot here in Ontario. We use the term debt consultants; I mean you’re using the term credit counsellors. Obviously they’re terms that aren’t legislatively mandated so it’s not like a Class A mechanic, we all know what that is. So, we use the term debt consultants because it covers a very wide range. Obviously there are credit counsellors who are legitimate, the not-for-profit credit counsellors. My advice to people is if you can actually go in and meet with them and if they’re not charging you a huge upfront fee then they are probably much more likely to be legitimate. Would that be how you would help consumers decide who’s legitimate and who isn’t?
Leigh Taylor: Yes, I think that’s probably a good rule of thumb. The problem with credit counsellors in general, again I’m using sort of a broad definition here, well, put it this way there’s an old adage that if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. And credit counsellors do a good job within their limited scope of abilities and the tools that they can offer, consolidation loans and these sort of things. But when you get down to hardcore financial problem that needs a statutory solution, they don’t have it. Not all of them recognize that they don’t have it but they don’t always refer their clients to licensed insolvency trustees that can put together legally binding proposals or bankruptcies that actually work in some situations.
Doug Hoyes: Yeah, totally agree with you. I mean if your wages are being garnisheed by CRA, by Revenue Canada, then you’re going to need something legislative, a consumer proposal or a bankruptcy to deal with it. If you need some budgeting help then a credit counsellor’s going to be a fantastic resource for you. So, I think that’s some good advice to alert people that there are many different solutions out there.
And you’re right, obviously you and I are biased, we’re both licensed insolvency trustees. You know, our hammer, to use your expression, is consumer proposals and bankruptcy but we are also legally required to explain to people all of their options. So, if someone comes in to see you and me and the correct answer is go see a credit counsellor, you need some help with budgeting or you need to get a second mortgage and refinance, then obviously that’s what we’re going to do. That’s the way you operate as well I assume.
Leigh Taylor: Yes, for sure. We talk to an awful lot of people and like most licensed insolvency trustees, we give free initial consultations so it doesn’t cost you anything to sit down with us, to go over your situation, come up with various options that are available. So, they can decide what’s in their own best interest. Not necessarily what’s in their creditor’s best interest or our best interest but what’s in their best interest?
I guess you could say that of all the people that we talk to, and we talk to an awful lot of people, we find solutions other than bankruptcy or proposals for more than half of them. Probably about 12% of the people we talk to end up going bankrupt. So, there really is a lot of solutions out there that people can take advantage of.
Doug Hoyes: Yeah and we’re exactly the same way. Of the people that call us, roughly 30% are going to end up filing a consumer proposal or a bankruptcy, which means 70% are going to be referred to someone else who can help them, a tax preparer, refinancing, maybe they just need budgeting help, maybe they weren’t insolvent. So, I think those are valid points.
So, okay we’re talking about the services that licensed insolvency trustees provide. Let’s get into talking about some of the myths surrounding both debt and bankruptcy. And we talked a little bit about it with both credit counsellors. They’re very good at helping with budgeting and getting you back on track. I think one of the big myths that I see or I think people in general would consider to be the truth is that people who go bankrupt are spendthrifts and can’t handle their money. I mean I can certainly dispel this myth based on our data here in Ontario. We know from our Joe Debtor study that our clients on average have income that is almost 40% below the median income in Ontario. So, do you see the same thing in Manitoba? What are the common reasons that people end up having to file a consumer proposal or a bankruptcy?
Leigh Taylor: The biggest single factor over the years is proven to be true and that’s marriage breakup. You know, the rate of marriage breakup in this country is getting higher and higher it seems. And it’s almost a typical situation. You can see a young couple, a couple of kids, they’re both working, they’ve got perhaps a normal amount of consumer debt, credit cards etc., a house mortgage. If they’re just starting out the mortgage is probably as big as they could afford at the time.
And then things don’t work out, you end up having a split, you end up with legal fees, you end up with all sorts of acrimonious types of interactions etc. to the point where now you have two separate families trying to support the kids in their own ways, the expenses get higher. It becomes harder and harder to meet what may have been a reasonable level of credit. And they just can’t make it.
And it’s usually we find on average two, two and a half years after the financial trauma, the marriage breakup or whatever that people actually get to the point where they have to seek professional help to solve the problem. But certainly marriage breakup is the biggest one. The thing sort of closely on the heels of that might be that there is no single factor other than that that really contributes to it. People can have a reasonable amount of debt but they lose their job, there’s a death in the family, there’s all sorts of innumerable financial traumas that can happen in people’s lives. And it’s that combination of where over a period of time if you don’t do anything about it it’s going to result in requiring a statutory remedy.
Doug Hoyes: Yeah and I think the key point there is in a lot of cases it’s just not your fault. And yes okay, I guess we could debate whether my marriage got into trouble because it was my fault or not but ultimately things happen and you are better off getting professional help in dealing with them rather than letting it get worse and worse.
And I agree with what you’re saying, it is often a couple of years after the event itself whether it’s the marriage breakup or job loss or a medical issue or something that the debts finally catch up to you. You were able to keep it going for awhile. And again, I think that disproves the myth, it’s not you spent too much money, it was just things happen.
So, let me throw another myth at you and get your take on this one. So, myth number two everyone will know I filed bankruptcy. So, I meet with people all the time. They’re worried that if they file a consumer proposal or go bankrupt, everyone will know and I think there’s really two parts to this myth. Who will know and who needs to know? So, let’s start with the first part. If you go bankrupt, who will find out that you went bankrupt?
Leigh Taylor: Well first of all your creditors will find out. If somebody is taking legal action against you or whatever, the stay of proceedings kicks in, official notices have to be sent out to those people as well.
Doug Hoyes: So let me just stop you right there because you used two big words, creditors and stay of proceedings. So, I know what they mean, I’m pretty sure I know what they mean, but explain in layman’s terms what’s a creditor? Like what’s the difference between a creditor and a debtor and then what’s a stay of proceedings?
Leigh Taylor: Okay, a creditor is anybody that you owe money to. So, if you’ve got a Visa card and you owe them money and a bankrupt occurs, one of the things you’re going to be doing is producing it’s called a statement of affairs, a legal document that says this is who I owe money to, these are all my assets, all the things I own.
And based on that notices will go out to the creditors, to people you owe money to, telling them that the bankruptcy has occurred and they can no longer sue you, they can no longer contact you to collect the debt, they can’t garnish your wages. So, they will be notified as well.
The notice doesn’t normally on a consumer bankruptcy, some administration bankruptcy, go into the local papers, no need for that. There are some exceptions but they’re pretty rare. Your neighbours don’t know, your mother isn’t necessarily going to find out. But part of that too is that nobody really cares that much anymore. When you get an access of hundred thousand bankruptcies a year in Canada it gets a little tedious to say well, did my neighbour go bankrupt? Privacy is a little overrated in that kind of a situation.
Doug Hoyes: Yeah, everybody knows everything. So, we’re going to get back to the list of people that would find out so the people you owe money to is the obvious one. You mentioned a stay of proceedings the, so can you put a bow on that as to what that means?
Leigh Taylor: Well, it’s an automatic legal procedure as soon as you file an assignment in bankruptcy or go bankrupt. The bankruptcy access, nobody can take any collection practices against you. If the creditor phones you up and starts giving you a hard time simply say I went bankrupt, this is my trustee you can talk to them. And legally they’re not entitled to take any further collection practices against you.
Doug Hoyes: Yeah and that obviously would apply in a consumer proposal as well. So, I always explain it to people as the creditor’s the people you owe money to have to stay away, it’s a stay of proceedings. So, as a result once the bankruptcy or the proposal is filed, nobody can be taking you to court, garnishing your wages, anything like that. Okay, so we know the people you owe money to will find out that you went bankrupt, what about Revenue Canada, do they find out?
Leigh Taylor: Yes, Revenue Canada’s going to know. A notification gets send to Revenue Canada, certainly if you owe Revenue Canada any money, back taxes or whatever, back taxes or whatever you’re going to want that stay of proceedings again. And that’s pretty straightforward with Revenue Canada. When you file bankruptcy the trustee is going to do any income tax returns [that are standing] at the date of bankruptcy. And two returns in the year that you go bankrupt. So, Revenue Canada would get notified of that at the end of the first year you’re back on your own with Revenue Canada.
Doug Hoyes: And in the case of a consumer proposal if I don’t owe any money to Revenue Canada they still find out but it doesn’t really affect anything, I’m still getting my refund in the normal way.
Leigh Taylor: Yes.
Doug Hoyes: And what about my employer?
Leigh Taylor: Well, it could depend on your circumstances. If there is a garnishment order outstanding then of course your employer’s going to find out about it because we’ll send the notice to them so they stop taking the money off your cheque. If there is no garnishment order there is no other reason that your employer has to find out about it particularly, then your employer may never know. A lot of times though we find that employers are referring people over to us. They get the garnishment notice, they don’t want their employees working to pay off some court order, they want their employees to be able to get by just fine on their wages. So, it’s not unusual for employers to send them to us to solve the problem.
Doug Hoyes: Yeah and in most cases the employers happy that you’ve taken action because the payroll person, it’s a nuisance for them to have to be, you know, doing the garnishment off your paycheque, sending it off. They’re happy to say great, we don’t have to worry about this anymore. It’s simpler for the employer and obviously it’s better for the employee as well. So, final point on this then, credit bureaus, obviously they find out about a consumer proposal or a bankruptcy.
Leigh Taylor: Yeah, they’ll get the information directly from the [unintelligible [00:15:13] office so it goes directly onto their files. That’s – a lot of people, one of the first things they ask is, is this going to affect my credit rating? I’m not sure that people understand exactly what a credit rating is other than they’ve been taught over the years that it’s a good idea to have a good credit rating and a bad idea to have a bad one, not really understanding the difference.
But it’s not that bankruptcy hurts your credit rating, strange as that sounds, your credit ratings already in the ditch. If you’ve got a whole bunch of credit cards and people suing you and all these people are going to be reporting to whatever credit agency they’re reporting to, your credit rating’s already off track. Nobody’s likely to loan you a lot of money based on your credit rating because it’s so bad. What bankruptcy actually does is it improves your credit rating because it puts a stop date on collections and it typically says once you’re discharged from bankruptcy those debts are discharged. There’s some exceptions but we’re talking generalities now. So then you can start rebuilding it.
Doug Hoyes: So, let’s talk about the rebuilding then because myth number three that people are totally worried about is well, if I go bankrupt or file a consumer proposal it’s going to ruin my credit forever. So, what you’re saying is the consumer proposal or bankruptcy puts a stop to the debts. How long is my credit impact then? Is it forever or is it for a period of time. How does that work?
Leigh Taylor: Well, generally speaking once you’re discharged from bankruptcy, that’s key, the credit reporting agency will report the fact of bankruptcy for six years after you’re discharged, which means that you can start rebuilding it. People are going to know you went bankrupt. But going bankrupt is one of the first steps to rebuilding your credit. It puts a stop to the old debts, all the creditors know that.
And if you understand that your credit rating is merely a gage that creditors, lenders will use to judge how much of a risk are you? If we loan this guy or give him a credit card or whatever is he simply going to run it up and go bankrupt again or whatever? So, it simply says that now you’ve got rid of your old debts, how long is it going to take to get it back?
And you can start rebuilding your credit right away. There’s things you can do. You can get secured credit cards for example. There’s administrative costs involved in that but nevertheless that’s a handy way to start rebuilding your credit. You can start dealing with rather general Visa or general credit cards if you need loans or whatever then talk to your local branch of a bank or credit union where you can talk to a real person, get an idea of what your situation is, show them that you’ve been able to keep track of your expenses, you’re not going to fall back into the same trap you fell into before. And build up your credibility. And you build it up with the lender in conjunction with the credit bureau.
Doug Hoyes: Yeah by paying your bills on time and so on. And I think you made a key point there and that is if you’re considering filing a consumer proposal or a bankruptcy the phrase you used is your credit is already in the ditch meaning you’ve already got bad credit so saying oh I’d really like to preserve my credit, I don’t want to go bankrupt, well, wait a minute, you already are in bad shape.
So, if you can’t go to the bank and refinance all your debts at a lower interest rate then doing a proposal isn’t going to make it any worse to your credit that as you say is already in the ditch. So, I think you shouldn’t be comparing your credit to perfection because it isn’t that. If you’re in a situation now where you can’t borrow anyways or the only borrowing you can do is at super high interest rates then it makes sense to say okay let’s bring an end to it and get started. So, okay so credit is not a forever thing.
I know one of the other objections to filing a bankruptcy and that would be our myth number four and that is if I go bankrupt I’m going to lose everything. So, walk me through that. Is that true? Are you going to lose absolutely everything if you go bankrupt?
Leigh Taylor: No, that’s not the case. Now it’s going to vary from province to province because what the bankruptcy act says is that if an asset or a class of assets is exempt under federal or provincial legislation, then it’s not part of the bankruptcy estate. And the most common ones are equity in your home, that will vary from province to province but most provinces allow some equity in your home. Motor vehicles under certain circumstances can be claimed exemption from seizure. What they call tools of the trade, if you’re an electrician then you need your screwdrivers and wire cutters etc., those are going to be exempt from seizure in most provinces. And there’s others too depending on your particular situation.
The other one I wanted to note and that we get asked more often than not is am I going to lose my house? Well, if you have a house and I’m using Winnipeg where a house is worth $300,000 I don’t know if you can get one of those in Toronto?
Doug Hoyes: No, you can’t, no, you can’t.
Leigh Taylor: A $300,000 house with a $280,000 mortgage against it, well they reality of it is there’s no equity in the house. If you can keep up and afford to keep the house, mortgage payments etc. then the trustee isn’t going to be interested in the house. We get it appraised, look at the mortgage, not enough equity in there, we can leave it with you. So, in most cases that’s the scenario we’re looking at. It’s not too often we come across situations where they have a three or $400,000 house with an $80,000 mortgage.
Well, the solution is not bankruptcy in most cases. You can refinance, file a proposal, do a sort of a consolidation work out rather than a statutory remedy. So no, it’s – everyone is an individual situation so it’s a problem when you generalize too much in this area. But the answer to that is no and the detailed answer is talk to a licensed insolvency trustee in your area and find out just what assets are or not part of a bankruptcy situation.
Doug Hoyes: Yeah and I think that’s a good idea because I mean you mentioned cars for example. And it’s true in Ontario we have a similar law that a car worth up to a certain amount is exempt from seizure. But how do you determine what the value of the car is, what happens if there’s a loan against the car, what happens if it’s a lease? There’s always complications that will make it more complicated.
Well, no problem that’s something we deal with every day, obviously you deal with it every day so that’s why we encourage people, come on in, let’s take a look at your car documents, let’s take a look at your loan documents, same with your house, your mortgage whatever. We can then do some digging and figure out what exactly will happen. It’s the same with RSPs. RSPs are generally exempt from seizure, meaning we’re not going to take them, the only obvious exception is any money you’ve put in in the last 12 months. But again, what does that mean and how is the 12 months figured out? Bring your paperwork in, we can take a look at it and come up with a very specific answer for you.
So, let me throw myth number five at you then and this is the last one we’re going to talk about and that is that government debts are not included in a bankruptcy. In other words a bankruptcy or a consumer proposal doesn’t get rid of government debts. So, tell me what happens if you owe money to the government and either go bankrupt or file a consumer proposal. Let’s start with the simple example which would be income taxes.
Leigh Taylor: Income taxes are reasonably simple. You’re correct, they are part of the bankruptcy. Revenue Canada will file their claim etc. and be a creditor like any other creditor and get paid something maybe out of the bankruptcy along with the other creditors.
One of the reasons that the trustee will file what we call a pre bankruptcy and a post bankruptcy tax return, that means we’ll file a tax return from January 1st of the year so if you went bankrupt today it would be from January 1st to June 9th. And what that does is finds out is there a refund there because a refund that is a debt that is owed to you and goes to your trustee or if you owe taxes based on that short period of time, we pro rate all the exemptions and everything else. So that it sort of gets you on track. If you owe Revenue Canada money it’s caught up in the bankruptcy.
We file a post bankruptcy tax return going from the day of the bankruptcy to the end of the year so that we can get you back on track if you will. Now if you owe money and don’t make the proper deductions during bankruptcy you could be faced with paying money back at that point in time. And if there’s a refund it goes to the trustee.
Doug Hoyes: And obviously if you owe money and don’t go bankrupt you’re paying taxes anyway so that’s no different. But your basic point is if you go bankrupt any taxes you owe up to the date of bankruptcy are included in the bankruptcy.
Leigh Taylor: Yes. There’s a lot of other kind of government debts involved but they all fall into the same general category. You get, you do get some situations where EI overpayments maybe as a result from fraud or misrepresentation that you didn’t fill out the cards properly or something and you can have a problem with those debts sticking around. You don’t see much of that anymore. It used to be a common experience but we don’t see too much of that anymore. But generally speaking yeah just because it’s the government doesn’t make it any different than other creditors in a bankruptcy.
Doug Hoyes: What about student loans?
Leigh Taylor: Well, student loans are a really interesting twist over a number of years. You understand how they came about and everything. The bottom line right now is if you go bankrupt and within seven years prior you cease to be a student, then that is going to be accepted from the discharge and it will be dealt with separately. There’s separate rules dealing with it. If it’s five years old then you can apply to have it included. If it’s more than seven years old then it’s automatically included. Now there’s been the odd court case in different jurisdictions that deal with how do you measure the seven years? I think the latest one comes out and says it’s basically seven years from the term or the studies that you borrowed the money to do.
Doug Hoyes: Yeah and again that’s a classic example of don’t believe what you read on the internet. Come in, bring your student loan documents, we can give you the phone number to call either the provincial or the federal student loans depending on who you’re dealing with and figure out what the correct answer is.
So, last question related to this myth, what debts do not go away in a bankruptcy? So we talked about student loans that are less than seven years old, are there any other obvious ones that yeah if you owe that you’re still going to have to pay?
Leigh Taylor: Okay there’s just a few of them if you want to generalize them fines or penalties imposed by the courts so if you’ve got a speeding ticket or impaired driving charge or something of that nature, it’s not going to be discharged. You need to deal with it and notwithstanding the bankruptcy. Alimony maintenance or child support, past, present of future is not going to be affected by bankruptcy so that continues on, which means that maintenance enforcement could continue to collect if they’re responsible for collecting on those kinds of a debt. You want to make sure that’s taken care of.
As well any debt which arose as a result of fraud, embezzlement of fraud misrepresentation of any sort is considered non-dischargeable as well. And that, you get into legalities when you talk about that because what is misrepresentation and these sort of things and you may want to talk to a lawyer to get into that definition because that can get pretty complicated. And other than student loans you talk about things like intentional injury claims. And other than that all the debts are going to be affected in bankruptcy.
Doug Hoyes: Yeah the main one you mentioned would be child support. You’re still paying that whether you’re bankrupt or not, whether you’re in a consumer proposal or not, it’s not going to affect it.
So, okay so I think we went through five myths there and we helped dispel them so to close the show Leigh, are there any pieces of advice that you could give someone that is listening to this? I guess one obvious piece of advice you just gave us was when you’ve got these kind of issues make sure you’re talking to an expert not somebody who just is a debt consultant and just started in business yesterday but an actual licensed insolvency trustee. Is there anything else other than that that you would be giving people as general advice?
Leigh Taylor: I think the best advice that I can give to anybody is that when you start to recognize that you’re having financial difficulty, do something about it. Don’t sit back. I think we mentioned earlier that it’s two, two and a half years after a traumatic financial event that people start actually trying to do something about it.
If they start earlier then first of all they can crack the problem, they get some good advice, they can talk to a licensed insolvency trustee, get an assessment about the situation. What caused it, they can correct it and it gives them a lot more options, a lot more things that they can do to solve their problem. It doesn’t necessarily have to be that bankruptcy is the only solution. You wait long enough, that’s what’s going to happen. So, early recognition, do something early about it and chances are you’re going to come out better.
Doug Hoyes: Excellent. Well, I think that’s a great way to end it and I think that’s great advice. I mean if you’ve got a medical problem you’d do the same thing, right? I’m going to go talk to a doctor right away. I’m not going to wait till it becomes more severe. So, how can people track you down? So, if someone is listening to this you’ve got an office in Winnipeg, you’ve also got an office in Kanora Ontario, which is kind of the northwestern corner of Ontario. What’s the best place to reach you, what’s your website, how can people find you?
Leigh Taylor: Okay, if they just Google LC Taylor they’re going to come up with it so I think that’s probably the best idea. They can contact my phone, the number in Winnipeg is 204-925-6400. And they can email is at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you just have general questions.
Doug Hoyes: Give you guys a call. Well, what we’ll do in the show notes is put up links to all that and it’s literally LC, the letter L, the letter C Taylor is the name of your firm. So, Leigh thanks very much, I appreciate you being here today.
Leigh Taylor: Always a pleasure Doug.
Doug Hoyes: Thanks very much. Well, that’s our show for today. Full show notes including a full transcript and links to Leigh’s website can be found at hoyes.com that’s h-o-y-e-s-dot-com. As I said that’s our show for today. Thanks for listening. Until next week, I’m Doug Hoyes. That was Debt Free in 30.