What is the Difference Between a Consumer Proposal and Bankruptcy?
Often we have clients come to us with financial troubles looking for advice regarding the difference between a consumer proposal and bankruptcy. While both are very valuable resources when it comes to dealing with debt that has spiraled out of control, there are significant – and important – distinctions between the two. Today we discuss those differences.
What is a consumer proposal? A consumer proposal is a process by which you put forth a proposal to your creditors presenting, based primarily on your income, an amount to be repaid on a debt over a period of typically 5 years. This amount is often far less than the current debt owed. All creditors must be included in the proposal and a majority must accept. Once accepted, you begin making a single monthly payment to your trustee which is then distributed to your creditors.
The benefits of a consumer proposal are numerous. Firstly, as mentioned, the amount to be repaid is often far lower than what you actually owe. Additionally, when a consumer proposal is filed, interest stops accumulating and your creditors are required to stop taking collection action against you. This means that any wage garnishments and frozen bank accounts must be lifted.
What is a bankruptcy? Unlike a consumer proposal where you propose an amount to your creditors, when you file for bankruptcy, you enter into a legal contract to assign (surrender) everything you own to a trustee in exchange for the elimination of your debts. In bankruptcy, you are not paying against an agreed amount – rather the number of months you have to pay is based on your income. For a first time bankrupt this is typically 9 or 21 months. Once you’ve completed the payment schedule and the terms of your bankruptcy, you are discharged and your bankruptcy is essentially done.
Completing the terms of your bankruptcy means more than just paying monthly – it is also means participating in credit counselling and disclosing all extra income you receive. If you receive more income during your bankruptcy than what was provided at the time you filed, you may be subject to additional surplus income, meaning you will have to make additional payments in your bankruptcy.
The benefits of bankruptcy are, as with a consumer proposal, numerous. You’re required to make only a single monthly payment, interest stops accumulating and your creditors must remove all enforcement action currently levied against you.
Which option is best for you? As with any major financial decision, the answer to this question depends on your current financial situation. A main consideration is how much you earn as well as what assets you have. A financial consultant will be able to review your finances and recommend the solution that is best suited for your personal circumstances.
One final note. Both a consumer proposal and bankruptcy must be administered by a trustee in bankruptcy, but be forewarned. While this individual does represent you, they also represent your creditors, meaning your interests are not protected. You are best served by speaking first with a financial consultant, someone who can protect you and negotiate on your behalf. At DebtCare, we stand in you corner.
Protect yourself by calling us first. 1-888-890-0888.