The time limit in Scotland for recovering debts
The first thing to do when you start to deal with your money worries in Scotland and become debt free is to be honest about what you owe and to who.
Scotland’s Trust Deed is a company who are experts in helping Scottish people who are struggling with the burden of unmanageable debt. Our friendly, knowledgeable and non-judgemental team will help you decide which debts need to be dealt with first and how that might be done.
At the beginning of the debt management process, it is important to make a comprehensive list of your creditors and the amount you owe them. This may mean going through long ignored paperwork and discovering debts that you have forgotten.
There are few creditors who will allow a significant amount of money owed to them to slip through the net. However, if the amount that you owe on this old debt is quite small then it is possible. So, what should you do about it?
Statute Barred Debt
A statute barred debt can’t be collected by the creditor because a certain amount of time has gone by. This is covered by The Prescriptions and Limitation (Scotland) Act of 1973.
The time limit for debt recall in Scotland is five years, as opposed to the six years in England and Wales. After this time a creditor is not allowed, by law, to demand the repayment of the debt.
There are restrictions however and these rules must also have been followed before you can happily write off the old debt you have discovered:
- The debtor must not have contacted the creditor about the money owed within those five years.
- There should be no court decrees or action against the debt.
- The creditor cannot have been in touch with the debtor about the debt within those five years.
- You should not have paid any money off the debt within those five years.
These rules apply to any individual who has joint responsibility for the debt. So, for example, if the debt you have found is in joint names with a previous partner then, if possible, check to see if they have been managing the sum owed.
A statute barred debt is usually an unsecured one such as a store card, credit card or personal loan. The last £50 on a catalogue account is a debt that may have been ‘forgotten’. Timescales apply to capital mortgage arrears and council tax but they are much longer (20 years) and it is very unlikely that contact will not have been made by the bank, building society or council within that time.
What to do if you are chased for a statute barred debt
Once five years (in Scotland) have passed and the criteria have been met, the creditor is not legally allowed to chase, harass or contact you about the debt. If this happens it is important to contact someone with professional experience.
This may mean speaking with the team at Scotland’s Trust Deed about contacting the creditor or the credit collection agency to remind them that yours is a statute barred debt and that effectively it no longer exists.
To get advice and help on existing debt and potentially statute barred debt then get in touch with the helpful, experienced team at Scotland’s Trust Deed today on 0141 297 1178.
Some Scots are hiding debt from their partners
Debt is a stressful situation to be in and can have damaging effects on your life beyond how much you have in your bank account and now research has shown that shame and fear are leading to one in seven Scots with debt to hide the situation from their partners.
So, why do people feel that they must hide their money worries from the people they love? It’s a damaging tactic as at Scotland’s Trust Deed we believe that honesty and communication are the first steps towards solving debt problems.
The reasons behind hiding debt
There are numerous reasons why the burden of debt is hidden.
- The individual’s guilt and shame that they have found themselves in this position.
- The need to protect their partner from the stress and worry that they are experiencing.
- Worries that the person they love will be angry and that it will damage the relationship.
- Debts that have arisen from gambling addiction or similar, things that signal a deeper problem, are particularly hard to admit to.
Of course, these are difficult challenges to face and we know that the conversation with your partner will be hard. However, after the initial shock and anger, you may find that they offer understanding, forgiveness and a promise to work through the problem together.
The consequences of hiding and avoiding your debt
Scotland’s Trust Deed firmly believe that hiding debt only makes it worse. This is unnecessary when the help and support to avoid the following consequences is so readily available.
- Charges after missed payments.
- Interest on a loan that wipes out the impact of each ‘minimum payment’.
- Late payment fees.
- The threat of bankruptcy.
- Loss of your home and car.
- Visits from bailiffs.
- Court action.
- Damage to your credit history that may also impact your partner.
- Stress, anxiety and mood swings.
- Your partner finding out about your debt through a source other than you.
Remember, once the truth has been told, financial advice has been sought and a plan of action set in motion life will become easier and relationships can be repaired.
Where to find help?
There are many sources of support and advice for people dealing with debt. Among them are charitable organisations for initial advice and direction and if your money worries are causing stress, anxiety and mental health issues then contact your GP or similar to get help.
However, you must AVOID at all costs pay day loans companies, usually advertising loans on TV, and loan sharks. Their interest rates and default charges are huge and your debt will become much, much harder to deal with.
For more help and information for Scots who are struggling with debt, then call the friendly team at Scotland’s Trust Deed today on 0141 297 1178.
Why seeking debt advice will help your finances
Searching for good advice on how to handle your debts for people living in Scotland is the first step towards financial recovery. Research has shown that it will also have positive effects on your mood within a very short space of time.
One national debt charity has reported that 60% of people who came to them for help felt that their finances improved within a few weeks of asking for guidance. In fact, one in ten of them thought that their debt issues had been totally solved within this time.
Professional money advisors such as Scotland’s Trust Deed should be the first people you talk to when it becomes hard to pay your bills and debt repayments. They have masses of experience in helping people solve their money worries and have seen and heard it all.
Once you have shared your money worries, received sound advice and committed to a debt-free future, the positive impact on your well-being will be massive. Imagine not worrying every time the phone rings or a letter lands on the doormat.
The debt charity’s report tells us that three months after asking for help, the participants in their study were sleeping better and for longer and felt much less worried. After nine months the feeling of being back in control arrived and at fifteen months the path to recovery was well established and financial stability beckoned.
Scotland’s Trust Deed gives honest, impartial and friendly advice
At Scotland’s Trust Deed we give honest, impartial and friendly advice to help our clients discover which is the best path for them. Once decided, our expert staff will negotiate with your creditors about how much you can afford to pay them back and a Trust Deed application will begin.
The support we offer makes the process much less stressful and emotional, and our clients are able to concentrate on learning how to budget, take back financial control and become confident with handling their finances in the future.
The debt charity tells us that once advice has been taken and acted upon, three-quarters of people kept tighter control of their spending and avoided credit. The road to a debt-free life is challenging and there will be difficult times.
Cutting back on luxuries and treats such as holidays and new clothes is hard but avoiding a repetition of unmanageable debt is important. Overall the mental health and well-being benefits of living within your means are worth the sacrifice.
Contact us for free debt advice
Most people having difficulty with debt will wait at least a year before asking for help. That’s twelve months of charges, interest, stress and worry. The team at Scotland’s Trust Deed urge you to contact us for free debt advice. Don’t wait until your situation begins to feel overwhelming and hopeless, do it now.
Do you qualify for a Scottish Trust Deed?
A Scottish Trust Deed is a formal agreement between an individual and their creditors. It is designed to help people who are struggling to pay their debt repayments and will define how much they can afford to pay back and when.
Trust Deeds are an alternative to sequestration and if they become ‘protected’ can be a forceful legal tool which will set the holder back on the road to financial stability.
Provided you keep up with the affordable payments agreed within the Trust Deed, after an average of four years you will be debt free.
Unaffordable debt will be written off. This means that if you owe more than you can afford to pay off within the four to five years of the trust deed term you will no longer liable for it.
There are no set up fees or credit checks.
How do I qualify for a Trust Deed?
- You must have a minimum of £5,000 of unsecured debt. Unsecured debt is money owed without an asset behind it that can be taken if the debt is not paid. Mortgages and car loans are the main examples of secured debt.
- It must be declared by a professional money advisor that you will be unable to pay what you owe within a reasonable amount of time. This is called being insolvent and proving to creditors that you are and this is where companies such as Scotland’s Trust Deed have an important role.
- You must live in Scotland or have lived in Scotland within the last year. Or you have must have a business in Scotland.
- Your creditors must agree to the Trust Deed proposal. This is never guaranteed but the expert staff at Scotland’s Trust Deed are experienced negotiators and will work hard to see your Trust Deed secured.
What can I do if I don’t qualify?
There are other options available for people who don’t meet the criteria for a Trust Deed.
- Money advice from other charitable organisations will help you identify where savings can be made within your budget, what benefits you may qualify for and advise on how to prioritise your debts.
- A Debt Advisory Scheme (DAS) is worth looking into, this is a Scottish Government-backed process that will assess your debts and situation. If you qualify, the DAS will appoint an administrator to handle your creditors and take affordable monthly payments from you until the debt has been paid.
- This is the Scottish term for bankruptcy and there are two types. ‘Minimal Assets Process’ (MAP) is for people with limited income and few assets, ‘Standard Administration’ for people who own property, land and cars.
Sequestration is usually a last resort as it is the most restrictive and impactful of the options available. Property and assets will be repossessed, access to banking is restricted, jobs and tenancy agreements can be at risk and all financial control is given to a trustee.
If you are struggling with debt don’t wait for late payment charges and interest to make the situation worse. Contact Scotland’s Trust Deed to find out if you qualify for the first step on the road back to financial stability.
The options for dealing with debt in Scotland
Money, finances and debt are taboo subjects for many people. When your financial situation is difficult it becomes even more of a struggle to be honest, to communicate with others and seek help.
Scotland’s Trust Deed staff are here to offer impartial, friendly and expert debt advice so there is no need to suffer the stress alone. We’ve created this handy guide to give you an idea of how to begin your journey towards financial freedom.
What to do first.
- Be honest with yourself about how much you owe.
- Seek advice as soon as you know that you have a problem. Don’t let charges and interest make the situation worse.
- Contact a professional, approved money adviser or insolvency expert. They will assess your income, your outgoings and help you decide which debts should be paid first and how much those payments should be.
Try and negotiate with your debtors yourself.
This is the best option and should be tried before anything else. Contact the creditor the moment that you become unable to make a repayment. They will hopefully appreciate your honesty and allow payment at lower rates over a longer time frame.
Seek advice on how to increase your income.
A professional adviser such as Scotland’s Trust Deed will help you with your budget and potential benefits you could be missing out on.
Set up a Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)
A DAS is a government-backed agreement. Your debt will be paid back fully, there will be no stress placed on you by creditors and legal action will not be threatened.
A scheme administrator will be placed in charge of your case and they will receive one affordable amount from your excess income (money left after necessities such as bills, food and petrol.)
Any late payment charges or interest will be put on hold meaning that careful budgeting and regular payments won’t be de-railed by nasty surprises.
This is a good long-term solution and will last until your creditors have been paid off.
Scotland’s Trust Deed have years of experience in helping our customers arrange their Trust Deeds. A Trust Deed is only available in Scotland and it is what we recommend as an alternative to sequestration.
A Trust Deed will last between four and five years and any debt left at the end of the term will be written off.
We will negotiate with your creditors after carefully going through your finances and budget with you. Once the Trust Deed has been agreed it is illegal for them to contact you.
A Trust Deed doesn’t require the sale of your house. In the last year, you will be expected to try to re-mortgage to release money to pay of your debts.
This should be your last resort as sequestration will have a significant impact on your life, finances and assets.
Control of your assets, including your home and car, is given to a trustee and it is likely they will be sold to pay off your debts.
Access to a bank account, credit and certain jobs will be restricted and your sequestration will be on public record.
If you want to know more about dealing with debt in Scotland, then you need to speak with the friendly team at Scotland’s Trust Deed.