If your finances are under stress you are not alone. Each month thousands of Canadians from coast to coast are looking for ways to consolidate their debt and stop debt collectors from calling.
A fantastic source of information about your options can be found at the office of a Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT). The vast majority of LITs, including our office, offer a no cost initial assessment where you can discover what options are available to you to obtain relief from your debts, including income tax debt. This process is regulated by Directive 6R3 of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. Among other things, we provide a description of statutory and non-statutory options and discuss and review the merits and consequences of each choice. In addition, we will explain the difference between secured and unsecured debt, how a consumer proposal works and how the bankruptcy process unfolds. Whenever you are faced with a big decision it is important to obtain as much information as possible. In order to make the best use of your time it is well advised to bring in some basic information with you to the meeting such as:
- A list of who you owe as best as you can recall. There is no requirement to be absolutely precise at this point, however having general knowledge of who you owe and how much is helpful.
- A list of your assets and your estimate as to what they are worth. A variety of provincial exemptions exist that allows a person to protect assets from creditors. This is designed to allow the honest but unfortunate person a fresh start which would be harder to do if you had to relinquish all of your assets. Exemptions exist for assets such as a vehicle, tools of trade and RRSPs as well as other assets. Please contact us for details. In addition, many people continue on making a car payment and a mortgage payment in order to retain the associated assets depending on how much equity exists. In other words, you do not automatically lose your car or your house!
- Some idea as to what your monthly income and expenses are. Take a few minutes and write down what you can reasonably receive each month for income and what are your common expenses. This is important as it provides good information as to which options are viable. Be generous in what you think your expenses will be going into the future as you don’t want to underestimate and face future financial pressure.
It is not mandatory to bring this information to your initial consultation but it is really helpful in obtaining the best information about your options. The simple action of writing down this information can be the jumpstart that is required to start building good financial habits.
While some of these terms may sound intimidating make an appointment and ask questions! In our experience, once you find out the details, debt stress will leave your life. Why not make that first appointment, it’s free!