Part 10 - Personal Insolvency
Agreement

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Overview

A Personal Insolvency Agreement (Part X) or PIA is a structured method for managing substantial debts, providing an alternative to bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Act 1966. This legally binding agreement between a debtor and their creditors allows for the negotiation of debt repayment, aligning with the debtor’s financial capacity.

Key Features of a Personal Insolvency Agreement:

  • Legally Binding
    A formal arrangement between a debtor and creditors.
  • Debt Negotiation
    Enables debtors to settle their obligations through negotiated terms, potentially paying less than the total debt.
  • Trustee Involvement
    A Registered Trustee is appointed to manage negotiations, proposal development, and agreement administration.
  • Alternative to Bankruptcy
    Offers a solution to manage debts without the full implications of bankruptcy.
  • Flexibility
    Provides tailored options for debt repayment, such as lump-sum payments or asset liquidation.

Causes for Considering PIA

Individuals may consider a Personal Insolvency Agreement (PIA) for several reasons, often stemming from situations where debt becomes unmanageable due to various factors. Common causes include
  • Sudden Change in Financial Circumstances:
    This can occur due to job loss, a significant reduction in income, or unexpected expenses such as medical bills. When income drops or expenses rise sharply, meeting debt obligations can become challenging.
  • Business Failure 

    For those who run their own business, encountering periods of low profit or business losses can make it difficult to keep up with personal and business-related debt repayments.

  • Overextension of Credit 

     This happens when individuals take on more debt than they can handle, often due to easy access to credit cards, loans, or other forms of credit without a solid plan to manage repayments.

  • Divorce or Separation
    The financial impact of a divorce or separation can be significant, often leading to a single income having to cover expenses that were previously shared, in addition to legal costs and potential child support or alimony.
  • Health Issues 

    Serious health problems can lead to high medical bills and reduced earning capacity, making it tough to manage existing debts

  • Lack of Financial Planning 

    In some cases, insufficient budgeting, lack of emergency funds, or poor financial decisions can gradually lead to a debt situation that becomes unmanageable.

When debts pile up and these circumstances make it difficult to meet financial obligations, a PIA offers a structured way to address the situation. It provides a mechanism to negotiate with creditors and seek a more manageable way to satisfy debts without resorting to full bankruptcy. Understanding the root causes of financial distress is crucial in deciding whether a PIA is the most suitable solution for your situation.

Procedure of a Part 10 Personal Insolvency Agreement

  • Seek Professional Advice
    Consult with a financial advisor or an insolvency practitioner. They can assess your situation to determine if a Part 10 PIA is the most suitable option for your circumstances.
  • Appoint a Controlling Trustee 

    If a Part 10 PIA seems appropriate, you’ll need to appoint a Controlling Trustee. This person must be a registered trustee or a solicitor. The Controlling Trustee takes charge of your financial affairs temporarily, examining your assets and liabilities and preparing a report for your creditors.

  • Proposal Development
    You’ll work with the Controlling Trustee to develop a proposal for your creditors. This proposal outlines how you plan to address your debts. It might involve partial repayments, lump-sum payments, or asset divestment. The proposal should be realistic and feasible, reflecting what you can afford.
  • Creditors’ Meeting 

    The Controlling Trustee will call a meeting of your creditors. During this meeting, your creditors will review and vote on your proposal. For the proposal to be accepted, a majority in number and at least 75% in value of the voting creditors must agree to it.

  • Acceptance and Implementation 

    If your creditors accept the proposal, the Part 10 PIA becomes binding on all unsecured creditors, even those who voted against it. The Controlling Trustee then becomes the Trustee of the agreement and oversees its implementation, ensuring that you adhere to the terms and that creditors receive their dues as per the agreement.

  • Completion 

    Once you’ve fulfilled all the obligations under the agreement, the Trustee will provide a report to your creditors and the Australian Financial Security Authority. Upon their approval, you’ll be released from the debts included in the agreement, marking the completion of the Part 10 PIA process

It’s important to note that during the Part 10 PIA process, you may face restrictions in your financial dealings, and your credit rating will be impacted. Engaging in this process signifies a commitment to resolving your debt issues, but it also requires rigorous adherence to the terms agreed upon with your creditors.
Here’s a revised version of the text about the effects/consequences of Part 10 Personal Insolvency Agreement (PIA):

Important Considerations Before Entering a PIA

While PIA can offer a structured way out of debt, it’s crucial to understand its long-term impact on your financial and personal life. Here are some key consequences to consider:

Financial Impact

  • Credit Score
    Entering a PIA will affect your credit score and remain on your record for up to five years, possibly longer if the agreement extends beyond that. This can affect your ability to borrow money at favorable rates.
  • Public Record
    Your name will be listed on the National Personal Insolvency Index (NPII), accessible to authorized individuals. This may impact your privacy regarding your financial situation.
  • Asset Retention
    While offering more flexibility than bankruptcy, a PIA might require selling some assets depending on the agreement terms. Additionally, if your income increases, you may need to contribute more towards your debts
Legal and Practical Considerations

  • Employment and BusinessCertain professions or licensing bodies have restrictions for individuals under a PIA. Check if your agreement could affect your job or business operation.
  • Secured DebtsSecured creditors (e.g., mortgage lenders) are not covered by the PIA and can still repossess assets if you miss payments.
  • Ongoing Obligations
    Adhering to the agreement terms and informing the Trustee of any financial changes is mandatory. Non-compliance can lead to agreement annulment and potential bankruptcy.

PIA Doesn’t Cover

Limitation CategoryDescription
Secured DebtsA Part 10 PIA generally does not include secured debts unless the secured creditor agrees. Defaulting on these may result in the creditor seizing the asset tied to the debt.
Non-Dischargeable DebtsCertain debts like fines, court-imposed penalties, debts from fraud, and some student loans are not covered and remain your responsibility.
New DebtsDebts incurred after the PIA is agreed upon are not covered. You are fully responsible for any new debts.
Creditors’ RightsIf a creditor was not notified or did not vote for the proposal, their rights are not affected by the PIA, and they can still pursue their claims.
Personal GuaranteesCreditors with personal guarantees from you may not be bound by the PIA terms and can pursue you separately for the owed amount.
Asset ProtectionThe PIA does not necessarily protect your assets, especially if they are secured against debts. Creditors may claim these assets regardless of the PIA.

Alternatives

Part 10 Personal Insolvency Agreement (PIA) might not be the only answer. Here’s a simple breakdown of alternatives, each with its own pros and cons:

Debt Agreement (Part IX)

  • This option works best for manageable debt amounts.
  • Negotiate a repayment plan based on your affordability, potentially at a reduced sum.
  • It shows as bankruptcy on your credit report for 1 year and needs at least 51% creditor approval.

Informal Arrangement

  • Negotiate directly with creditors for a payment plan or settlement.
  • Less rigid than a PIA, potentially less damaging to your credit score.
  • Not legally binding, so creditor commitment might be shaky.

Full Bankruptcy (Last Resort)

  • Eliminates most debts, offering a fresh start.
  • Assets might be sold, credit score takes a hit for 7 years, and certain jobs might be off-limits.

 

Debt Consolidation

  • Merge multiple debts into one loan, simplifying repayment and potentially lowering interest.
  • Ensure the consolidation reduces interest and doesn’t extend your debt burden.

Financial Counselling

  • Talk to a professional who understands your situation and guides you through options.
  • Seek out free financial counselling services available in Australia.

Asset Sale or Refinancing

  • Consider selling assets or refinancing your mortgage to clear debts.
  • Ensure this doesn’t jeopardize your future financial stability.
Important: Before choosing, talk to a professional for personalized advice. Each option has long-term implications, so find the path that suits your situation and helps you achieve financial recovery.

Questions & Answers

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Visit FAQs Page or
What if I can't make payments under a Personal Insolvency Agreement?
Contact us if you can’t make payments. We’ll negotiate changes with our Trustee. Not informing us can lead to default and possible bankruptcy, but we’re here to help avoid that.
Can I be a Director of a company?
Yes – if approved by the court.
What impact does it have on my credit report?
It will be listed on your credit report for a period of 5 years. This will impact your ability to obtain finance whilst this listing is on your Credit Report. Your name will also be permanently publicly listed on the National Personal Insolvency Index.
What is a special resolution for PIA?

A special resolution for a PIA refers to a vote taken by creditors to approve the agreement. For your PIA to be approved you will need a majority of creditors ( by number) to vote in favor of the proposal

What Powers do insolvency practitioners have?

Court Applications, Information Gathering, Asset Management, Investigations, Legal Proceedings, Creditor Claims, Dividend Distribution etc

Do I need an insolvency practitioner?

It depends on your specific circumstances. Some factors to consider are debt level and management, Creditor pressure, Considering bankruptcy, etc

What are the dangers of Personal Debt?

Debt can strain the budget, reduce savings, cause stress, and limit choices

Can you come back from insolvency?

Yes, with a Personal Insolvency Agreement (PIA), you can restructure debt and rebuild finances over time.

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