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Legal stuff — do I need a bankruptcy lawyer?

What legal aspects should I understand regarding bankruptcy or a proposal in Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario?

In the vast majority of personal insolvencies in Canada, lawyers are not used.

A Licensed Insolvency Trustee is licensed by the federal government to administer specific types of insolvency procedures under Canadian law. Most trustee are chartered accountants - in fact, it is not possible for a practicing lawyer to become a trustee. Although a number of Licensed Insolvency Trustees have at one time trained to be lawyers and have a law degree.

A number of lawyers have specialized in the area of insolvency law. If there are contested issues in a bankruptcy then a lawyer may be hired to make an argument on behalf of the parties involved. If you do end up needing a lawyer it would be wise to ensure that your lawyer has specialized knowledge in insolvency matters.

The Canadian bankruptcy system has been designed to minimize the costs associated with filing bankruptcy so that as much money as possible may be returned to the creditors. By not requiring lawyers except in the most contentious cases, the cost of bankruptcy is kept as low as possible.

A Licensed Insolvency Trustee is licensed by the federal government to administer specific types of insolvency procedures under Canadian law. Most Trustees are chartered accountants.

The most common offences committed under the BIA and the Criminal Code are when the bankrupt:

  • Fraudulently disposes of property before or after the bankruptcy

  • Makes false entries in a statement of account or hides, destroys or falsifies a document related to his/her property or affairs

  • Obtains credit or any other goods through false representations

  • Conceals or fraudulently removes property, or conceals claims or debts

  • Obtains credit or engages in trade without informing the people involved that he/she is bankrupt (a person who is bankrupt and borrows $1,000 or more must inform the lender that he/she is bankrupt)

  • Refuses to respond fully and truthfully to questions posed during an examination held in accordance with the BIA

You can learn more in the Bankruptcy & Insolvency Act (sections 198 to 201) and the Criminal Code.

These answers to frequently asked questions are provided as general information only. Each individual's situation is unique. To speak to someone now call us at 310-8888 for a free, no obligation, confidential consultation.

 

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