Perhaps you are considering a Scottish Trust Deed because it is your very last option to avoid sequestration. Or maybe the pressure from creditors is becoming a strain and you want an Insolvency Practitioner to help you get the off your back once and for all. But maybe you belong to a select group of people who choose to use Scottish Trust Deeds in Scotland as a smart way to get a grip on their finances and write off debt.
There are many ways to write off debt in Scotland so why choose a Scottish Trust Deed to do it? Aren’t there any other options? Of course but they all have drawbacks, some of them serious.
Write off debt by negotiating with creditors yourself
No doubt you’ve experienced how unpleasant creditors can be. Because they deal with people every day wanting to write off debt they become cynical, bullying and often nasty as well. They see you as a number and do not care about your personal situation. If you negotiate with lenders to try and write off debt, be aware it may take months and reams of paperwork, you may be offered as little as a 10% reduction (that’s if they are willing to write off debt in the first place – some lenders won’t even discuss it with you). If they do agree to write off debt, you may need to generate large lump sums to make it happen, perhaps more than 60% of what you owe.
Scottish Trust Deeds on the other hand involve an Insolvency Practitioner (IP) negotiating on your behalf to secure a payment plan and write off debt you owe. Creditors often view an IP negotiating differently from when you do it because they know they are dealing with a professional who won’t be bullied or emotionally blackmailed. They also realise the IP has a greater knowledge of the law. Most major lenders know them and deal with them on a daily basis. An IP’s involvement is likely to result in a lender being willing to agree to write off debt on your account at the end of the Scottish Trust Deed term because they know the account will be professionally managed – and may even get higher percentage of debt written off than if you tried to negotiate yourself.
Write off debt with a debt management plan
That might sound contradictory, but many people start off with a debt management plan and then at a later date when they are in a healthier financial position ask their lenders to accept a full and final settlement and write off debt remaining on their accounts. There are three drawbacks to this.
It could take years before you are in a financial position healthy enough to generate enough cash to make full and final settlements. In the meantime you continue to scrimp and slog to pay off your debts with no light at the end of the tunnel and dealing with all the feelings of powerlessness than goes with the situation. In contrast, you have some power over the situation with a Scottish Trust Deed and you can see your end goal right from the start. You know it will last only three years and then the lenders will write off debt that remains on your account.
Second, It is quite common for lenders to agree to your plan and then not bother to abide by it. You’ll be working a debt management plan successfully for a few months only to have the lender pop up to ‘renegotiate’ or demand full payment. Or sometimes they refuse to write off debt on the basis you have been making your payments promptly every month and are not having any difficulty paying. Then they pressure you to increase the amount you are paying. With a Scottish Trust Deed, lenders agree to a set amount for three years and they cannot demand more out of the blue.
Third, your lenders may agree to lower their interest rates, but a large proportion of the debt you pay off will still be interest and it will continue to increase as time passes. With a Scottish Trust Deed, interest and charges are frozen at the start and you know at the end of the term your lender will write off debt that remains on your account.
Sequestration – the ultimate ‘write off debt’ plan?
Sequestration is a radical step - and possibly overkill - to write off debt. But it is not the ultimate ‘write off debt’ approach it is made out to be. For example, if you are in negative equity and there is nothing to release for creditors, you may get to keep you house but an IP still has the power to seize and sell your home for up to three years after if the value increases. Imagine sitting there watching television 18 months after your sequestration when the phone rings and it turns out to be the IP who dealt with your case requesting a revalue of your property. Yikes!
Are Scottish Trust Deeds Flexible?
Scottish Trust Deeds are a little more flexible. Yes, you have to give up the equity in your property, but you may be able to arrange for family to help out with a lump sum payment, which you can pay them back. For example, some parents want to make gifts to their children for inheritance tax purposes or perhaps they come into an inheritance and decide to help out their children. Your creditors must then write off debt that remains on your accounts and they can’t come back and take anything from you in the future.
While Scottish Trust Deeds are a big step for many people, they are often the best debt solution available if you want to write off debt in Scotland permanently without personally dealing creditors, increasing your debt through interest charges or having to take the drastic step of giving up everything you own to sequestration.