An IVA (individual voluntary arrangement) is an alternative to bankruptcy introduced by the government as part of the Insolvency Act 1986. This article provides an overview of IVAs and suggests what readers should watch out for when looking for IVA advice.
What Is An IVA
An IVA is an alternative to bankruptcy introduced by the Insolvency Act of 1986. It enables individuals facing serious debt problems to make a proposal to their creditors to reach a settlement. If the proposal is approved by a majority of the creditors, then the IVA acts as a contract that binds all parties and prevents any further action.
A standard IVA will offer to pay whatever the debtor can afford each month into a fund over a five year period, until the debt is cleared. With an IVA:
Interest on the loan is frozen
Legal proceedings are stopped
The overall debt is reduced
Why Is It Important To Get Good IVA Advice
When considering an IVA itís vital to get the best advice possible, and to work with an organisation that is both professional and independent. By getting unbiased advice you can be sure that you are making the right decisions and can be confident about the choices that you make.
Good IVA advice is also important because signing up to an IVA can involve a commitment of up to five years, so itís important that you understand what youíre getting into.
What To Watch Out For When Looking For IVA Advice
There are some companies who may try to convince you to sign up to an IVA even if itís not appropriate for you. Furthermore, some organisations offer IVA services but because they donít specialise in them, they may not actually be the best people to take advice from.
What You Should Check For When Looking For IVA Advice
That the IVA advice youíre being offered is impartial
IVA Advice should take into account the perspectives of both the debtor and the creditors.
IVA advice should be compliant with appropriate licensing and regulation
Advisors should have IVA and debt management experience
All IVA advice and supervision processes and systems should be defined and governed by experienced professionals.
Mike Curry runs a free IVA advice line called Clear Start, to help people facing serious debt to regain control of their financial situation. For further information please visit http://www.clearstart.org or telephone freephone 0800 138 5445.