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After a bankruptcy order

As the debtor, you will be declared a bankrupt if the court makes a bankruptcy order against you.

You will need to fulfil duties as a bankrupt. Examples include:

  • Producing documents of and delivering all of your property under your possession or control to a court-appointed trustee.
  • Attending before the court-appointed trustee (at a time and place fixed by the trustee) to answer questions with respect to your affairs, dealings, property and the causes of your bankruptcy.

Refer to Section 399(1) of the Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution Act (IRDA) for more information.

Find out more about the duties and restrictions as a bankrupt.

What the trustee will do

With effect from 1 November 2023, all bankruptcy cases are to be handled by private trustees in bankruptcy, save for those cases where the Official Assignee considers that there is public interest and consents to be appointed as the trustee in bankruptcy. The trustee can be the Official Assignee or a private trustee, depending on your case.

The trustee will:

  • Manage your financial affairs, for example by selling your assets and distribute the proceeds to your creditors to assist with your debt settlement.
  • Ensure you fulfil your duties as a bankrupt.
  • Assess your earning potential and the amount you need to support yourself and your family, to determine your:
    • Monthly contribution, which is the amount you should pay to the trustee every month.
    • Target contribution, which is the amount you need to pay to be considered for discharge (to get out from bankruptcy).

You will first need to submit to the trustee a Statement of Affairs, which describes your assets (what you own) and liabilities (what you owe). You must also provide other information about your employment, income and dependants truthfully.

You must file your Statement of Affairs and cooperate with the trustee. If you fail to do so, you may be convicted of an offence punishable by up to 2 years imprisonment, a fine up to $10,000, or both.

The trustee can also advise you on other matters such as:

  • Applying for permission to travel overseas.
  • Opening a bank account and other matters relating to bankruptcy administration.

What to do after a bankruptcy order

What happens after the bankruptcy order depends on who your assigned trustee is.

If the Official Assignee is your assigned trustee, you will need to complete the following within 21 days after the date of your bankruptcy order:

The Official Assignee will give further instructions on what you need to do. Find out more on the Ministry of Law's website.

If a private trustee in bankruptcy is appointed as your trustee, you must submit a Statement of Affairs within 21 days after the date of your bankruptcy order. Contact the private trustee for more information on submitting the Statement of Affairs.

If creditors take legal action against you

After you are declared a bankrupt, your creditors cannot start court proceedings against you to recover debts that you owed them before you were declared bankrupt.

You may wish to inform your creditors of your bankruptcy status if they send you a notice of court action or a letter of demand for payment of such debts, or approach you to ask you to repay such debts.

Refer to the Ministry of Law's website for more information.

Ways to get out of bankruptcy: annulment or discharge

There is no automatic way to be released from bankruptcy in Singapore. However, you may get out of bankruptcy in one of the following ways:

Annulment of the bankruptcy order

  • An annulment cancels the bankruptcy order, such that it appears as if the bankruptcy order was never made. After an annulment, you will continue to be liable for any debts that had not been proven against you when the bankruptcy was in force.
  • There are 2 ways to achieve annulment of a bankruptcy order:
    • Annulment by the court: The General Division of the High Court may annul a bankruptcy order according to Section 392 of the IRDA. Find out how to apply for annulment from the court.
    • Annulment by the Official Assignee: The Official Assignee may issue a certificate of annulment if it appears to the Official Assignee that the debts which have been proved and the expenses of the bankruptcy have all been paid since the making of bankruptcy order. Refer to Section 393 of the IRDA for more information.

Discharge from bankruptcy

  • Discharge means being released from bankruptcy. You will no longer be liable for debts that were provable in your bankruptcy, except for certain types of debts listed in Section 397 of the IRDA.
  • There are 2 ways to obtain a discharge (release) from bankruptcy:

Need help?

The information here is for general guidance as the courts do not provide legal advice. If you need further help, you may want to get independent legal advice.

Find out more


Related questions

Your assets will be vested in a court-appointed trustee, who will manage your financial affairs. You cannot sell or deal with any of your assets or items of value. The trustee will be responsible for doing so.

Assets include anything of value belonging to you either at the date of your bankruptcy, or obtained after that date. This includes gifts you receive.

There are certain types of assets that are protected from creditors, such as your Housing & Development Board (HDB) flat or Central Provident Fund (CPF) account funds. For more information, refer to the Ministry of Law's website.

Your bankruptcy order will contain information on the identity of the appointed trustee.

Both the Official Assignee and the private trustee have the same responsibilities. Private trustees are expected to act in good faith and are subject to an annual review by the Official Assignee.

All bankruptcy cases are to be handled by private trustees in bankruptcy with effect from 1 November 2023, except for cases where the Official Assignee considers that there is public interest and consents to be appointed as the trustee in bankruptcy.

A person applying to the court for bankruptcy, whether by a creditor against a debtor or by a debtor for himself or herself, is required to nominate a licensed insolvency practitioner to administer the bankruptcy case. The applicant must obtain the unqualified consent of a licensed insolvency practitioner stating that the licensed insolvency practitioner consents to act as the trustee of the bankrupt’s estate pursuant to section 318A(a) of the Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution Act 2018 before filing the bankruptcy application. The court hearing a bankruptcy application will not make a bankruptcy order on a bankruptcy application if neither a licensed insolvency practitioner nor the Official Assignee has consented to act as the trustee in bankruptcy. 

While your desire to delete such records is understandable, court records cannot be deleted due to the law. If you were granted a discharge from bankruptcy, this will be shown in the records.

Such court records are open to search by members of the public, except in some circumstances described in Rule 184(2) of the Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution (Personal Insolvency) Rules.

You may wish to speak to the relevant bank officers as each bank has its own policy regarding loan applications made by discharged bankrupts.

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