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 dateof your bankruptcy order:
Attend a briefing at the Official Assignee's office on your duties and responsibilities as a bankrupt.
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.
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 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:
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.
The court may appoint a private trustee to manage a bankrupt's financial affairs in either of these scenarios:
If the creditor is an institutional creditor. This includes banks, finance companies regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, or companies with an annual sales turnover of more than $100 million and more than 200 employees.
If the creditor who filed the application requests for a private trustee.
If you wish to object to the appointment of the private trustee, you will need to raise your objections to the court and explain your reasons for objecting.
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.