An RESP is set up usually by a parent or other family member by way of a contract with an institution (the scholarship fund) for the benefit of their child. The standard wording in the contract results in the RESP being considered an asset of the parent or other person that is divisible among their creditors in the bankruptcy. If you are in this situation, speak to your Licensed Insolvency Trustee about buying the RESP back from the bankruptcy so that it can continue to be of benefit to your child when he or she starts their post-secondary level of education. The purchase price and terms of payment can be negotiated but generally start at the dollar amount that the trustee would get if the RESP plan was collapsed. The usual payment terms are that you must pay the settlement amount for the RESP before you are discharged.
Please see related article – Will I Lose my RESP in a Consumer Proposal?
The most recent Statistics Canada Report covering the period 1999-2012 inclusive show that
family debt increased by 4% but the seniors debt (over 55 years old) increased by 16%. People generally are taking on more debt. We now owe $1.60 for every $1.00 we make. In 2013, 69,000 people filed for bankruptcy. Seniors currently make up one-third (and growing) of our population. So why are such a large amount of bankruptcies being filed by seniors? The answer is that their income (pensions from work, RRSP, Canada Pension, Old Age Security, etc.) do not keep up with inflation. The cost of housing, food, automobiles, demands from children and the ever increasing health costs are all rising faster than the available income to pay these expenses. The seniors turn to their homes for a home equity line of credit or a reverse mortgage or they use their credit cards to finance their day-to-day standard of living. They get the credit because their income is stable and seniors have lived their life being taught to “pay your debts.” What they must do before they exhaust all of their options is to sit down with a financial advisor, prepare a realistic budget and make whatever adjustments to their standard of living that are needed to have a long and financial stable life.
What is debt exclusion from bankruptcy? A bankruptcy or proposal will get rid of most of your debts, but not necessary all of them. This is because certain debts are secured to your assets. The most common being a mortgage on your home or a loan on your car. If you want to keep the house or car, you must continue to pay the debt secured to the asset. In addition, other debts listed in Section 178 of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act specifically exclude certain debts from being included in bankruptcy as a matter of public policy.
These debts include spousal support, child support, debts originating in fraud, debts incurred while acting in a fiduciary capacity. These also include debts resulting from an assault, fines and penalties awarded by a court (income tax, traffic and criminal). Finally, student loans are not included in your bankruptcy unless you have not been a student for seven years. However, in cases of severe hardship, a court can reduce the seven year limit to five years.
There is nothing that prevents you from buying a car while you are bankrupt. If you are financing the purchase of a car, you must disclose that you are an undischarged bankrupt. This is the period between the date you filed the assignment in bankruptcy and the date that you are discharge from the bankruptcy process.
Even if you do not disclose this, the company financing the car will find out when they get a credit report on you. Now you have lost credibility which may result in a higher interest rate due to the risk factor or they will cut back on the amount they are willing to loan you. You might have to settle for a less expensive car that does not require a lot of financing. In Ontario, a vehicle is exempt up to a value of $6,600. If the vehicle is required as a “Tool of Trade”, the required exemption is increased to $11,300.
It would be wise to discuss your budget with your Licensed Insolvency Trustee (LIT) at the start of your bankruptcy as the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (Directive 11 R2) may result in you having to pay part of your income to your creditors. If someone in your family is giving you the money for the car, they should register a lien on the car for the amount of the money that they are giving you. This will make sure there is no equity that will accrue to your creditors. In the same thought, someone may give you a car while you are bankrupt in order to help you. You do not want your trustee to consider this as an asset for your creditors.
Consider the options:
1. Lease the car in their name and add your name to the insurance. Consider increasing the insurance to give the family members maximum protection.
2. If the vehicle is transferred into your name, the donor could put a lien on it for the value of the car.
There are always options for you to consider. Please discuss them with your trustee.