15 Frequently Asked Questions On Bankruptcy In Singapore

In Singapore, bankruptcy is usually considered a last resort option. You should only file for bankruptcy after careful consideration of your options.

If it is the best way to deal with your financial problems, filing for bankruptcy may be for you. This article cannot explain every aspect of the bankruptcy process.

If you still have questions after reading it, you should speak with our bankruptcy lawyers.

1. If my spouse is the guarantor of my debt, should he/she apply to make himself/herself bankrupt as well?

If your spouse is able to fulfil his/her obligations as your guarantor, it is unlikely that your spouse will be required to make such an application. This is because Singapore court will not grant a bankruptcy order unless it is satisfied that the debtor is unable to pay his/her debts. This also applies to creditor’s bankruptcy applications. 

2. If I file a Debtor’s Bankruptcy Application to make myself bankrupt, should I inform all my creditors about my application?

There is no requirement in law for you to do so. 

3. Will the execution of a writ of seizure and sale against me be stopped if I file an application to make myself bankrupt?

No, the application will not stay or stop the execution of a writ of seizure and sale. 

4. Can I still execute the Writ of Summons against my debtor after he is made a bankrupt?

No. What you can do is file a proof of debt against them. At this point, all their affairs are administered by the OA.

5. I have made an alternative proposal for payment to my creditor, but I have not heard from my creditor or its lawyers. Do I need to attend the bankruptcy hearing?

Yes. You should attend the hearing and inform the court that you have attempted to contact your creditor and its lawyers but did not receive any response.

Your creditor’s lawyers will inform the court whether your proposal will be accepted, and if so, its lawyers will either apply for an adjournment o monitor your payments, or withdraw the bankruptcy application against you.

If your creditor does not accept the proposal, the court may adjourn the hearing to give you more time to make an alternative proposal, or the court may make a bankruptcy order against you.

6. What will happen if I do not attend the bankruptcy hearing in Court?

If you have filed a debtor’s application and do not attend the bankruptcy hearing, the application may be adjourned to a later hearing date or dismissed by the court. 

If a creditor has applied to make you bankrupt and you do not attend the hearing, a bankruptcy order may be made against you in your absence.

7. A bankruptcy order has been made against me. I was not aware of the bankruptcy proceedings against me. How do I set the bankruptcy order aside?

To set aside the bankruptcy order, you will need to file a Summons (Bankruptcy) and an Affidavit (Bankruptcy). After filing, you have to serve the documents on your creditor and the Official Assignee.

At the hearing, the court will determine the merits of your application to set aside the bankruptcy order.

8. Will divorce save me from my spouse’s creditors?

The only advantage of getting a divorce is to determine the amount of matrimonial assets your spouse would get. With a divorce, unless you are a guarantor for your spouse’s debts, creditors will not come after you.

However, it is recommended that you not leave your savings in any joint account as a bank may deduct money from the joint account to satisfy part or all of the debt.

If it is a credit line, overdraft facility or credit card account, both of you are jointly and individually liable for the credit spent. You are advised to withdraw your name from the account, and pay off the debt in full and close the account to stop further action against you. 

9. How do I protect my assets if my spouse is declared bankrupt?

Your spouse’s creditors only have claims over money that is held in your spouse’s name, whether solely or jointly with any other person.

Unless you or your children acted as guarantors for your spouse’s debts or are co-borrowers, your spouse’s creditors cannot touch your money or assets.

However, with regard to non-essential items in your home, if your spouse’s creditors have obtained a writ of seizure and sale against such items, you must prove that you alone paid for these items in order to prevent the creditors from auctioning off the items.

10. Will my family be liable for my debts? E.g. a child being liable to the debts of his father?

Creditors may make the family members of a bankrupt liable only if the family members are co-borrowers on a mortgage loan, an unsecured line of credit or under a hire-purchase agreement.

Family members may also be made liable if they acted as guarantors for the bankrupt’s debts. 

11. Will any proceeds from a sale of property go to the bankrupt? 

After full payment has been made to a bankrupt’s creditors, the bankrupt shall be entitled to any surplus. However, proceeds from the sale of investments made prior to bankruptcy using CPF monies will be credited into the bankrupt’s CPF Investment Account or Special Account. 

12. Can I trade in shares?

A bankrupt is allowed to sell previously owned shares but he is not allowed to purchase any new shares.

13. A bankrupt borrows from me without informing that they are an undischarged bankrupt. What can I do?

Write to the OA office for their investigation. 

14. What if the debtor is unhappy with the payment plan under the Debt Repayment Scheme?

The debtor who is unhappy with the plan or any modification made to it may file an appeal with the Appeal Panel. The notice of appeal must be filed no later than 14 days as of the OA’s notice of the approved scheme.

15. What if the debtor’s personal circumstances change after the commencement of the payment plan?

The debtor must inform the OA of any change in his personal circumstances, particularly where the change may affect his ability to comply with the terms of the Plan. The OA may then consider modifying the plan. 

Conclusion – How We Can Help

If you have further questions that are not answered by the above, and are facing problems in relation to bankruptcy whether as a debtor or creditor, please contact our lawyers and we will have a fruitful consultation on your issues and your available options. 

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How To Avoid Bankruptcy In Singapore

Being declared bankrupt is hitting rock bottom for most people. The stigma and restrictions that come with being declared bankrupt can be extremely disruptive to your everyday life and even with gainful employment, recovery can be very difficult. Therefore, avoiding bankruptcy in the first place is the best option.

What Are Your Options?

What is important to bear in mind is that avoiding bankruptcy essentially means taking actions to prevent a bankruptcy application from being taken out against you by your creditors.

To this end, you must not ignore your creditors’ Letters of Demand, Statutory demands or Writs of summons from Court. This is because if you refuse to respond or decline to accept service of their documents, you may be presumed to be unable to pay your debts, and be made a bankrupt on that basis.

Therefore, the key question is how you may prevent creditors from making the application in the first place. The following are a few options you may consider.

Debt Repayment Scheme (“DRS”)

If what you owe is not more than $100,000, you may be referred to the Official Assignee (“OA“) to assess if you are eligible and suitable to enter into the DRS.

The DRS is an attractive option as it prevents creditors from proceeding or commencing legal actions against you without the leave of the court from the date the DRS commences to the date that the DRS ceases.

Furthermore, your debts will be repaid according to your repayment schedule over a fixed period of time, which will leave you with some measure to exercise control over your finances from the grant of the DRS since creditors will no longer be able to hound you for their whole amounts.

Lastly, you will not be under the same restrictions that bankrupts face.

Private Arrangements

You may enter into private arrangements with your creditors. This is in effect a binding contract and/or a settlement agreement between parties. However, you should be aware that should you not comply with the private arrangement, this will also be grounds for creditors to commence bankruptcy proceedings against you. The creditor may be also able to claim more than previously if it is able to prove that the amount owed by you has increased due to the breach of the private arrangement.

However, the advantage of private arrangements is that the parties remain fully in control of the repayment process. The terms and conditions of the repayment are a matter of negotiation between parties.

Therefore, you can enter into a private arrangement with creditors to pay debts by instalments, at an agreed upon amount and time. Further, it is also possible to reschedule payments or being granted an extension of time to liquidate assets or seek other financial sources to repay debts.

It is recommended that you be truthful and honest with your creditors on your financial position at this stage. This prevents creditors from issuing statutory demands due to a lack of clarity on when they may expect repayment, which will force you to respond as ignoring or non-payment of the statutory demand constitutes grounds for the creditors to make a bankruptcy application against you.

Voluntary Arrangement

You may also apply to court for an interim order for a Voluntary Arrangement (VA) under Part V of the Bankruptcy Act (“BA“). Essentially, a VA is a formal arrangement between you and your creditors to repay the debt. However, you must be supervised by a nominee. The nominee specified must be a:

Registered public account; or
A lawyer; or
A person gazetted by the Minister.

A VA comes with significant advantages as opposed to bankruptcy. Firstly, if you can show that you intend to make a proposal for a VA, you will be able to apply for an interim order. The function of the interim order is to suspend any action or legal proceeding already pending against you, and prevent any action or legal proceeding from being initiated against you. Secondly, the VA does not impose restrictions on you that a bankruptcy order would.

However, after the interim order is granted by the court, you must work with your nominee and disclose all assets and liabilities and make a proposal on how you intend to repay your debts to your creditors. Otherwise, the interim order may be discharged.

After your proposal is made, your nominee will prepare his report and summon a creditors’ meeting for the purpose of approving the proposal. If the VA is accepted by the creditors during the creditors’ meeting, the VA will be successfully implemented and you and all creditors who were entitled to vote at the meeting will be bound by the terms of the VA.

However, please be aware that if you do not comply with the terms of the VA, any creditor bound by the VA may make a bankruptcy application against you.

How We Can Help?

As can be seen from the above, the best methods to avoid bankruptcy is to get in contact with your creditors and negotiate with them to stop them from serving a statutory demand or an official document demanding payment.

If they do so, that will constitute grounds for them to commence bankruptcy proceedings against you. If you wish to avoid bankruptcy and require representation to work out solutions with your creditors, please contact us and we will have a fruitful consultation with you on your available options.

The information contained on this website contains general information about our lawyers, firm and procedures and is not intended to constitute legal advice.

Any person viewing or receiving information from this Website should not act or refrain from acting, on the basis of any such information without first seeking appropriate legal advice.

Please consult a lawyer for specific review of your case and advise. You can Click on the link provided.

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Covid-19 In Singapore: What You Need To Know About Your Legal Rights

With the ever-increasing number of cases of COVID-19 in Singapore, the government has taken great steps to increase social distancing. On 3 April 2020, the Government announced Circuit Breaker Measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus. On 7 April 2020 the Government announced further measures to enhance social distancing during the Circuit Breaker Measures from 8 April 2020 to 4 May 2020.

Social Distancing, Essential Services, Control Order – What does all that mean to me?

Under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act and the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures ) (Control Order) Regulations 2020, the government has outlined that you should stay at home as much as possible until 4 May 2020.

You are allowed to go out but only if you need to do the following and anything that is connected with them:

(1) to work for or with an essential service provider, a specified school or an early childhood development centre;

(2) to procure any goods or services from an essential service provider or a specified school;

(3) to obtain — (i) medical treatment for a suspected Covid-19 infection at a hospital; medical clinic or any other place, designated by the Director for the treatment of Covid-19; or (ii) medical treatment that is of a pressing nature

(4) to engage in any recreational activity in an open-air stadium, public path or public park alone or with any other individual who lives with you;

(5) where an individual works for or with an essential service provider, to bring the individual’s child or children to a place where the child or children are to be cared for;

(6) to assist any individual who has a physical or mental disability, or is below 12 years of age or above 60 years of age, with his or her daily needs;

(7) to report for enlistment or service under the Enlistment Act;

(8) to report to any law enforcement officer or to attend at any court in accordance with any warrant, summons or order made under any written law or order of a court;

(9) to be present at any place in accordance with a requirement under any written law; 

(10) to seek or render help in an emergency;

(11) to move to another place of accommodation; and

(12) to leave Singapore.

Things that you should note:

Under the regulations you are no longer allowed to have any gatherings, in private or public with individuals who are not living in the same household. This means you are no longer allowed to meet with anybody who is not staying in the same house as you.

What about immediate family members, can I visit them?

The simple answer is no, unless you are assisting family members who are below 12 years old or above 60 years old and or those suffering from physical or mental disabilities with their daily needs.

Since I am allowed to exercise, can I exercise together with my family/friends who stay nearby? I mean we always go to the same park, PCN or stadium, I might bump into them there.

Again the answer is no. Individuals are encouraged to limit their social contact to members within the same household. Whilst you may encounter people you know within the vicinity of your home whilst you are out, you should maintain the required social distancing measures such as maintaining a distance of 1m from them.

Can I go to the market/supermarket every day?

Whilst the regulations does not restrict you from leaving your homes to buy essential items such as food every day, you are not encouraged to do so. Each household should try to go to the market once a week to limit the crowds at the market.

Keep in mind that the objective of these enhanced Circuit Breaker Measure is to reduce significant movements and interactions in public and private places so that we can slow down and halt the increasing local transmission of Covid-19 cases.

During the upcoming long weekend, is it advisable that I take my family out?

Most public parks remain open for you to go to, keep in mind the objective of the measures that have been put in place. Visit a park near you to minimise the amount of travelling time. Please remember to check safedistparks.nparks.gov.sg so that you can access how crowded the parks are before making your way there. Keep in mind that NParks will be closely monitoring the visitorship of popular parks and may close them temporarily so that safe distancing can be observed.

Punishments under the regulations:
  1. first time offenders who are found breaching these regulations, an enforcement officer will take down his or her particulars and issue a written stern warning;
  2. Subsequent offences will result in a composition fine or prosecution. The police may also be contacted for follow-up action;

iii. If convicted, first-time offenders can face a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment of up to six months, or both. Second-time offenders can be fined up to $20,000, jailed up to 12 months, or face both penalties.

Is the Government really going to enforce this? 

Yes, indication from media reports suggest that the government is taking this matter very seriously. In the first two days of after the enhanced circuit breaker measures were put in place 10,000 advisories were issued against individuals for flouting the regulations.

Covid-19 and the law; What legal matters can still go on?


In light of the circuit breaker measures announced by the Prime Minister and the Multi Ministry Taskforce, the Honourable Chief Justice has also directed the Supreme Court, State Courts and Family Justice Courts only hear essential and urgent matters during the period from 7 April to 4 May where circuit breaker measures are in place.

Other than these essential and urgent matters, most matters will be adjourned to a date to be fixed:-

Criminal Matters
  1. A Magistrate’s Appeal involving an appellant whose sentence of imprisonment would be completed within or shortly after the circuit breaker period.
  1. A Magistrate’s Appeal involving a sentence of caning where the accused person is approaching 50 years of age.
  2. An application for an order for review of detention.
  3. An application concerning bail or review of bail.
  4. An application for stay of judicial execution.
  5. The production of an arrested person in court within 48 hours.
  6. Applications for the remand of an accused.
  7. Hearings before a Magistrate for assessment of suitability of bailors and application for further detention orders under the Immigration Act.
  8. Pre-Trial-Conferences, Trials and Plead Guilty Mentions concerning remanded accused persons which need to be expedited in the interests of justice (this will be determined by the Court on a case-by-case basis)
Civil Matters

An application for urgent injunction or search order or an application to set aside an injunction or search order. 

Matters relating to the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act 2019.

Matters relating to the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act or the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act.

An application for urgent judicial review in relation to implementation of COVID-19 measures.

Matters relating to the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act.

Matters relating to the Protection from Harassment Act, if there are issues of personal safety involved.

Extension of time for insolvency and restructuring matters.

Applications for interim payments in personal injury cases or in cases where payment is urgently needed.

An application for a stay of execution of a civil judgment.

Family Matters
  1. Urgent matters under the Probate and adoption matters under the Mental Capacity Act such as applications for access to emergency fund.
  2. Child abduction cases where urgent orders are required.
  3. Youth arrest cases where the subject is in remand and would be prejudiced as a result of an adjournment.
  4. Child Protection cases where the safety of the child is at risk.
  5. Beyond Parental Control cases where the youth is in remand.
  6. Family violence proceedings where the matter involves a higher risk of imminent danger.
  7. Maintenance proceedings where urgent hearing is necessary due to the immediate financial needs on the part of the applicant and/or his/her dependents.

All other matters scheduled for hearing during the circuit breaker period which the Court has not assessed to be essential and urgent will be adjourned to such date and will notify the parties. However, should a party still wish for their matter to be heard with the Relevant Period, they must make a request to the Court. Parties should not make a request if the hearing is not essential or urgent merely because it is convenient.

The information contained on this website contains general information about our lawyers, firm and procedures and is not intended to constitute legal advice.

Any person viewing or receiving information from this Website should not act or refrain from acting, on the basis of any such information without first seeking appropriate legal advice.

Please consult a lawyer for specific review of your case and advise. You can Click on the link provided.


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