Firstly, my situation - I emmigrated from UK for US in late 2007, and have no intention to move back for at least the next 10 years. However, I left behind me about 20k in UK debt, spread across a number of CCs, an overdraft, and an unsecured personal loan, with the overdraft keeping the CCs alive with minimum payments, along with the loan repayments. Due to initally limited funds over here, I've also had to hit the UK CCs to cover various living costs, but always with the intention that once I was settled I'd start sending money back home. However, my US finances never really improved to the point where I've got much to spare, so I've not been able to send anything back to the UK, and it's finally got to the point where the spiral has collapsed, as my overdraft has hit its limit (from paying CCs minimums & the loan) and my CCs are maxed (mostly due to compounded interest & fees, rather than purchases), to the tune of about 35k now. The missed payment letters have only just started in the last couple of weeks, so I'm looking for advice now before things get too messy or out of hand.
Since I briefly lived with my parents before emmigrating, my last known UK address of is theirs, and they are still receiving all of my post on my behalf (forwarding via email only). Nothing is being sent directly to US, so apart from my recent purchase history, the creditors don't yet know I've left the country, and don't have any contact details for me here.
Therefore, my questions are:
- Can my UK debt just be ignored? Since I'm not going to go back any time soon, the damage to my UK credit history isn't a concern to me. However, I'm not sure to what lengths they'll go to try to recover, whether it'll just be to sell the debt to collection agencies and/or take legal action.
- Is it worth attempting an IVA, even though I'd only be able to make token payments (especially after international transfer fees & conversion rates)?
- Will my creditors (or the DCAs) try to make me bankrupt in UK? Can they do this without confirming that I've received any of their notices (since they only know of my parents' address), or can CCJs be passed in absentia?
- Alternatively, would it be wise to pre-empt all this and just file for UK bankruptcy myself? Also, would I have to do that in person, or can it be done via proxy? I'd like to avoid having to take time off work & pay for flights etc if at all possible, since money is still fairly tight here.
- Since my last known address is that of my parents, will it be possible to prevent DCAs from harrassing them? In addition, would DCAs or bailiffs try to seize anything belonging to my parents, due to the shared address? Obviously, I want to minimise any problems for them, and keep them out of this as much as possible.
And just to make matters more complicated, I'm currently in the process of buying a house in the US (due to a much-needed godsend of a situation where I don't need a down-payment) , so my next questions are:
- If my best course of action is to file for UK bankruptcy, should I do so before making the US house purchase, or does it not matter?
- Would my US assets &/or income have to be listed on UK bankruptcy filings? Or do only UK assets &/or income (of which I have neither) be counted?
- Can UK debtors affect my US finances, or make any claim to the house? I've read elsewhere on these forums where UK debts have been sold overseas and caused hassles, and the last thing I want is to potentially lose my house here due to my old UK debts.
Answers to any of the above (or pointers to other threads/sites that are relevant) would be really appreciated...
Somewhere in the USA