Trust Deed Scotland – why you can trust us

Trust Deed Scotland is a not-for-profit organisation. We give free and impartial advice on trust deeds, and have helped more than 15,000 people in Scotland enter trust deed agreements.

We understand that being in debt can be scary and financial jargon can be confusing. The good news is that trust deeds (legally backed formal arrangements for affordable debt payments) are easy to understand and apply for − if you get expert advice.

This page explains all you need to know about how trust deeds work and how to apply for one. If you have any questions, contact Trust Deed Scotland by calling 0141 221 0999 or emailing enquiries@trustdeedscotland.net, or visit our office at 2 West Regent St, Glasgow G2 1RW for free and confidential advice.

Step 1: See if you qualify

Fill in our TRUST DEED CALCULATOR to see if you qualify for a trust deed. If you do, we’ll contact you to set up a meeting with one of our advisors to offer you free debt advice and look at your current situation.

Step 2: Speak with an advisor

When you first speak with an advisor, they’ll go through your details with you (e.g. your income, savings, any assets you own such as a house or car) to build an accurate account of your financial circumstances and why you’re struggling to pay your debt.

They’ll discuss all the financial options available to you to help you pay your debt, explaining each of their advantages and disadvantages. These options may include sequestration (the Scottish version of bankruptcy), but this is usually advised against if you have assets such as a house.

Another option that may be presented to you is a debt arrangement scheme (a government-endorsed initiative that lets you pay off your debt over an extended period), which would involve having to pay back the full debt amount. A third option is a trust deed, where you agree affordable monthly payments typically over four years.

Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, a trust deed will be noted on your credit rating for the time you’re on it, which can make getting new credit (such as a loan) more expensive.

Our advice is to not rush into anything. Our FCA-regulated advisors can let you know about all the available options to help you become debt-free – however, only you can make the final decision on what will suit you the best.

If you choose to enter a trust deed, your advisor will work with you to calculate an amount that you can afford to pay every month, and we’ll guide you through the process so that the insolvency practitioner can administer the trust deed. Only they can legally administer the trust deed, but we are always here for advice during the trust deed term and after you’ve completed it.

Generally speaking, you shouldn’t have to pay any more fees on top of your agreed monthly payments. The insolvency practitioner and the creditors who process and review your trust deed application will charge certain fees, but these will be included in your monthly payments, which will be agreed with you before you enter your trust deed.

In addition, as well as being affordable for you, your monthly payment amount has to be acceptable to the creditors for them to proceed with the trust deed.

The fees taken into account in your agreed monthly payments include:

  1. 1) A fixed administration fee
  2. 2) A fee based on how much debt you pay during your trust deed term

But remember these fees taken off are charged against the money you owe the creditors, so this will have to be agreed between you and the creditors at the start.

Step 3: Agree terms and sign your trust deed

Once you’ve chosen to go ahead with a trust deed, we’ll start drafting your case. Once this is done, we’ll arrange a final signing meeting where your advisor will go over all the paperwork with you and answer any questions you may have to make sure you’re 100% satisfied with the terms. If you are, you’ll sign off on the trust deed and your first payment will have to be made within four weeks once you’ve agreed the monthly payments.

The payment (which is the same each month) replaces all other monthly debt payments to your creditors.

Step 4: Get your trust deed protected

After you sign your trust deed, the next step is to get it approved by your creditors to protect it. Trust Deed Scotland currently has a 98% creditor acceptance rate. However, to ensure your expectations are managed from the start, your advisor will let you know what the chances are you will get accepted/rejected, based on their previous experience.

We’ll process your paperwork and then register your case on AIB (Accountant in Bankruptcy) where your creditors can access it. They usually have five weeks to accept or reject it – the decision will be relayed to you by the insolvency practitioner (your ‘trustee’), as creditors can’t directly contact anyone who has entered a trust deed.

This five-week period is known as the ‘protection period’. After it lapses, with no claim from your creditors, you’ll receive your protection letter from your trustee, making you aware that your trust deed has been fully approved and that you’re now in a protected trust deed agreement.

Getting your trust deed approved gives you legal protection from your creditors. As long as you stick to the terms of the trust deed, creditors can’t take further action to pursue the debt.

Step 5: Continue monthly payments

If you want to, you can make your first payment within the first four weeks, before your trust deed becomes protected. This can be set up between you and your advisor for a time of month that’s comfortable for you.

For example, if you’re paid salary at the end of each month, your advisor could arrange your trust deed payments to be scheduled for just after then.

Step 6: Be debt-free in four years

After your trust deed term is finished, any remaining debt will be written off, leaving you free of debt.

It usually takes four years, but this can be extended to allow you to make additional payments, which you will have agreed to before entering the trust deed. This can sometimes occur to allow you to pay off your debt using equity, which involves paying a larger amount over a longer period of time. Again, this will have been agreed with you at the start of your trust deed term depending on your level of debt.

What is a trust deed?

A trust deed is a legal agreement to help you get out of debt and manage your finances. You can use it to pay off unsecured debt, such as credit cards and loans. The trust deed scheme is only available to Scottish residents of more than six months who have unsecured debt of £5,000 or more.

Advantages of trust deeds

  • Your debt payments will be more affordable because they’ll be based on your disposable income. Your monthly debt payment will usually be significantly lower than if you’re making multiple payments each month to different creditors.
  • Interest on your existing debts will be frozen when your trust deed term starts.
  • After you’ve finished making the payments agreed under your trust deed, the rest of your debt will be written off. Creditors can’t demand that you pay them the rest of what you owe, but you need to stick to the agreed schedule for debt payments.
  • Unlike bankruptcy, if you own a home, it will be protected as long as you stay within the terms of your trust deed. However, you may have to agree to additional payments to protect your equity – your advisor will go over this with you before you enter your trust deed.
  • Disadvantages of trust deeds

    • A trust deed will harm your credit rating and stay on your credit record for six years. Banks and other loan providers check this record when deciding whether to give you a credit card or loan.
    • A reduction in your credit rating will make getting new credit harder and more expensive during and after the trust deed term.
    • A trust deed may not be an option with certain job types. To find out more about this, contact Trust Deed Scotland by calling 0141 221 0999 or emailing enquiries@trustdeedscotland.net, or check your employment contract for any information regarding this.

    To find out more about what a trust deed is, visit our Protected Trust Deeds page.

    Key points

    • If you’re struggling to pay debt, you should consider getting free advice from a qualified advisor.
    • A trust deed is a legal arrangement for Scottish residents of more than six months and is a formal Scottish legislation. Trust Deed Scotland has helped thousands of Scottish residents get their finances back on track.
    • A trust deed can take away the stress of juggling multiple unsecured debts (e.g. loans and credit cards) by combining them into a single, low monthly payment.
    • Trust deeds usually last four years, after which any remaining debt is written off if that’s been agreed with your advisor from the start.

    For more information on how to become debt-free, call us on 0141 221 0999 or email enquiries@trustdeedscotland.net.

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