Can I Travel Overseas If I’m Bankrupt?
It is not uncommon for us to receive queries about travelling abroad and about the rules of engagement when international travel is required by the insolvent party. We always help guide all our clients on all the acceptable and preferably avoidable aspects that international travel could hold during a Bankruptcy process.
Yes, you may travel, but you must follow due process
We always stress to clients that there is no shame in declaring yourself Bankrupt or land up in a Bankruptcy process. Often clients will ask if they will be permitted to travel abroad whilst in the midst of their Bankruptcy process.
The answer is simple, yes you may. The only thing you would need to do is put the travel request to your appointed Trustee. It is also in your best interest to do so in writing or at least do a follow up email confirming any agreement about travel discussed with your Trustee.
Things to Be Careful of When Requesting to Travel Abroad
Bankruptcy is a legally mandated process and all parties must ensure that they follow due process throughout the entire endeavor. This will also include not creating enmity by means. Examples of travel related instances that may raise suspicion or discomfort between parties could include the following:
- Travel for leisure. Questions could be asked whether the insolvent party is completely honest about all the assets in possession to pay towards the liabilities that have fallen behind.
- Travel to foreign lands that could be seen as unusual destinations with no clear agenda. If you are traveling to an unusual destination, the Trustee and or other aggrieved parties will be raising a red flag with regards to the true intent of your travel. This is especially true when travelling to countries considered tax havens or keepers of so-called dirty money. It is in your best interest to stay clear of bringing any doubt into the process.
- Travel with the intent to take assets out of Australia. If you own property overseas and have bank accounts in your name, it might raise suspicion if you go there with no clear business or family related objective. It could be seen that you are trying to avoid paying your creditors.
- Travel for non-essential purposes. As much as you are encouraged to continue living a full life while the Trustee assists you in getting your financial affairs back to normality, you will be expected to live within reasonable means. Travelling abroad for things like birthdays, social engagements and weddings could be interpreted as wasteful expenditure. Kindly avoid leisure travel all together until the process has concluded.
- Travel during key court dates that pertain to the Bankruptcy. If there are court dates or any arbitration sessions scheduled for whatever reason, your attendance if required takes top priority. There will be little appetite to entertain any rescheduling of important appointments if your travel arrangements are not absolutely crucial.
Travel Related Journeys That Are Considered Favorably
The one thing we cannot stress enough with clients is for everyone to display an unwavering commitment to give their full cooperation. One commitment that stands out is to pay all debts owed so that you can be declared free from obligation.
If travel abroad means that you will be able to derive any economic benefit, it stands a greater chance of receiving support as it could possibly contribute to the alleviation of the debt burden that is not optimally honored.
Don’t Forget, The Trustee Is Allowed To Say No
Just remember, an appointed Trustee is there to work according to what the law states is expected protocol. The Trustee is therefor an objective outside party that is appointed to perform one function and that is to follow the law by processing a Bankruptcy process in the most effective way possible.
If the Trustee wishes for you to remain in the country for whatever reason, you would need to accommodate this as much as possible. Failure to do so could question your credibility as an insolvent party that is protected by the Bankruptcy Act.