Choosing an individual voluntary arrangement provider
An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) is a formal and legally-binding agreement between you and your creditors to pay back your debts over a period of time.
An IVA has to be set up by an insolvency practitioner who is usually a qualified solicitor or accountant.
Check if an IVA right for you
Before you start, make sure an IVA is the right debt solution for you. What’s right for you will depend on:
- your personal circumstances
- what debts you have
- your available income
You can check if an IVA is right for you.
How to set up an IVA
You can’t set up an IVA by yourself. You will need to find an insolvency practitioner to take an IVA proposal to your creditors on your behalf. Insolvency practitioners are usually qualified solicitors or accountants.
Finding an insolvency practitioner
You can find an authorised insolvency practitioner on GOV.UK. Alternatively, you can contact your local Official Receiver's office. You can find the contact details for your local Official Receiver on GOV.UK.
Costs and fees
To compare costs and get the best deal, it's a good idea to contact a few insolvency practitioners and ask them for an estimate of how much it will cost to set up and manage an IVA for you. Look out for insolvency practitioners who offer an introductory meeting for free or at a reduced rate, to talk through whether an IVA is suitable for you.
You can find out more about IVA costs.
Meeting with your insolvency practitioner
Before the IVA is set up, you may have an informal meeting with your insolvency practitioner to discuss whether an IVA is right for you. Meetings may take place over the phone or at the insolvency practitioner's office. If you decide to go ahead, you’ll have another meeting in which you will begin the formal process of setting up the IVA.
The insolvency practitioner should explain all options available to you before you commit to an IVA. They should also make sure you read and understand the leaflet ‘Dealing With Money Worries’. You can also read the Dealing With Money Worries leaflet on the R3 website.
Using a debt management company
You do not need to use a debt management company to get an IVA set up. If you are thinking about using one, check what service they offer at the start. Some companies will charge you a fee just for referring you to an insolvency practitioner, when you could go directly to one yourself.
If you do decide to use a debt management company, look for one that doesn't charge extra fees on top of the insolvency practitioner's fees.
There have been some cases where debt management companies have advised people to get an IVA, when this has not been the best solution for them. Make sure you check your debt solution options - you can always get help from an adviser.