The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) : 2019-11-18

OPINION : 74 : 10

OPINION

10 news THE PRESS AND JOURNAL November 2019 Brought to you by Meston Reid & Co Netting best Seek advice for financial affairs W option, the good news is that one’s principal dwelling is exempt from attack, but the downside is likely to mean a longer period of regular contributi­ons from income compared to either sequestrat­ion or a trust deed. The important point to note about a DAS is that all debts require to be settled in full (the DAS system will freeze interest and ongoing penalties). Clearly, the potential to settle all creditors over a period of up to, say, ten years, depends upon the contributi­on level from income i.e. an unemployed person will not be suited to a DAS. Thus, as one might expect, a full assessment of income and expenditur­e is undertaken in order to determine what is left at the end of the month and, in this regard, the Common Financial Tool “CFT” is used across Scotland in order to be fair and reasonable to all Scots. The CFT has numerous expenditur­e categories because the State recognises that we all have different lifestyles. If you elect to present a sequestrat­ion applicatio­n to the State, an award is not granted until you agree the level of contributi­on which, by law, will be for a minimum period of four years. This contrasts slightly with signing a trust deed because that process tends to permit a more variable contributi­on level/period. As has been noted earlier in this article, each case must be taken on its merits and proper advice taken in order that the full impact of a decision is known/understood. The process is complex and quite a lot of documentat­ion is provided to each person receiving advice in order that it can be demonstrat­ed that the full range of options has been tabled. As ever in situations of personal financial difficulty, individual or businessre­lated, it is rarely too early to seek expert advice which will be provided on a confidenti­al basis. Most Accredited Money Advisors, including Meston Reid & Co, provide the first consultati­on free of charge. For most people who are feeling worried and stressed about their financial affairs and are not sure who to turn to in their hour of need, there is little to lose from an initial chat. The views in this article are those of Michael J M Reid, licensed insolvency practition­er and partner of Meston Reid & Co, chartered accountant­s, Aberdeen. They do not purport to represent those of the firm in general. hether self employed, working for a company or currently unemployed, there are many reasons why you might find it necessary to seek advice regarding your personal financial affairs e.g. divorce, economic recession, financial mismanagem­ent, unexpected drop in a source of income, or loss of an asset. In reality, the vast majority of people want to pay what they owe to their creditors and, whilst a perfectly laudable and natural intention, if there is simply not enough cash available to deal with the situation, considerat­ion may have to be given to regularisi­ng matters by means of sequestrat­ion (the Scottish term for bankruptcy), a trust deed or using the Debt Arrangemen­t Scheme “DAS”. There are a variety of methods, formal and informal, for dealing with debts when they become unmanageab­le and proper advice is required. Typically, the advice process will begin with either a meeting or telephone conversati­on with an Approved Money Advisor who will seek to allay the initial anxiety, listen carefully, not be judgementa­l, and then explain the various options so that an informed decision can be taken. At a time such as this, it is often useful for the person receiving the advice to be accompanie­d by someone who can “clear the mist of a clouded mind” by helping to read and understand correspond­ence, take notes or simply provide emotional support : rather like visiting a doctor when bad news is anticipate­d. Michael J M Reid, licensed insolvency practition­er and partner of Meston Reid & Co. ■ A key reason for explaining the options is that each case is different and, for example, someone owning a house is likely to focus upon what might happen to such house, whereas someone in rented accommodat­ion may well be more interested in the effect on other assets, particular­ly if he/she runs a business. Experience suggests that the house is often the most important considerat­ion. In this regard, the advisor will want to know an approximat­e value and the level of secured indebtedne­ss (there may be one or two lenders), together with the title position. If there is equity in the house and the person wishes to remain in the house, a plan will be required about how best to retain it. Guidance from the accountant in bankruptcy (the State office that oversees formal personal financial solutions in Scotland) is to deal with the house as early as possible because the purpose of the exercise is not to become involved in property speculatio­n but to provide a financial return to creditors. If a DAS is the appropriat­e Seafood processors: spoke to the sector’s leading spokesman, Jimmy Buchan, to find out the big issues of the day Keith Findlay C elebrity skipper Jimmy Buchan may have sold his boat but he is still at the heart of the fishing industry in his role as chief executive of the Scottish Seafood Associatio­n (SSA). The Trawlermen star is also still running his Amity Fish Company, which supplies restaurant­s and foodservic­e firms with a wide range of seafood harvested from the North Sea, and his Skipper’s Choice mail order business. The 59-year-old north-east loon has decades of experience in the catching and processing sectors, allowing him to see potential opportunit­ies and problems from different angles. And while those going to sea for a living have had plenty of headines in the Brexit debate about fishing, Mr Buchan has worked hard to highlight the challenges facing processors. Who better then to speak to about this key part of the chain of getting top quality Scottish seafood from sea to plate, whether it is destined for dinner tables in Tobermory or Tokyo, Kirkcaldy or Kentucky? Scotland’s seafood processing sector directly supports more than 8,300 jobs at 150 sites around the country. It relies heavily on migrant workers to do the messy gutting and filleting that UK citizens don’t find appealing. Despite UK Government assurances, there is still considerab­le uncertaint­y and anxiety among many Count on us ™ Corporate Restructur­ing & Insolvency Specialist­s www.scotdebt.net 12 Carden Place, Aberdeen AB10 1UR 01224 625554 T/