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The number of pensioners going bankrupt has nearly doubled in the last five years, new research has shown.

Accountancy firm Wilkins Kennedy has reported nearly seven per cent of all those who have gone bankrupt this year have been retired, compared to three per cent in 2002.

Keith Stevens, insolvency partner at Wilkins Kennedy said: "More and more pensioners are going bankrupt as they struggle to repay debts when their pension is their sole source of income."

Many pensioners feel the stigma of bankruptcy and so fail to ask for help in time, he continued.

For those keen to avoid bankruptcy, one option is an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA). This can be better than an informal arrangement as the debtor applies through the court and the creditor is bound by the terms agreed.

IVAs mean the debtor has more say in what goes to repay credit and so can arrange to retain assets such as their home.

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