IF you're really struggling with your monthly unsecured debt payments - and you can't see a way to repay your debt in full in a realistic amount of time - you might need to consider insolvency. If you did, you wouldn't be alone.

Insolvency statistics for the first quarter of 2012 show that there were 28,723 individual insolvencies in England and Wales: bankruptcies, IVAs (Individual Voluntary Arrangements) and DROs (Debt Relief Orders).

This might sound like a lot, but it was actually a decrease of 4.7% from the same time a year ago. Those 28,723 insolvencies included 9,132 bankruptcies. Bankruptcies were down a significant amount - 27.2% - from the same time last year. DROs (Debt Relief Orders) and IVAs had increased by 16.3% (there were 7,897) and 8.1% (there were 11,694) respectively.

In Scotland, individual insolvencies had increased more than in England and Wales over the past year - 4,856 cases meant an increase of 13.6%. Bankruptcy numbers had fallen in Scotland too, by 3.3% to 2,609.

Protected Trust Deeds - which are similar in many ways to IVAs in England and Wales - experienced a significant increase of 42.7%, however, to 2,247.

An expert from Wilson Andrews - who wrote this article - underlined the benefits of IVAs and Trust Deeds, despite the impact any form of insolvency would have on an individual's credit rating.

For example, both an IVA and a Trust Deed can reduce borrowers' monthly unsecured debt repayments to a level they can afford, and after a certain amount of time (typically 5 years for an IVA and 3 for a Trust Deed), the remaining unsecured debt included in the agreement will be written off (as long as everything has gone to plan).

And though both of these solutions can require homeowners to release equity in their home, this is often seen as preferable to bankruptcy - where the property could be sold altogether.

If you're struggling with debt, it's important to explore all of your options before committing yourself to a particular path. You might find that bankruptcy, an IVA or a Trust Deed could help you clear your unmanageable unsecured debts - but a different debt solution might be better, helping you avoid insolvency altogether.

This article was supplied on behalf of Wilson Andrews