Now that the envelopes are open, you can decide how you’re going to proceed.

If, for example, someone says you owe them money, you’ll need to decide whether they’re right or whether you have a dispute.

But even simple debt matters can be tricky. For example, the bill may include charges for late payment or for services and/or works you aren’t liable for.

It’s worth trying to get independent legal advice. Debt in particular is an emotional subject because it can trigger a fear of financial insecurity. Without a legally qualified dispassionate steer, it’s easy to think that a feeling of “unfairness” means you don’t have to pay – or, on the other hand, that you’re legally liable for everything anyone claims.

And it’s always better to get advice and then proceed – than to proceed and then take advice. But it’s always good to get advice.

It may be that its gone past the bill stage – and you’ve received a claim form or judgment in the post.

If you’ve received a claim form or judgment, you’ll need to consider your options (if any) and decide how to proceed quickly – as there will be time-limits you need to comply with.

Despite cuts, many local Citizens Advice Bureaux have survived. The Toynbee Hall’s “Capitalise” project also offers free, face to face, specialist debt advice.

Last, but not least, there is Adviceguide from Citizens Advice. It’s an absolutely brilliant online legal resource which freely steers non-lawyers in the right direction.