Florida Chapter 11 Bankruptcy: How to Avoid Filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in Florida
Florida Chapter 11 Bankruptcy: If you are a small Florida business that wants an alternative to filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy - please visit our website at: http://www.Business-Bankruptcy.com or call us toll-free at 866.876.5938.
Steering Clear Of Chapter 11 Business Bankruptcy Can Be Done Chapter 11 bankruptcy is also referred to as business reorganization. This gives businesses a little bit more time to repay debts. The business has to submit a reorganization plan to the bankruptcy court, get it accepted by a majority of the creditors and then execute it to perfection. If a business requires reorganization, and if its owner doesn’t want to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, then he can consider an out-of-court negotiation instead of business bankruptcy. Here’s what an out-of-court settlement entails:
1. An out-of-court deal can only work if the business is serious and the creditors are willing. Even a number of creditors can kill the negotiation if they aren’t participating.
2. Before contacting creditors, the business owner must first make a plan that shows how creditors will be repaid by using cash flow, new loans and issue of equity to interested parties. Therefore, the business owner has to make sure that the business is sustainable enough, and that it could generate cash flow, acquire loans to pay off existing debts, and also to attract further investment. The plan must be solid and should conclusively prove how the business will turn around and repay its debts. The business owner should seek the services of a reputed and experienced financial adviser to draft the plan.
3. One easy way to end the out-of-court deal is to find a replacement creditor. But, that could be hard if the owner is facing business bankruptcy in the first place. A replacement creditor comes with costs and strings attached, so every business owner must be cautious.
4. The next step is to employ an attorney who’s reputed and experienced in negotiating with creditors. A lawyer who represents business owners in Chapter 11 business bankruptcy cases should be skillful enough to deal with creditors.
5. The next step is the negotiation with creditors, which is the most difficult part. There are different types of creditors - priority, secured, semi-secured and unsecured. Every class of creditors has to be satisfied. The business owner must realize that any of the creditors can hit the panic button during the negotiations. Usually, the attorneys will negotiate with the secured creditors on a one-to-one basis and obtain forbearance agreements. The moment it is in place, it now becomes less difficult to negotiate with unsecured creditors. A meeting of unsecured creditors is called and facts are placed before them along with the restructuring plan. They are told of the effects of a Chapter 11 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The unsecured creditors are requested to lessen their debt and take a one time settlement, or allow more repayment time.
6. Both out-of-court settlement and Chapter 11 business bankruptcy can work. However, the greatest disadvantage to such deals is that these are not binding. In a Chapter 11 business bankruptcy, the court officially stops creditors from making collection attempts or filing lawsuits. No such protection come built into out-of-court agreements.
Thinking About Chapter 11 Business Bankruptcy - Knowing When Is The Appropriate Moment Chapter 11 business bankruptcy is also called as business reorganization. It involves filing a reorganization plan (along with specified financial documents) with a bankruptcy court. All creditors are called for a meeting by the court, and they have to vote on the reorganization plan presented, which must be approved by 3/4th majority. The company then starts executing the plan and after execution, the business emerges from the bankruptcy and becomes debt free.
Chapter 11 Business Bankruptcy Warning Signs:
- When the money that you have withheld for taxes is already being used. That money needs to be paid to government, however, if you already use it for business, it signifies that you are cash-strapped.
- When you cannot pay your vendors in time and keep stretching their payments over a prolonged period of time, or switching vendors because you are desperate for credit.
- When there is a critical situation affecting the business like death of a partner, or an embezzlement, or a natural disaster, etc.
- When you are often late or unable to repay secured debt installments.
- When you have one or two customers and those customers have announced business bankruptcy.
One of the greatest mistakes business owners make is to wait for better times and expect their creditors to listen to them. All creditors want their money and will stop at nothing to get it back. As soon as the warning signs show up, a business owner should appoint a Chapter 11 business bankruptcy attorney.
Hiring an attorney can aid the business explore options other than bankruptcy as well. For example, the attorney will first evaluate the situation and then recommend a debt restructuring exercise or a debt-for-equity swap. If the business owner does not hire an attorney, then he is simply digging a deeper hole for himself.
No business bankruptcy is easy. Child support, taxes, alimony, etc, which are classified as priority debts would have to be paid, and if the business owner's personal property has to be sold just to repay these, then it has to be done. The law is cruel when it comes to priority debts. So, if a business is having difficulties because of its priority debts, then a Chapter 11 business bankruptcy may not help - the business owner may have to opt for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is business liquidation.
After priority debts are satisfied, it is the turn of secured creditors, semi-secured creditors, and unsecured creditors, in that order. In a Chapter 11 business bankruptcy, majority of these creditors ought to agree with the reorganization plan. Once the plan is agreed upon, the business owner must carry it out to perfection. If he does not, the Chapter 11 process fails and creditors can take their own legal steps to get back their money.
Do you happen to be an owner of a small business being strangled by huge debts and limited cash flow? Are you unable to repay your priority, secured and other debts? Have you come to a point that you are using the money from withheld taxes for business? If so, here are some business bankruptcy FAQ's that can help you understand what’s involved:
1. What are the different types of business bankruptcies?
Sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs and corporations can file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Chapter 7, which is liquidation, involves non-exempt business assets being put up for sale, and the proceeds are then used to repay creditors. After the bankruptcy process is complete, the business would cease to exist. Chapter 11 is business reorganization. It allows businesses more time to be able to repay debts. Businesses that see no point in continuing operations may seek protection under Chapter 7, while viable businesses can choose Chapter 11 business bankruptcy.
2. What are the challenges of a business bankruptcy filing?
Sole proprietors have to file for bankruptcy in their individual name because the sole proprietorship business is an extension of the business owner. Partners run the risk of being sued by the case trustee in a Chapter 7 business bankruptcy in case the assets of the partnership firm are inadequate to repay its debts.
3. Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 business bankruptcy - which option should a business choose?
The business owner must understand that by reorganizing his business by seeking protection under Chapter 11, he cannot expect more desirable market conditions. He must opt for this type of bankruptcy filing only when he is operating a business that can make profits in the future given its current strengths. Chapter 11 business bankruptcy will help him free up some cash that can be used to run the day-to-day operations of the business. It will also help him reject expensive leases and stop creditors from taking over his business assets.
4. What happens when a Chapter 11 bankruptcy process fails?
The court will convert it to a Chapter 22 bankruptcy, which is quite identical to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The business assets are sold and the business ceases to exist after the Chapter 22 bankruptcy process is completed.
5. What should the business owners pay attention to?
Before opting for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the business owner must compute his priority debts. If he cannot repay these debts, Chapter 11 business bankruptcy could not help him. He must also check the extent of his secured debt. Secured creditors don’t reduce a business owner’s debts because the former could always take possession of the assets of the business. The business owner must make a list of his creditors and understand their classification and priority before selecting a business bankruptcy category.
These are some of the important factors that all business owners must pay attention to before seeking protection under Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 business bankruptcy.
Find Out More About The Other Alternative To Business Bankruptcy, Which Is, Assignment
An Assignment for benefit of Creditors can be considered by business owners who don’t want to seek protection under a Chapter 11 business bankruptcy. This alternative should only be taken into consideration when the business is no longer sustainable due to an unprofitable product line and/or a mountain of debt. Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 business bankruptcy differ from an assignment for benefit of creditors. It is regarded as a substitute for a Chapter 7 business bankruptcy, and it must not be taken into consideration by business owners who need reorganization. A Chapter 11 bankruptcy should be opted for by businesses that need restructuring.
State laws govern an Assignment for Benefit of Creditors, therefore, it could vary from one state to another. State courts are the one that supervise this process. In an Assignment, an assignee is empowered by the state court to take control of the assets of the business. It is usually the business owners and creditors who choose the assignee, and it is also vital that the chosen assignee is experienced and reputed. You need to take note that in the case of a business bankruptcy, it is the court that selects the case trustee. The business assets must be assigned by the business owner to an assignment estate.
A fiduciary role is played by the assignee towards the creditors, and he makes it a point to be able to sell the assets of the business at the maximum price. After having sold business assets, the assignee would pay the creditors, deduct certain fees and costs from the proceeds and would return to the business owner whatever is left.
All other processes in an Assignment move like they do in a Chapter 7 business bankruptcy. A list of all creditors are filed by the business owner. Creditors are then informed by the assignee of the Assignment, and would set a date wherein creditors must be able to lodge their claim. The business becomes hollow the moment that the assets are transferred to the assignment estate. Even if a case is filed against the business, the creditor wouldn’t get anything.
When the market price of all the business assets is not enough to cover debts, business owners should choose Assignment over business bankruptcy. Assignment is less formal than a business bankruptcy process and moves much faster. Any sale made by the assignee could not be objected to by creditors. However, until the other party gives consent, an assignee could not force transfer contracts and leases. In a chapter 7 or Chapter 11 business bankruptcy, no such consent is needed. Therefore, business owners with franchisees must not contemplate an Assignment, but a bankruptcy.