South Florida Bankruptcy Services

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy & Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Proceedings and Debtor/Creditor Rights.

Corporations, Partnerships, and LLCs

If the business is a corporation (including a Limited Liability Company) or partnership, then you only have two (2) bankruptcy choices. Either Chapter 11, if you want to remain in business and reorganize the business' debt, or Chapter 7 if the business has or intends to stop operating and have its assets liquidated.

It is important to understand that a corporation does NOT receive a discharge of its debts in a Chapter 7 case.

So, why would a corporation file a Ch. 7? There are several benefits to doing so. If there are assets to be liquidated, it allows for an independent trustee to sell the assets and pay the creditors whatever is received, in their proper priority. Essentially, it takes the corporation's officer(s) off the hook for doing this and limits their future liability in case any creditors complain about whether the assets were sold for the highest value, etc. Another benefit is that it "informs" the creditors that there is nothing else to get from the corporation and the corporation is not going to be operating anymore. This can prevent multiple unnecessary lawsuits against the corporation as the months and years go by. Technically, the corporation's creditors can still sue the corporation even after the bankruptcy is over, but it would obviously be pointless.

One key concept that many people have difficulty understanding is this: Filing a Chapter 7 for a corporation does NOT eliminate the personal obligations of the corporation's officers or principals at all. Therefore, if a corporate officer or partner has signed a personal guarantee for a corporate debt, or is otherwise obligated for a corporate debt (such as trust fund portion of payroll taxes), then he or she will remain obligated after a corporate Chapter 7 case unless, of course, the assets of the corporation are sufficient after being sold to pay 100% to the creditors to which the officer is personally liable.

So while there are benefits to filing a Chapter 7 for a corporation or partnership, relieving the officers of liability for pre-existing personal guarantees and obligations is not one of them. Thus, if you are concerned about your PERSONAL obligations, you need to consider a personal bankruptcy (chapter 7, 13 or 11).

In a partnership situation, if it is a general partnership, the General Partners are personally liable for ALL of the partnership debts. This is a bit more complicated than can be covered here, but that is the basic concept. Limited partners do not have unlimited liability (hence the name).

Sue Lasky, P.A.

320 SE 18 Street
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl 33316