Miami Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorneys
Helping South Florida Business Exit Gracefully and Make a Fresh Start
Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code applies to both consumer bankruptcies and business bankruptcies. Individuals and families, as well as corporations, partnerships, LLCs and sole proprietorships, can benefit from Chapter 7 and make a fresh start with a clean slate, free from overly burdensome debt.
The South Florida business bankruptcy lawyers at Edelboim Lieberman Revah in Miami and Fort Lauderdale can help you take advantage of the significant debtor protections Chapter 7 offers, including the automatic stay provision which puts an immediate stop to creditor harassment and all forms of collections, including lawsuits, judgments, liens, wage garnishments, foreclosures and repossessions. While the automatic stay is in place, Chapter 7 filers move forward through a process that eliminates (discharges) their unsecured debt so they can move out from under a mountain of debt and move on with their lives.
Chapter 7 for Individuals
A Chapter 7 consumer bankruptcy is open to individuals whose income level is below the state median for their household size or who qualify based on a means test that analyzes their income and expenses. The means test, however, does not apply to individuals who have debts that are primarily business debts. In their petition, Chapter 7 filers will list out their assets, income, monthly expenses, debts, exempt property, property sold or given away two years before the filing of the petition, and property owned and money spent during the preceding two years from the date of the filing of the petition.
The bankruptcy trustee is authorized to take the debtor’s non-exempt property and sell it to pay off creditors. Once this property has been disposed of, any remaining unsecured debts are discharged, meaning the debtor is no longer responsible for paying them. Thanks to the many generous exemptions available under Florida law, an experienced Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney can file a no-asset bankruptcy in most cases, meaning the consumer gets all their unsecured debts discharged without having to lose any property to the bankruptcy trustee.
Chapter 7 for Businesses
A business enterprise that files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is usually closing up shop and chooses Chapter 7 as an orderly means of doing so. Companies that want to stay in business but are struggling with insolvency might choose Chapter 11 instead. Through Chapter 7, the bankruptcy trustee liquidates the company’s assets to pay off creditors. Chapter 7 can therefore be ideal for a struggling business with few assets but many debts and can help businesses avoid creditor harassment and lawsuits.
Should I file for Chapter 7?
Entrepreneurs are optimists by nature, and even when facing difficult times might be thinking of borrowing more money to cure their troubles or filing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy to reorganize their debt. But an infusion of cash is not always a magic bullet to the various issues a struggling business might be facing. Chapter 11, meanwhile, is complex and expensive.
Closing the business might make the most sense, and Chapter 7 is often the most logical and practical way to do so cleanly and efficiently, without lingering liability. An alternative is to try and negotiate resolutions with each individual creditor without filing for bankruptcy. An experienced business bankruptcy and commercial lawyer can sit down with you and analyze your situation, advise you of your options and help you craft the best path forward.
5 Factors to Consider When Evaluating a Chapter 7 Business Bankruptcy Filing
If your business is struggling and you are contemplating a bankruptcy filing, there are several factors to consider before committing to a Chapter 7 petition. When you schedule an appointment with a Miami Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney at Edelboim Lieberman Revah, your attorney will help you carefully evaluate factors such as:
1. Do You Qualify to File for Bankruptcy Under Chapter 7?
Since filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 absolves debtors of their liabilities and leaves creditors with less than the full amount they are owed, it is not an option in all circumstances. As a result, before you consider any other factors, you will want to determine if you or your business is eligible to file under Chapter 7. Your Miami Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney can walk you through the eligibility criteria and reach an informed decision.
2. Are You Prepared to Shut Down Your Business?
As noted above, filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 typically results in the business shutting down. Are you prepared to close your business, or do you want to do what you can to keep it going? From a financial perspective, does it make sense to keep the business going? Ultimately, whether to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 is a business decision that requires a practical and pragmatic assessment of all relevant facts and circumstances.
3. Are There Options You Haven’t Considered?
While filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 is one option for many struggling small businesses, it isn’t the only option that is available. Our attorneys can also help you evaluate options such as seeking additional financing, reorganizing your company’s debts under Chapter 11, or pursuing an assignment for the benefit of creditors. It may also be possible to renegotiate some of your business’s contracts to secure more-favorable terms; and, if your business has substantial tax debt, it may be possible to establish a payment plan or negotiate an offer in compromise. These are all options a Miami Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney at Edelboim Lieberman Revah can help you evaluate as well.
4. Will a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Filing Achieve Your Goals?
Although a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing eliminates most debts for individual filers, business filings under Chapter 7 can still leave the company’s owners saddled with liabilities. Additionally, if you are seeking to reorganize or reduce your company’s debts instead of closing the business entirely, then filing under Chapter 7 likely is not your best option. Before you do anything, you need to make sure your chosen course of action will serve your goals.
5. Will a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Filing Interfere with Your Ambitions?
Likewise, it is important to ensure that filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 will not interfere with your entrepreneurial ambitions going forward. While filing for bankruptcy offers a fresh start in many respects, it is not without consequences. By working with an experienced Miami Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney, you can ensure that you do not unknowingly foreclose any opportunities to start again.
Help With Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Questions in Miami and South Florida
Bankruptcy is the start of a new chapter as much as it is the close of an old one. Many of the nation’s current and historical biggest successes failed in one or more businesses before they had one that succeeded and exceeded all expectations. As a business owner, you can learn from your experiences good and bad. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help you live to fight another day. Edelboim Lieberman Revah provides the assistance you need to get you there.
For practical advice, technical assistance and professional representation in a South Florida Chapter 7 business bankruptcy, call Edelboim Lieberman Revah in Miami or Fort Lauderdale at 305-768-9909 for a free consultation.