Liquidating Your Own Assets vs. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Windom, MN

We all have many financial obligations to meet each month, from car payments and mortgages to health insurance and retirement funds. For many households, meeting those obligations is difficult, and since the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, the poverty rate spiked from 9.3% in June to 11.7% in November of the same year. Small business owners had their own troubles in the pandemic with statewide shutdowns dramatically decreasing revenue. For those with accumulated debts and many other financial obligations they’re having a hard time paying, bankruptcy can be a source of long-term, effective debt relief. If you’re considering filing for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Windom, MN, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help you build a strong case for the most beneficial outcome.

For individuals and businesses alike, the most commonly filed kind of bankruptcy is Chapter 7 liquidation. This chapter works to discharge debts in exchange for the liquidation/sale of the filer’s non-exempt assets. Individual filers are typically able to protect all of their property with the exemptions provided under state law or under the bankruptcy code.  At worst, exemptions will protect the equity or value a bankruptcy filer has in one’s home, car, appliances, items for their jobs/business, and other various properties.

In a business case, the process of Chapter 7 bankruptcy sometimes results in the shutdown of business operations. Businesses organized as corporations or LLC’s are not able to claim exemptions in bankruptcy.  Therefore, when a business files for bankruptcy relief, all the business assets will be liquidated or sold by the chapter 7 trustee. For a struggling business, the question can become whether it should either file for bankruptcy relief or liquidate/sell its assets and use the proceeds to directly work with its creditors to settle its debts.

Benefits of a business liquidating its assets on its own:

  • The process will be private
  • The business won’t have to pay bankruptcy filing fees or bankruptcy attorney fees
  • The business can choose which debts it will repay first and how much each creditor gets from the liquidation of the assets
  • The business can generally prioritize the payment of personal loans to friends and relatives
  • It’s likely that the business will get more value from the liquidation/sale of its own assets than having the assets liquidated in a bankruptcy because the business would have more control over the selling process and there would not be any funds paid to a chapter 7 trustee from the sale of the assets

Benefits of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy:

  • Liquidation/sale will be done more quickly
  • One’s personal assets generally won’t be vulnerable in a Chapter 7 business case unless one’s business is a sole proprietorship or a partnership
  • The business receives the benefit of the automatic stay on creditor action during the bankruptcy which prevents creditors from employing or continuing collection activities
  • Business bankruptcy typically won’t affect your personal credit
  • The liquidation process is handled through the bankruptcy court, so you have no responsibility in finding buyers or distributing repayment to creditors.  The chapter 7 trustee takes care of all such details.
  • The court also administers and governs any interaction between you and your creditors so the process will be as fair as possible
  • There is complete finality when the bankruptcy process is over.  No creditors will be able to sell any of their claims to debt purchasers.

If you’re personally liable for your business debts–for example, if you own a sole proprietorship or partnership–you may want to consider filing for bankruptcy and having the chapter 7 liquidation process address your personal and business debts together. With a partnership, however, it’s important to make sure your partner understands they’re still liable for their end of the business debts unless they also file for bankruptcy relief.

Whether you own a business or not and you’re considering filing for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Windom, MN, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 today or stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com.

 

 

Restaurant Bankruptcy in 2020 and Filing for Bankruptcy in Waseca, MN

At Behm Law Group, Ltd., we work with individuals filing for Chapter 7 liquidation and Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy. We also help local businesses file Chapter 7 cases and offer legal guidance and protection to family farmers and fishers working through Chapter 12 reorganization bankruptcy. In the past year, COVID-19 has hit everyone, but it has been especially hard on the restaurant industry. Many restaurants and other food service companies closed down or filed for business bankruptcy. Although Behm attorneys don’t work with businesses filing for reorganization through Chapter 11 business bankruptcy, we still find it important to take note of bankruptcy patterns in current events. Since the coronavirus shutdowns in early 2020, there has been a sharp increase in bankruptcy filings by many in the restaurant industry in Waseca, MN and across the country.

While it’s unfortunately common and often expected for small or family-owned restaurants to struggle during times of economic depression or other financially restrictive events, like a forced temporary closure, the large corporations that own restaurant chains are usually safe from that fate. However, with the prolonged closure during the pandemic and decreased customer bases because of the fear of viral spread, many restaurant chains filed for bankruptcy during the past year.

Ten U.S. restaurants chains that filed for bankruptcy in 2020:

  1. Bar Louie: Owned by Sun Capital Partners, Bar Louie’s chain filed for bankruptcy on January 27th with unlisted assets.
  2. Cosi: Cosi filed for bankruptcy on February 24th with $40 million in assets.
  3. Bravo Italian Kitchen: FoodFirst Restaurants, owners of Bravo (also of Brio Tuscan Grill), filed for bankruptcy on April 10th with assets of $307 million listed.
  4. Souplantation: Owned by Garden Fresh Restaurants (also owners of the Sweet Tomatoes chain), Souplantation filed on May 14th with $50 million listed in assets.
  5. Le Pain Quotidien: Owned by PQ New York 9, Le Pain Quotidien filed on May 27th with $3 million listed in assets.
  6. HopCat: HopCat owners BarFly Ventures (also owners of Stella’s Lounge and Grand Rapids Brewing Co.) filed for bankruptcy on June 3rd with $1 million in assets listed.
  7. Chuck E. Cheese: With an impressive asset listing of $1.7 billion, Chuck E. Cheese owners CEC Entertainment filed for bankruptcy on June 25th.
  8. California Pizza Kitchen: CPK owners Golden State Capital filed on July 29th with $13.5 million listed in assets.
  9. Sizzler: Sizzler USA filed on September 21st, 2020 with $1 million listed in assets.
  10. Ruby Tuesday: With assets listed as $146 million, NRD Capital Management, owners of Ruby Tuesday, filed for bankruptcy on October 7th.

While the majority of chain restaurants that filed for bankruptcy in 2020 petitioned for Chapter 11 reorganization, there have been hundreds of smaller companies that had to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief this past year.

To learn more about filing for bankruptcy in Waseca, MN and the local area, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. today at (507) 387-7200 or stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com.

 

Issues with Debt Management in Fairmont, MN: Requirements for Involuntary Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a process available to individuals and businesses alike. If you’re struggling to meet monthly payments on time and debts are piling up, you can choose to use bankruptcy for long-term debt relief. The majority of individual consumer and business bankruptcies are filed voluntarily. If the filer is ready to pay the required bankruptcy fees and ideally is also able to pay for legal representation, they will file a voluntary case that is appropriate for their debts and incomes. However, there are instances when bankruptcy cases are involuntary. If you’re considering filing for voluntary bankruptcy to help with long-term debt management in Fairmont, MN, Behm Law Group, Ltd. can help.

Involuntary bankruptcy for individuals or businesses work similarly. If creditors bring involuntary bankruptcy legal proceedings to the court, you can be forced into a case that will work its way through the resolution of debts, for better or worse for any party involved.

An involuntary bankruptcy case occurs when creditors can prove that a debtor is able to repay their debts and is choosing not to do so for some reason. Creditors may believe they will not get repaid if an involuntary bankruptcy is not initiated.

Because debtors who can repay debts but choose not to often have value in nonessential assets that could be sold, involuntary bankruptcy cases are typically filed against businesses due to their more complex financial circumstances. There are several requirements that must be met before an involuntary bankruptcy can be filed.

Some of the main requirements for involuntary bankruptcy include:

  • The case to be filed must be a Chapter 7 liquidation (individual or business) or a Chapter 11 reorganization (business)
  • Involuntary bankruptcy debtors cannot be nonprofit organizations, family farmers or fishers, banks, credit unions, or insurance agencies
  • Creditors filing must have a claim against the debtor that isn’t “contingent as to liability or the subject of a bona fide dispute as to liability or amount.” Whether a claim is part of a bona fide dispute varies greatly from case to case
  • The debt load owed must be at least $16,750
  • Creditors must be able to prove that the debtor is able to repay their debts
  • If a debtor has fewer than twelve creditors for debts that will be handled in the bankruptcy, just one creditor needs to file for an involuntary bankruptcy proceeding
  • If a debtor has twelve or more creditors, at least three creditors must each participate in the filing of the involuntary bankruptcy proceeding
  • Debtors must respond to an involuntary bankruptcy filing within 21 days before the proceedings start.

Debtors that have an involuntary case filed against them do have the option to convert it into a voluntary case.

To learn more about involuntary bankruptcy proceedings and debt management in Fairmont, MN and the surrounding area, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. today at (507) 387-7200 or stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com.

When Redeeming Property During a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Redwood Falls, MN is Beneficial

If you are struggling to make debt payments on time or if trying to pay off debts has significantly damaged your quality of life, finding debt relief through bankruptcy might be the right choice. The most commonly filed type of bankruptcy is Chapter 7, which discharges debts in exchange for the liquidation of non-exempt assets. This means some of your property may be subjected to sale and the resulting sale proceeds may be paid over to your creditors. However, in the vast majority of chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, a person is able to protect all of his or her property.  Chapter 7 bankruptcy isn’t designed to leave filers destitute and without property to reorganize.  There are ways to protect your assets from liquidation. By asserting and taking advantage of the applicable bankruptcy exemptions, filing a reaffirmation agreement on a debt that is secured by some of your property, or by redeeming an asset by paying the present value of that asset to the creditor holding a secured lien on that asset, you can keep your home, car, appliances, and other important items. Behm Law Group, Ltd. provides protection and guidance for those filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Redwood Falls, MN and the surrounding areas. Our attorneys help you work through your petition to protect your assets from liquidation and to file a strong case for long-term, bankruptcy court enforced debt relief.

Each state has different bankruptcy exemptions that Chapter 7 bankruptcy filers can claim. The most current exemptions will protect the value in your home, car, household appliances, clothing, retirement accounts, life insurance policy proceeds, and many additional miscellaneous items.

Filers can also choose to redeem an asset in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition from a creditor that has a secured lien on that asset.  In order to redeem an asset, one must pay the asset’s present value to the secured creditor in one lump sum. The value of the property you want to redeem may be agreed upon between you and the creditor. If the creditor believes that the property is worth more than you do, you can present the matter to the bankruptcy court and the bankruptcy court will determine the appropriate value for the asset.

If you have the resources/funds to redeem an asset, it can be beneficial to your financial circumstances in many ways. Redeeming an asset makes the most sense if:

  • The value of the property is less than the debt against it. If the subject debt has accumulated over time with missed payments, late fees, and interest, it makes sense to pay off the actual, present value of the property in a redemption rather than pay the total debt owed. For example, if you bought a car worth $15,000 in 2015 and the loan in 2021 has only been reduced to $10,000 but the value of the car has depreciated to $5,000, it makes more sense to pay the $5,000 value of the car than the $10,000 debt.
  • If the asset works well and will be reliable going forward or if it is an asset that is unique, difficult to replace and is needed for your employment, trade or profession, such as specific mechanical tools or farming equipment or equipment used in construction, it makes sense to redeem the asset rather than invest time and energy looking for a new replacement.
  • Sometimes it may be challenging to obtain a loan to purchase a vehicle or other asset after a bankruptcy.  In such circumstances, it makes sense for someone to use proceeds from a retirement account, use tax refunds or use the cash value that has been built up in a life insurance policy to redeem an asset.

To learn more about redemptions and filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Redwood Falls, MN and the local region, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. today at (507) 387-7200 or stephen@mankatobankruptcy.com.