Skilled lawyers assist distressed businesses in the West Chester area
If your corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship in the West Chester area or Pennsylvania is struggling with substantial debt, Wetzel Gagliardi Fetter & Lavin LLC can help guide you through the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process to keep your business viable while you develop fresh strategies for future growth. Often referred to as “reorganization bankruptcy,” Chapter 11 permits your business to operate while you pay creditors part of what you owe under a court-ordered payment plan. Our experienced attorneys can help you file Chapter 11 quickly and efficiently. Once your business has filed for bankruptcy, creditors must immediately stop collections efforts, including harassing letters and phone calls.
Proven advisers guide business clients through the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process
A Chapter 11 bankruptcy case can take anywhere from a few months to two years to resolve. During that time, owners continue to operate the business as “debtors in possession,” unless the court detects fraud, dishonesty, incompetence, and gross mismanagement that necessitates the appointment of a trustee.
The bankruptcy court or the trustee makes major decisions for the debtor while the business remains in bankruptcy. Such matters might include:
- Sale of assets, except for items of inventory
- Entering into or breaking a lease for property or equipment
- Mortgages or other secured financing arrangements for borrowing during the bankruptcy
- Discontinuing or expanding operations
- Modifying union, vendor, licensing, and other contracts
- Fees and expenses to attorneys and other professionals
After filing, the debtor enjoys an exclusivity period, which the court can extend or shorten, during which only the debtor can propose a restructuring plan for addressing the debt. When the exclusivity period expires, the creditor committee can propose a competing plan. Creditors generally look to secure a greater guarantee of repayment than the debtor is offering, and may request a liquidation of assets and a downsizing of operations to get a higher initial payment on the debt. Although creditors have a voice in approving or rejecting a Chapter 11 plan, the court has the final say and decides to confirm a plan based on requirements that include:
- Good faith
- Best interests of the creditors
- Fairness and equity
Confirmation of the reorganization plan discharges your business debts that were acquired prior to the plan’s confirmation. Your business is bound by the terms of the reorganization plan, which forms new contractual terms that supersede all contracts entered into prior to your bankruptcy discharge.
Since the future success of your business depends greatly on the quality of your Chapter 11 plan, you should seek reliable advice from an experienced business bankruptcy attorney.
Knowledgeable lawyers help sole proprietors and partners protect their personal assets
The owner of a sole proprietorship does not have an identity separate from the business, so the bankruptcy court does not distinguish between the business’s assets and the owner’s personal assets. The filing of Chapter 11 bankruptcy places the owner’s assets at risk. Wetzel Gagliardi Fetter & Lavin LLC can develop successful strategies to protect your personal assets from your business’s creditors while putting your business in the best possible position to succeed going forward.
The owners of a corporation filing Chapter 11 do not risk their personal assets except for their investments in the corporation. However, certain partners might find their personal assets at risk. We work for resolutions that advance the business’s best interests while protecting corporate stockholders or partners of the business.
Contact an experienced Pennsylvania bankruptcy attorney for your Chapter 11 filing
Wetzel Gagliardi Fetter & Lavin LLC assists with Chapter 11 business bankruptcies throughout Pennsylvania. Call 484-887-0779 or contact us online to schedule your consultation at our West Chester office.