Bankruptcy for Business: Will My Partnership Be Affected?

Jay Fleischman
May 20, 2009 — 1,384 views  
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If you own a business that is registered as a partnership, and you find yourself in the position of having to file for personal bankruptcy protection, what happens to your business? Does personal bankruptcy have to mean small business bankruptcy as well? Owning a partnership means that your personal and business finances are one and the same. It also means the same for your partners. Each partner is responsible for the entirety of the business's debts. Since your personal debts and your business debts are the same, they cannot be separated when you file for bankruptcy protection. This means that your personal assets and your business assets will both be listed in your bankruptcy paperwork. Many of your personal assets will be considered exempt under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy - meaning that you will get to keep these assets even though you are wiping out your debt. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case when it comes to business assets. Most of these assets will become the property of the estate, and will be liquidated to pay your creditors for your debt. Unless your partners can replace these assets, this usually means that your partnership will have to shut down. There are a couple of options that can save your business, though. First, you can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection instead of filing chapter 7. This gives you the ability to repay your debts over a period of time - usually 3 to 5 years. Although Chapter 13 doesn't erase your debts, it will allow you to keep your business assets so that you and your partners can continue operating the business. The other option is to incorporate the business. This will help separate your personal and business liability. While the estate will become the owner of your share of the business when you file bankruptcy, you have the option of buying back your stock at fair market value. Often, the fair market value will be less than the amount of debt you owe, so it can be a less expensive way of obtaining debt relief while still maintaining your business.

About the Author

New York bankruptcy lawyer Jay S. Fleischman is the Managing Attorney of Fleischman Consumer Law Center. He has helped thousands of New York consumers end their bill problems and get back their good credit. Go to to learn more about your options, ask questions, and get more information.

Jay Fleischman