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What are assignments for the benefit of creditors?

Assignments for the benefit of creditors (ABCs) are an alternative to formal bankruptcy proceedings. Under Florida law, an ABC is a voluntary, out-of-court process where a debtor transfers their assets to an assignee, who then liquidates these assets and distributes the proceeds to the debtor’s creditors.

For example, a struggling business in Florida may pursue an ABC instead of filing for bankruptcy. This choice can be advantageous because it is often faster, less expensive, and less public than a formal bankruptcy filing. The business would transfer its assets to an assignee responsible for selling these assets and distributing the proceeds to the creditors following the priorities established by Florida law.

Need a bankruptcy law advocate? Schedule your consultation today with a top bankruptcy and restructuring attorney.

Which Florida laws and regulations apply to assignments for the benefit of creditors?

The primary source of law governing ABCs in Florida is Chapter 727 of the Florida Statutes. This chapter outlines the process for initiating an ABC, the assignee’s role, and the creditors’ rights. Additionally, the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure may apply to certain aspects of an ABC, such as serving notice to creditors and managing creditor claims.

Federal laws, such as the Bankruptcy Code, generally do not apply to ABCs because they are state law alternatives to bankruptcy. However, it is essential to note that federal laws may still impact an ABC in certain situations, such as when a debtor’s assets are subject to federal tax liens or other federal claims. In these cases, debtors must consult a knowledgeable attorney to navigate the interplay between state and federal laws.

How do assignments for the benefit of creditors connect to the bankruptcy process?

The connection between pursuing an ABC and bankruptcy legal services for debtors lies in their shared goal of providing relief to financially distressed individuals or businesses. Both processes involve the liquidation of assets and the distribution of proceeds to creditors. However, ABCs are generally less formal, less expensive, and more private than bankruptcy filings, making them an attractive option for debtors seeking to avoid the stigma and complexities associated with bankruptcy.

In an ABC, a debtor voluntarily transfers their assets to an assignee who liquidates them and distributes the proceeds to creditors. This process differs from a bankruptcy proceeding, where a court-appointed trustee oversees the operation. Furthermore, while strict federal rules and procedures bind bankruptcy cases, ABCs offer more flexibility, allowing parties to tailor the process to their needs.

When a set of facts is appropriate for bankruptcy services, there are many paths a claimant may take. We are value-based attorneys at Jimerson Birr, which means we look at each action with our clients from the point of view of costs and benefits while reducing liability. Then, based on our client’s objectives, we chart a path to seek appropriate remedies.

To determine whether your unique situation may necessitate litigation or another form of specialized bankruptcy advocacy, please contact our office to set up your initial consultation.

What are the prerequisites for debtors to pursue assignments for the benefit of creditors?

Consider the following:

  • Voluntary action: The debtor must willingly initiate an ABC, as this process is a voluntary alternative to bankruptcy.
  • Valid assignment: The debtor must properly execute and deliver the assignment to a qualified assignee, who is often an attorney, accountant, or insolvency professional.
  • Recording the assignment: The assignee must record the assignment in the county’s public records containing the debtor’s principal place of business.
  • Filing notice: The assignee must file a notice of the assignment with the circuit court clerk in the county where the debtor recorded the assignment.
  • Notifying creditors: The assignee must provide written notice to all known creditors of the debtor within 20 days of the assignment, informing them about the ABC process and their rights.

By satisfying these requirements, the debtor can effectively pursue an ABC in Florida, which allows for a more personal and flexible approach to resolving financial difficulties compared to bankruptcy.

Please contact our office to set up your initial consultation to see what forms of legal protection and advocacy may be available for your unique situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can a debtor choose any person as an assignee for an ABC?

No, not just anyone can be an assignee. The assignee must be a disinterested person who is not an insider of the debtor and is qualified to manage the debtor’s assets and affairs. Assignees are typically professionals, such as attorneys, accountants, or insolvency experts.

  1. Does an ABC in Florida prevent creditors from pursuing legal action against the debtor?

Unlike bankruptcy, an ABC does not automatically halt legal actions by creditors. However, creditors may agree to a standstill or moratorium on legal actions while the ABC process is ongoing. This outcome may depend on the specific circumstances and the willingness of the creditors to cooperate.

  1. How does an ABC affect the debtor’s credit rating?

Although an ABC may be less public and stigmatizing than bankruptcy, it can still harm the debtor’s credit rating. Credit reporting agencies may treat an ABC as a similar event to a default, which can lower the debtor’s credit score and make it more difficult for them to obtain future credit or loans. However, the impact on the credit rating may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the case and the debtor’s credit history before the ABC. Therefore, debtors must work closely with financial advisors and credit counselors to rebuild their credit after an ABC process.

Have more questions about how bankruptcy services could positively impact your business operations and relationships?

Crucially, this overview of assignments for the benefit of creditors does not begin to cover all the laws implicated by this issue or the factors that may compel the application of such laws. Every case is unique, and the laws can produce different outcomes depending on the individual circumstances.

Jimerson Birr attorneys guide our clients to help make informed decisions while ensuring their rights are respected and protected. Our lawyers are highly trained and experienced in the nuances of the law, so they can accurately interpret statutes and case law and holistically prepare individuals or companies for their legal endeavors. Through this intense personal investment and advocacy, our lawyers will help resolve the issue’s complicated legal problems efficiently and effectively.

Having a Jimerson Birr attorney on your side means securing a team of seasoned, multi-dimensional, cross-functional legal professionals. Whether it is a transaction, an operational issue, a regulatory challenge, or a contested legal predicament that may require court intervention, we remain tireless advocates at every step. Being a value-added law firm means putting the client at the forefront of everything we do. We use our experience to help our clients navigate even the most complex problems and come out the other side triumphant.

If you want to understand your case, the merits of your claim or defense, potential monetary awards, or the amount of exposure you face, you should speak with a qualified Jimerson Birr lawyer. Our experienced team of attorneys is here to help. Call Jimerson Birr at (904) 389-0050 or use the contact form to schedule a consultation.

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