Every year that I go to the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) annual convention, I learn something surprising. By surprising I mean something that I feel like I should have already known and just missed somehow.
This year’s surprise was some really meaningful changes to Chapter 11 aimed at small businesses and individuals. New forms and rules are coming online in December that will go a long way towards making Chapter 11 really accessible to normal people and small businesses who need more reorganizational tools than Chapter 13 provides.
Don’t get me wrong, it still won’t be cheap; but it should become substantially cheaper. Imagine if you will a standardized form for a combined Plan and Disclosure Statement? I know, heresy; but coming to a courthouse near you in December, 2008. Oh, and at least one Judge says the new forms are welcome in his courtroom now.
So, let me put out a plea. If you own a business that is in trouble, call a bankruptcy lawyer sooner rather than later. The real tragedy of small business bankruptcies isn’t the small business election. No, the real tragedy is that small business owners wait too long to file. File while there is enough value left in the company to save.