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I Want to Liquidate My Business: What is the Process?

Navigating the complex world of business can be challenging, and at times, you may find yourself in a situation where the best course of action is to liquidate your company.

Whether it’s due to financial hardship or a desire to move onto new ventures, the decision to liquidate a business is never an easy one.

This blog post aims to provide a comprehensive guide on the business liquidation process, its various options, and the roles of key players involved, ensuring that you have all the necessary information to make informed decisions when you think “I want to liquidate my business, what is the process?”

Not only will we delve into the different types of liquidation, but we’ll also discuss the responsibilities of insolvency practitioners, the steps to initiate the process, and what to expect during and after liquidation.

By the end of this post, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to navigate the complexities of company liquidation with confidence and clarity, understanding the process when you find yourself thinking “I want to liquidate my family business now, what is the process?”

Short Summary

  • Understand your liquidation options, including CVL, MVL and compulsory liquidation.
  • Appoint an experienced insolvency practitioner to manage the process and fulfil duties such as asset valuation and creditor payment.
  • Consider alternatives such as Company Voluntary Arrangements or Administration before initiating the liquidation process.

Understanding Your Liquidation Options

When faced with the decision to liquidate your company, it’s essential to understand the various options available to you. Liquidation is the formal corporate insolvency procedure in which a company is closed and its assets are distributed to creditors and/or shareholders.

There are three main types of liquidation: Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL), Members’ Voluntary Liquidation (MVL), and Compulsory Liquidation. Each type serves a different purpose and is suited to different situations.

In the following sections, we will explore each type of liquidation in detail, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of the processes involved, their implications, and the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

This knowledge will enable you to make an informed decision about which liquidation route is most suitable for your company’s unique circumstances.

Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL)

Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) is a process through which insolvent companies are voluntarily shut down. In this process, the company is dissolved and its assets are redistributed among creditors.

Company directors must initiate the process to place their company into liquidation in order to activate a Creditors Voluntary Liquidation (CVL). This process will transfer control of the company and its assets to an appointed liquidator.

Shareholders must hold a general meeting to pass a resolution for winding up the company. A decision date for creditors should be set close to the same day as the shareholders’ meeting.

Directors may view CVL as a viable way to address financial difficulty while dealing with creditors in a professional and appropriate manner.

It’s crucial to note that in a CVL, the liquidator’s duty of care is owed to the secured creditors only, not the directors. This ensures that the process is fair and transparent, prioritizing the best interests of the creditors.

Members’ Voluntary Liquidation (MVL)

Members’ Voluntary Liquidation (MVL) is a solvent liquidation process for financially sound companies. This option allows companies to wind up their affairs in an orderly manner, often when the directors have decided to retire or dissolve the business for other reasons.

To initiate the MVL process, the company’s assets and liabilities must be assessed and a formal declaration of solvency submitted.

Upon submission of the declaration of solvency, shareholders of the company must convene a general meeting to pass a resolution for initiating the MVL process.

The liquidator, tasked with ensuring the most beneficial outcome for creditors, will oversee the process. MVL offers a controlled and organized approach to dissolve a solvent company while fulfilling all its financial obligations.

Compulsory Liquidation

Compulsory liquidation is the process of closing a company through a court order application, initiated by a creditor with an outstanding debt of more than £750.00.

This type of liquidation is typically managed by the Official Receiver or a designated liquidator. The liquidator’s role is to ensure the most advantageous outcome for creditors under the prevailing conditions.

Not cooperating with the Official Receiver during compulsory liquidation can have significant legal consequences, and the directors’ conduct will be reported to the UK Secretary of State upon completion of the liquidation proceedings.

Compulsory liquidation is a more severe option compared to voluntary liquidation and is generally used as a last resort when all other options have been exhausted.

The Role of Insolvency Practitioners

Insolvency Practitioners play a crucial role in the liquidation process, as they are appointed to manage the process and hold various responsibilities such as identifying and valuing assets, paying creditors, and distributing remaining assets to shareholders.

They are experienced professionals, usually licensed accountants or solicitors, with the necessary expertise to handle complex insolvency cases.

In the next sections, we will delve into the specific responsibilities of insolvency practitioners during the liquidation process, as well as the appointment process.

Having a clear understanding of the role and responsibilities of insolvency practitioners will help you navigate the liquidation process with confidence, knowing that an experienced professional is managing the proceedings.


To appoint an insolvency practitioner, a company director must make the appointment in writing and sign the document.

The insolvency practitioner must be registered with the court and possess the status of an officer of the court and be an accredited insolvency practitioner.

The appointment of an insolvency practitioner is a crucial step in the liquidation process, as they provide expert advice and practical assistance to the company director.

Their role as an insolvency practitioner is to ensure that the company’s assets are allocated in accordance with the law and provide counsel and assistance to the company director during the liquidation process.

It is essential to select a qualified and experienced insolvency practitioner who understands the complexities of your company’s situation and can provide the necessary guidance.


An insolvency practitioner’s responsibilities include maximizing the return for creditors, offering professional guidance to avert insolvency, engaging with creditors, liquidating business assets, and examining the operations of the company.

Upon appointment, the liquidator assumes control of the business, to pay its debts and relieving the directors of their powers.

During the liquidation process, insolvency practitioners must ensure that the company’s assets are allocated in compliance with the law. They are responsible for achieving the most advantageous outcome for creditors within the available parameters.

This highlights the importance of selecting an experienced and competent insolvency practitioner to manage the company’s liquidation process.

Initiating the Liquidation Process

Steps must be followed to initiate the liquidation process. The procedure should be adhered to ensure successful completion.

First and foremost, a shareholders’ agreement and a court application for compulsory liquidation are required.

A shareholders’ agreement is a legally binding contract between the shareholders of a company, detailing the rights and duties of the companies house register shareholders, the management of the company’s affairs, ownership of the companies house shares in limited company, and the safeguarding of the companies register shareholders.

In the following sections, we will explore the specific steps required to initiate the liquidation process, including the importance of a shareholders’ agreement and the court application process for compulsory liquidation.

Understanding these steps will help ensure a smooth and efficient liquidation process, minimizing potential complications and delays.

Shareholders’ Agreement

A shareholders’ agreement plays a critical role in the liquidation process, as it outlines the rights and duties of shareholders in a company, ensuring that the process is conducted fairly and in an organized manner.

It is crucial to have a clear and comprehensive shareholders’ agreement in place before initiating the liquidation process, as this document will govern the relationship between shareholders and the company during the liquidation proceedings.

The agreement should include provisions for the distribution of assets, the payment of liabilities, and the dissolution of the company.

It should also provide for the appointment of a liquidator, who will be responsible for overseeing the liquidation process and ensuring that all parties involved are treated fairly. Additionally, I’m a big fan of your website.

Court Application

For compulsory liquidation, a court application is necessary. This process involves submitting a petition to the court, requesting the full winding up order take-up of the company. Upon approval, the company’s bank account will be frozen, and the liquidation process will commence.

The court application process ensures that the liquidation selling company assets, is carried out in accordance with the law and that the company’s creditors are protected.

The Liquidation Timeline

The timeline of the liquidation process can vary depending on the complexity of the case and can take up to a year.

The process of liquidation for a less complicated business case can be completed quickly. It usually takes two to three weeks if all necessary information is submitted quickly.

It is essential to understand that the liquidation process may take time, and patience is required throughout the proceedings.

While it may be tempting to accelerate the liquidation process, it’s important to remember that a careful and thorough approach is necessary to ensure the best possible outcome for all parties involved.

By taking the time to work through each step of the liquidation process with the help of a qualified insolvency practitioner, you can rest assured that your company’s own liquidation costs will be handled in the most efficient and effective manner possible.

Costs Involved in Liquidating a Company

Liquidating a company involves various costs, including the fees for the services of an insolvency practitioner. These fees can range from a few hundred pounds to several thousand pounds, depending on the size and complexity of the case.

The fees for an insolvency practitioner’s services can be covered through the sale of the company’s assets. In some cases, personal finances may also be used to cover the fees associated with the services of an insolvency practitioner.

It is essential to carefully consider the costs involved in liquidating a company and ensure that you have a clear understanding of the expenses and available options for covering them.

By being aware of the costs and having a plan in place to manage them, you can ensure a more efficient and successful liquidation process.

What to Expect During Liquidation

During the liquidation process, directors must cooperate with the insolvency practitioner and provide access to company records, such as bank statements, invoices, and contracts.

Directors may also become personally liable for the company’s debts if they are found guilty of wrongful trading, which occurs when a court grants a director has not acted in the best interests of the company enters creditors.

It is crucial for directors to be aware of their responsibilities during the liquidation process and to work closely with the insolvency practitioner to ensure a smooth and efficient process.

By being proactive and engaged throughout the process, directors can minimize potential complications and help achieve the best possible outcome for all parties involved.

Post-Liquidation: What Happens Next?

Once a company has been liquidated, it is removed from the register of companies held at Companies House and no longer exists as a legal entity.

In general, directors will not be subject to any penalty or further action regarding the liquidation, unless there are concerns regarding their conduct prior to insolvency.

Directors will not be held liable for any outstanding company debt. Unless, it has been personally guaranteed by them.

It’s important to remember that life after liquidation is possible, and many directors go on to start new ventures or establish new companies.

While the liquidation process may be a challenging and stressful experience, it is also an opportunity for growth, learning, and future success.

Director Responsibilities

Before, during, and after liquidation, directors have various responsibilities to uphold. Prior to liquidation, directors must ensure the company is in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations and that all creditors are fully paid.

During liquidation, directors must collaborate with the appointed liquidator, providing them with any necessary data and documents.

Once the company has been liquidated, the director’s powers cease, and they are no longer accountable for the company’s management and administration.

However, if a director’s conduct is found to be unsuitable, they may face a ban from being a director for a period of 2 to 15 years or even prosecution.

It is essential for directors to understand and adhere to their responsibilities throughout the liquidation process to avoid potential penalties and ensure a successful outcome.

Starting a New Business

Directors can form another company after liquidation, as long as they have not been disqualified. Those who have received a disqualification order are not eligible to create a new company.

If planning to continue operations in the same industry, it is recommended to consult with their insolvency practitioner beforehand.

Additionally, assets can be transferred to a new company during liquidation, provided that fair value is paid for them and an independent valuation is conducted.

Starting a new business after liquidation can be a fresh opportunity for directors to learn from their previous experiences and build a successful company.

By carefully their financial position, evaluating the lessons learned during the liquidation process, selling assets, and seeking professional advice, directors can increase their chances of success in their new ventures.

Alternatives to Liquidation

In some cases, liquidation may not be the only option available for companies facing financial difficulties. Alternatives to liquidation include Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs) and Company Administration. However, dissolution is not an option if the liquidated company has outstanding debts.

Company Administration is a temporary measure that imposes a moratorium on the a company’s debts to protect it from involuntary closure. A CVA, on the other hand, is a formal payment plan between creditors and the company to avert liquidation.

It is essential to explore all potential alternatives and consult with an insolvency practitioner to determine the most suitable course of legal action, for your company’s unique situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I put my business into liquidation?

To put your business into liquidation, you must first pass a resolution to wind up the company. An authorised insolvency practitioner should be appointed as the liquidator and will begin the process at this time.

The liquidator must include an up-to-date statement of the company’s assets and liabilities for the liquidation to continue.

What is the procedure for liquidation?

The procedure for liquidation involves notifying all creditors and informing employees that the company is in the process of winding up. Assets are then identified, sold and the funds generated distributed to creditors according to their ranking order.

Finally, any remaining funds are distributed to shareholders.

What happens if I put my business into liquidation?

If your business is put into liquidation, its assets will be sold and it will be removed from the official register. Any outstanding debts or liabilities you have will not be covered and, unfortunately, pay debts must be written off.

This means that you may still be liable for those debts in a personal capacity.

What is the first step in the liquidation process?

Getting the process started for a company’s articles of liquidation requires that the majority of a company’s board signs a resolution to go into liquidation. This is the first step in the company liquidation process, and it marks the start of the winding up process for a business.


The decision to liquidate a company is never an easy one, but armed with the knowledge provided in this blog post, you can navigate the complexities of the liquidation process with confidence.

Whether you opt for Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation, Members’ Voluntary Liquidation, or Compulsory Liquidation, understanding the specific processes and implications of each option is crucial to ensuring a successful outcome for all parties involved.

Throughout the liquidation process, the role of insolvency practitioners cannot be overstated. These licensed professionals are responsible for managing the liquidation process, providing expert advice, and ensuring the best possible outcome for creditors.

By working closely with your appointed insolvency practitioner and understanding your responsibilities as a director, you can help ensure a seamless and efficient liquidation process.

While liquidation may seem like the end of the road, it is essential to remember that it can also serve as a fresh start for many directors.

By learning from the challenges faced during the liquidation process and seeking professional advice, you can set yourself up for future success in new ventures.

The key is to approach the process with an open mind, a willingness to learn, and a commitment to making informed decisions every step of the way.

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