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What Happens if I Can’t Afford to Liquidate My Company?

Imagine you’re a director of a small company that has hit a rough patch. Your business is struggling, and you’re facing insolvency.

You know that liquidation is a potential solution, but what happens if I can’t afford to liquidate my company?

This blog post will explore the options and challenges faced by companies in this predicament, including both voluntary and compulsory liquidation, the role of insolvency practitioners, financing liquidation fees, director redundancy claims, and selling company assets.

We’ll also discuss the potential legal consequences of failing to liquidate a company’s assets properly.

Understanding Your Options When Facing Insolvency

When a limited company faces insolvency, there are two main options: Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) and Compulsory Liquidation.

The first is initiated by the directors and accepted by creditors, while its creditors impose the latter on the company.

Opting for CVL can offer benefits for directors, such as greater control over the process, the choice of a liquidator, and the opportunity to buy assets from the liquidator to continue trading as a Phoenix company.

However, there are potential risks involved if directors delay the winding up of creditors, such as increased personal liability and accusations of misconduct, which could lead to disqualification.

In both CVL and compulsory liquidation, it is important to consult with an insolvency practitioner to assess alternative options, such as directors’ redundancy pay or personal fundraising.

This is crucial to ensure that the company’s financial position is properly considered and the most suitable liquidation option is chosen.

Creditors Voluntary Liquidation (CVL)

Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) is a voluntary liquidation process initiated by the company’s directors.

This option provides directors with greater control over the undertaking, potentially leading to cost savings in the long term.

The process involves the directors choosing to initiate a CVL, which must then be accepted by the company’s creditors.

One of the key benefits of CVL is the increased oversight of the procedure, selection of the liquidator, and the chance to purchase assets from the liquidator to carry on trading as a Phoenix company.

Choosing CVL over compulsory liquidation allows directors to retain control and minimise the negative impact on their personal credit ratings.

However, it is important to follow the director’s obligations and ensure that the former company director’s debts are addressed in the most suitable manner.

Compulsory Liquidation

Compulsory Liquidation is another option available to limited companies facing insolvency. This course of action is imposed on the company by its creditors when other avenues of repayment have been exhausted.

In cases where the company is unable to even afford to liquidate CVL and has no assets of value, compulsory liquidation becomes the only option.

If a creditor threatens or issues a winding-up petition, it implies that they are resorting to this last measure to recover the money owed.

A winding-up petition is a legal process that initiates the compulsory liquidation of a company. A creditor who owed money in an amount exceeding £750 is eligible to apply for it.

While this option may be less favourable for directors compared to CVL, it may become necessary if the company cannot afford to liquidate through other means.

The Role of Insolvency Practitioners in Liquidation

Insolvency practitioners play a crucial role in the liquidation process, as they are responsible for overseeing it, including asset valuation and sale, as well as making payments to creditors.

Choosing an experienced practitioner can ensure that the liquidation process is handled efficiently and that appropriate advice is provided on the best course of action.

Their duties in liquidation encompass not only the sale of assets and payments to creditors but also providing guidance on the optimal course of action for the company.

It is important to select a practitioner who can provide expert advice and support throughout the process, as their role is vital in determining the outcome of the liquidation.

The right practitioner can make a significant difference in the overall experience and results for both the company and its directors.

Selecting an Insolvency Practitioner

An Insolvency Practitioner is a qualified professional authorised to act on behalf of entities experiencing insolvency, offering counsel and services related to insolvency, bankruptcy, and restructuring.

When selecting an insolvency practitioner, it is important to consider their experience and ability to provide advice on the most suitable course of action.

An experienced practitioner can navigate the complexities of the liquidation process and ensure the best possible outcome for the company and its directors.

Factors to consider when selecting an insolvency practitioner include their track record, industry expertise, and reputation.

Working with a trusted and reputable practitioner can make the difference between a successful liquidation and one that leaves the former company with no money, and its directors in a worse position.

Financing Liquidation Fees

Financing liquidation fees can be a challenging aspect of the process for insolvent companies. Directors may need to make personal contributions or negotiate payment plans with liquidators to cover these costs.

Personal contributions can come in various forms, such as forgoing a vacation or obtaining a personal loan.

Payment plans with liquidators can involve negotiating a cap on liquidation fees or arranging instalment plans.

It is important for directors to explore all available options to finance liquidation fees, as this can directly impact the success of the liquidation process and the financial well-being of the company and its directors.

Personal Contributions

Personal contributions refer to both financial and non-financial contributions made by an individual towards a particular objective.

In the context of liquidation, personal contributions could be understood as financial contributions made by the company owner towards the liquidation process.

Common methods of generating personal funds for CVL include forgoing a vacation, opting for a more economical vehicle, utilising a personal credit rating or card, or obtaining a personal loan.

While making personal contributions may not be ideal, it can be a necessary step for directors to ensure that their company is properly liquidated and that they fulfil their legal responsibilities.

Payment Plans with Liquidators

Payment plans with liquidators refer to the possibility of negotiating a cap on liquidation fees, negotiating a payment plan for liquidation fees, and the benefit of an instalment plan for liquidation fees.

In some cases, a company may be able to negotiate a cap on the fees to ensure a certain level of predictability regarding the total cost.

It is also plausible to negotiate a payment plan with the appointed insolvency practitioner, which can help lessen the financial burden by allowing the cost to be divided over time.

Negotiating payment plans with liquidators can provide much-needed financial relief for insolvent companies and their directors, enabling them to better manage the liquidation process and its costs.

Director Redundancy Claims

Directors of insolvent companies may be entitled to redundancy pay, which can help finance the liquidation process.

Eligibility for claim director redundancy depends on various factors, such as the director’s role within the company and their period of service.

Discussing eligibility and the process of claiming claim director redundancy with an insolvency practitioner can provide valuable insights and support.

Redundancy pay can provide financial assistance during the liquidation process, and in some cases, may even be enough to cover the liquidation fees entirely.

This can significantly ease the financial burden on directors and enable a smoother liquidation process.

Eligibility for Director Redundancy

To be eligible for director redundancy, certain criteria must be met. Directors must have been employed by the company for a minimum of two years and must be 18 years of age or older.

Additionally, to be considered an employee for the director’s redundancy pay redundancy purposes, one must have fulfilled a role similar to that of other employees.

Understanding the eligibility requirements for director redundancy is crucial, as it can provide an additional source of funds for the liquidation process.

Working with an insolvency practitioner can help directors determine their eligibility and guide them through the process of claiming redundancy pay.

Process of Claiming Director Redundancy

The procedure for submitting a claim for director redundancy involves submitting a claim to the Redundancy Payments Service (RPS), which is part of the Insolvency Service.

The full redundancy claim for payment can be requested either online or through the liquidator. Assistance is available for determining eligibility and submitting a full redundancy payment claim to own liquidator, ensuring that directors are well-supported throughout the process.

Claiming director redundancy can provide much-needed financial support during the liquidation process.

Ensuring that all eligibility requirements are met and working with an experienced and licensed insolvency practitioner can increase the chances of a successful claim and help ease the financial burden on directors.

Selling Company Assets to Cover Liquidation Costs

Selling company assets to cover liquidation costs is a common practice for insolvent companies.

An experienced insolvency practitioner will manage the asset valuation and sale process, ensuring that the company receives fair market value for its assets.

Creditors must be given precedence in the payment process, as not adhering to the order of priority can lead to legal issues.

By selling company assets, directors can raise sufficient funds to cover the liquidation fees and potentially avoid personal liability for unpaid company debts. This can be a crucial step in the successful liquidation of a company.

Asset Valuation and Sale

Company assets include any items of value owned, created, or benefitted from by a business, such as physical property, equipment, inventory, cash, investments, and intellectual property.

An RICS chartered surveyor is responsible for the asset valuation during the voluntary liquidation process, ensuring that assets are sold at a fair market value.

Proper asset valuation and sale are essential in maximising the funds raised during the liquidation process.

Working with an experienced insolvency practitioner and an RICS chartered surveyor can help ensure that the company receives the best possible value for its assets.

Prioritising Creditor Payments

The order of priority for creditor payments during company liquidation generally follows this sequence: secured creditors with a fixed charge, preferential creditors, secured creditors with a floating charge, unsecured creditors, and shareholders.

The precise order may vary depending on the relevant jurisdiction and type of creditors. Adhering to this order of priority is crucial, as creditors may have grounds to contest the liquidation process if the order is not followed.

Ensuring that creditor payments are prioritised appropriately can help avoid legal complications and ensure a smoother liquidation process.

Working with an experienced and licensed insolvency practitioner can provide guidance on the correct order of priority and help manage creditor payments effectively.

Legal Consequences of Failing to Liquidate Properly

Failing to properly liquidate a company can lead to serious legal and financial repercussions. Creditors may seek legal action against the company and its directors, and directors may be held personally liable for any unpaid debts.

Inadequate liquidation may also be viewed as misconduct, leading to disqualification for the directors involved.

Furthermore, not liquidating a company properly can have a detrimental effect on its credit rating, making it difficult to get credit rating secure future financing.

Understanding the legal consequences of failing to liquidate properly is essential for company directors.

Ensuring that the liquidation process is conducted efficiently and in accordance with the law can help avoid potential legal issues and protect the financial well-being of both the company and its directors.


In conclusion, facing insolvency and affording liquidation costs can be challenging for companies and their directors.

Understanding the options available, such as CVL and compulsory liquidation, and seeking the guidance of experienced insolvency practitioners is crucial.

Exploring financing options, such as personal contributions, payment plans with liquidators, and director redundancy claims, can help alleviate the financial burden of liquidation.

Selling company assets and prioritising creditor payments are also essential steps in the process.

By navigating the liquidation process effectively and understanding the potential legal consequences, directors can help ensure the best possible outcome for their company and its stakeholders.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I can’t afford a liquidator?

If you can’t or cannot afford to liquidate formally liquidate your business, you should seek the help of an insolvency practitioner and file for a formal insolvency liquidation procedure such as a Creditor’s Voluntary Liquidation (CVL).

This will ensure that you comply with legal requirements and maximise the chances of recovering funds for creditors.

What happens if I owe money to a liquidated company?

If you owe money to a liquidated company, you are still responsible for the debt even after the company is no longer in business.

However, the person or a separate legal entity, that you owe the money to may change during the liquidation process.

It is important to contact a legal professional to determine your best course of action.

Do I have to pay to liquidate a company?

Generally speaking, there may be certain costs associated with liquidating a company that can vary depending on the individual situation.

These costs can include legal fees, accounting fees, and other administrative costs. Additionally, there may be taxes or other liabilities that need to be paid off before the company can be dissolved.

What happens if a limited company can’t pay its debts?

If a limited company is unable to pay its debts, it is insolvent and may be subject to legal action.

The company’s creditors may take court action to recover the money owed, and the company may be placed into liquidation or receivership.

A director of an insolvent limited company also must consider whether there is any realistic prospect of the financial position of the insolvent limited company ever being restored.

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