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Alaska Business Debt Relief Lawyers: Navigating the Complex Legal Landscape

Getting into business debt can happen easily these days, what with merchant cash advances, factoring agreements, SBA loans, and more. But when debt starts piling up and your Alaska business can’t keep up with payments, it can feel totally overwhelming. Where do you even start sorting through your options, let alone finding an empathetic lawyer to help you through it?This article aims to walk through some of the common types of business debt Alaskan companies take on, the laws and precedents that could impact your case, potential defenses to explore, and most importantly – how to find the right business debt relief lawyer for your unique situation. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, so being informed and working with an attorney who truly understands your business is key.

Common Types of Business Debt

First, let’s look at some of the common types of debt Alaska businesses take on that could land you in hot water if payments fall behind:

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SBA Loans

One of the most common sources of debt for small businesses, SBA loans are backed by the government and come with some unique provisions compared to regular bank loans. If you default, the consequences can be severe – like the SBA calling the loan, exposing your personal assets and guarantors to collection actions, garnishing tax refunds, etc.

Merchant Cash Advances (MCAs)

These aren’t technically “loans” but rather an agreement to purchase a percentage of your future sales. MCA companies provide you an upfront lump sum, but extract daily payments from your credit card receipts until the balance is repaid (plus very high fees/interest). If you can’t keep up with payments, MCA companies can freeze your accounts.

Factoring Agreements

Similar to MCAs, factoring involves selling your accounts receivable to a company at a discount. They provide you cash upfront, then collect directly from your customers’ payments later. If your customers don’t pay, you’re still on the hook.

Traditional Bank Loans

From equipment financing to lines of credit, regular bank loans also come with risks if you default. Your bank can sue, garnish wages, put liens on your assets, and tank your credit.

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Personal Guarantees

If you personally guaranteed any business loans or agreements, you could be held personally responsible for repayment – putting your personal assets at risk.

Alaska Debt Relief Laws & Precedents

Now that you know the types of business debt that could land you in hot water, let’s look at some of the key laws and legal precedents that could impact your case if you do default or fall behind on payments:

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

This federal law limits what debt collectors can do when pursuing repayment. Tactics like harassment, threats, calling at inappropriate times, misrepresentation, and more are prohibited. Violations may entitle you to damages.

Statute of Limitations

Alaska law limits how long a creditor has to sue you to collect on a debt. For written contracts, it’s 6 years. For oral contracts, it’s 3 years.

Bankruptcy Options

Filing business bankruptcy stops collections and wipes out or restructures debts. Chapter 7 liquidation, Chapter 11 reorganization, or Chapter 13 wage earner plans are potential options depending on your situation. The 2005 bankruptcy law changes made it harder to qualify though.

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Debt Settlement

Settling directly with creditors for less than you owe is another option. The creditor is not obligated to accept a settlement offer, but it avoids bankruptcy. Get any agreement for reduced repayment in writing.

Potential Defenses

If your creditors sue over unpaid business debts, there are a few potential defenses to explore:

  • Improper service – If you weren’t properly served notice of the lawsuit, the court may dismiss the case.
  • Expired statute of limitations – As mentioned above, creditors only have a certain timeframe to sue in Alaska. If it’s passed, raise this defense.
  • Unenforceable contract – You may be able to argue the original debt agreement is invalid for reasons like lack of consideration, duress, or unconscionability.
  • FDCPA violations – Sue creditors who harass you or misrepresent the debt per above. Their violations could invalidate the debt.
  • Lack of documentation – Creditors must prove the original debt agreement and amount owed. Make them provide it.
  • Inaccurate information – Dispute any errors in the claimed amount due or other false info.

The viability of these defenses depends on your specific circumstances, so talk to a lawyer about options. Don’t ignore legal notices – act quickly to protect yourself.

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Finding the Right Alaska Business Debt Relief Lawyer

If your business is struggling with unmanageable debt, partnering with an experienced Alaska attorney can help you navigate the complex legal landscape to find the most strategic solution. Here are tips for finding the right lawyer for your situation:

  • Specialization – Seek out lawyers who specifically focus on business debt relief, creditor negotiations, and bankruptcy. Their expertise will prove invaluable.
  • Experience – Ask about the lawyer’s track record dealing with your type of business debt. An attorney familiar with your creditors will know how to approach them.
  • Personality fit – You’ll be sharing sensitive financial details, so make sure you feel comfortable with and can trust the lawyer.
  • Cost structure – Discuss fee structures upfront so you know what to expect. Options like flat fees, hourly billing, or contingency arrangements are common.
  • Local reputation – Search online reviews and talk to people in your community to gauge lawyers’ reputations. Good standing with local courts is a plus.
  • Free consultations – Most lawyers offer free initial consultations, so meet with a few before deciding. Come prepared with details about your situation.
  • Bar association – Check that lawyers are licensed and in good standing with the Alaska Bar Association. Look into any disciplinary history.

Also consider checking with the Alaska Small Business Development Center for lawyer referrals or recommendations from local business groups like chambers of commerce. And don’t wait – the sooner you consult someone, the more options you’ll have. With an experienced Alaska debt relief lawyer guiding you, you can find the best path forward to resolve your business debts and get back on stable financial ground.

Delancey Street is here for you

Our team is available always to help you. Regardless of whether you need advice, or just want to run a scenario by us. We take pride in the fact our team loves working with our clients - and truly cares about their financial and mental wellbeing.

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