What to look for in A Farm Bankruptcy Attorney.
First and foremost, understanding the business of agriculture is very important. If the attorney has a solid understanding of the business of agriculture, it will be much easier for the farmer to educate the attorney on his farming operation rather than needing to teach the attorney the basics of farming. Being raised on a farm and having studied agriculture are indispensable attributes for an attorney representing the financially troubled family farmer. We have extensive farm experience through our families' farms. You can rest assured you will not be needing to explain your farming operation to us.
Experience in the tax implications of a farm restructuring both inside and outside of bankruptcy is essential. Failure to fully consider the tax consequences when negotiating with creditors can result in the farmer incurring unexpected income taxes that can cripple their farming operation. Questions abound regarding handling income taxes resulting from the gain on the sale of farm assets. Some can be dealt with in a properly planned Chapter 12 bankruptcy. Questions also arise regarding discharge of indebtedness, which the IRS and state departments of revenue will treat as income that may be taxable depending on the situation. If tax considerations are not properly analyzed, the solutions achieved in negotiations with creditors and landlords may well lead to significant tax problems that could prohibit a successful resolution of a farm’s financial problems.
An attorney’s experience representing Debtors in business bankruptcies is very important. This includes experience in both Chapter 11 (general business bankruptcy) and Chapter 12 bankruptcy (farm bankruptcy). Unfortunately, there are few bankruptcy attorneys who represented farmers in the 1980s who are still practicing and representing farmers today. Many have retired. Many have moved on to other practice areas or now exclusively represent creditors. We have experience with Chapter 7, 11, 12, and 13.
It is important that you select an attorney that understands the law, understands your farming operation, and has your your interests at heart. Our law office has all this, and then some, and can effectively represent you.
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