Director Safiyah Ebrahim Cook is a registered insolvency practitioner who accepts appointments from the Master of the High Court to act as a liquidator or trustee in the winding up of insolvent estates. Safiyah also leads our insolvency lawyers team.

Who needs a debt settlement attorney?

Do you find yourself drowning in debt without enough resources to pay it back, creditors nipping at the heel with strongly worded emails, official sounding letters, and more than a few phone calls a day? It’s not that you don’t want to pay your creditors, but rather that you simply can’t. Any number of things may have happened – you or your significant other may have fallen ill. Your car may have broken down. Your home may have needed immediate repairs. More importantly, you may be owed money and may be in a similar situation that your creditors are in. Debt can be a result of poor planning and careless spending habits just as much as it can be a result of unforeseen holdups in your cash flow due to a defaulting debtor. This puts you in the same boat as the people you in turn owe money to but can’t pay back due to an unsteady cash flow. It’s a vicious circle that can eventually lead to ruin.

This is where a debt settlement attorney comes in. A debt settlement attorney might be able to help lower your debt, consolidate it, or put you on a payment plan. This is all provided that it is unsecured debt which didn’t require collateral. This is all well and good, but the best outcome would be to have monies owed to you promptly paid so that you can in turn settle your debts without resorting to the aforementioned.

Creditors take huge risks on unsecured loans and will generally rather negotiate than write the debt off. This isn’t the best-case scenario, but when it gets to the point where a debtor faces the potential of bankruptcy, the creditor may at least agree to a reduced amount. Should you enter bankruptcy, they will have received nothing, this is the worst-case scenario and means that your creditor loses all the way. In many instances, they will rather opt to receive partial repayment than nothing. By making use of the services of a law firm to act on your behalf in collecting the debt you stand a much higher chance in getting defaulting debtors to pay, this means that your debt can then more quickly be settled without entering into negotiations. You get your outstanding money, your creditors get theirs, and business relationships are maintained.

Some debt settlement attorneys work on contingency, which means that you don’t owe anything upfront but they will take a percentage later on if you win the case. The same principles apply to debt collection, where the law firm will assess your prospects of recovery and then enter into a contingency fee agreement with you.

It may seem tempting to represent yourself in debt collection in order to cut costs, but hiring a professional law firm will greatly increase your chances of success. Communication via a law firm generally carries far greater weight. A law firm with commercial law experience knows how to negotiate, understands commercial contract law, and will be able to advise you on how best to proceed.

It should be noted that in some cases a debt settlement attorney might not be successful and bankruptcy might be the only viable option. In such cases, Van Zyl Ebrahim Cook Attorneys Incorporated has substantial experience in insolvency law and will be able to assist you through this trying time.

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Bankruptcy can be one of the most difficult things any company can go through. The stress inherent to the process is exacerbated by the complex forms, processes, court appearances, liquidation of assets and so much more. It’s something no one wants to go through and when it happens it means massive changes to your life. There is no way in which to make it pleasant or easy, but hiring a bankruptcy attorney can alleviate stress and provide clarity throughout the process. There is nothing worse than feeling completely lost but with a professional ally to assist you along the way, you’ll find the process less intimidating.

People often mistake bankruptcy and insolvency to be the same thing. Read more about the difference between bankruptcy and insolvency in this article.

There is a positive side to going bankrupt – the debt that may have been weighing you down over the last few months or years no will no longer be a burden. There is hope in the chance to start fresh and make the right choices from the onset, preferably with the assistance of an experienced commercial attorney – read more about that here.

That being said, getting over the initial hurdle, having company assets liquidated, attending court and completing the vast amount of paperwork, and paying creditors all needs to be done. A bankruptcy attorney will do all of these tasks for you. They will investigate and determine what went wrong and who was responsible. They will do so without making mistakes so that the process can be handled as efficiently as possible.

A bankruptcy attorney will also approach the situation from a calm perspective. Many people impacted by the bankruptcy process can become emotional and may make errors due to their impaired judgment. Approaching bankruptcy from a calm perspective greatly reduces the potential of making mistakes.

Access to a source of sound, authoritative advice throughout the process is also an oft-overlooked but crucial benefit that comes with hiring a law firm experienced in commercial law. You’ll be advised as to which type of bankruptcy you should be filing for and will be carefully and professionally guided along the way, from the onset until the process’s completion.

At the end of the day, bankruptcy is synonymous with failure, and it’s not something anyone wants to experience. That being said, when the process is handled as efficiently as possible, adhering at all times to the correct country-specific guidelines, it can mean an end of one venture which could lead to the beginning of another.

Van Zyl Ebrahim Cook Attorneys Incorporated offers insolvency practice as a core part of our practice. We can assist with applying for an individual’s sequestration or a company’s liquidation. Here we require the reasons for applying for sequestration and or liquidation, which is then set out in a court application. Once we obtain the court order, a trustee or liquidator is then appointed and they deal with meeting with the insolvent or directors of a company, determining reasons for insolvency, holding enquiries if need be, liaising with creditors and making payment to creditors.

Get in touch with us via our contact page or give us a call. We look forward to learning about your business and seeing how we can best help you.

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People often mistake bankruptcy and insolvency to be the same thing. The terms invoke similar visions of financial hardship and this frequently leads to the general assumption that the terms are interchangeable when they are, in fact, quite different, although the one is very much a product of the other. We’ll take a closer look at the differences between bankruptcy and insolvency and how they are linked.We’ll also take a look at the role of an insolvency practitioner in the insolvency process.

So, right off the bat, what’s the big difference? You can be insolvent without being bankrupt. Being insolvent simply means that you are unable to pay debts when they are due – this applies to both individuals and legal entities like companies and corporations.

Insolvency can be remedied, it’s not the last straw for your business and can quite easily just be a temporary state. If money is owed and there simply isn’t enough money to make the payment, a loan can be made in order to settle the outstanding payment – insolvency solved. The problem here is that there is obviously something wrong with the individual or legal entities’ cash flow situation. Unless attention is given to making a change, the problem will simply re-emerge at a later date. It could even be that you have debtors who owe outstanding money to you, in which case we recommend checking this article out over here.

It’s important to know that there are two types of insolvency:

Cash Flow Insolvency

If a person or company does not have the requisite form of payment in order to settle the debt but are able to liquidate (sell) assets in order to settle debt. It goes a little deeper in that: Current and future cash flows need to be determined and if there is simply not enough cash flow to resolve outstanding debt in the long term, things might lead to bankruptcy. If, on the other hand, the financial situation is temporary, the insolvency will be temporary.

Balance Sheet Insolvency

A balance sheet insolvency test is required to determine whether the company will manage to pull through or will have to file for bankruptcy. If total assets are less than liabilities, the business is balance sheet insolvent. If a company can maintain cash flow solvency, by having enough cash to meet its obligations, it is balance sheet insolvent, it can continue to operate without going into bankruptcy.

An insolvency practitioner will “step into the shoes” of the insolvent and work to determine causes for insolvency and, if necessary, process liquidation of assets and pay creditors what they are due in a specific order.

Van Zyl Ebrahim Cook Attorneys Incorporated offers insolvency practice as a core part of our practice. We can assist with applying for an individual’s sequestration or a company’s liquidation. Here we require the reasons for applying for sequestration and or liquidation, which is then set out in a court application. Once we obtain the court order, a trustee or liquidator is then appointed and they deal with meeting with the insolvent or directors of a company, determining reasons for insolvency, holding enquiries if need be, liaising with creditors and making payment to creditors.

Director and insolvency practitioner Safiyah Ebrahim Cook was registered on the National Masters List of Insolvency Practitioners in 2015 and is a practicing member of the South African Restructuring and Insolvency Practitioners Association (SARIPA). Safiyah heads our insolvency practice and team, which is operated by qualified, experienced attorneys and assisted by accountants.

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Filing for bankruptcy (the correct term for this is insolvency) may seem terrifying. It’s one of those things that no one wants to experience, but when it comes down to it, filing for bankruptcy can assist you greatly in getting rid of debt that may have otherwise been causing you a great deal of stress and stymieing future plans. An individual would apply for his / her sequestration and a company would apply for its liquidation.

People often mistake bankruptcy and insolvency to be the same thing. Read more about the difference between bankruptcy and insolvency in this article.

One of the greatest challenges is knowing how to go about the process while retaining your sanity – there is an immense amount of paperwork, and without anyone to advise you in the many steps to be taken, it can be a seemingly insurmountable task. This is where a bankruptcy lawyer comes in.

A bankruptcy lawyer will first ascertain what kind of bankruptcy you should be filing for. They’ll carefully take stock of the situation and pinpoint any possible issues that may arise in the form of risks or other difficulties. This is a vital part of the process, where you could save yourself a lot of additional trouble down the line. The aim is to have the process proceed as smoothly as possible.

Your bankruptcy lawyer will file and prepare all of your paperwork. Yes, that’s right, those mountains of paperwork we were discussing just a second ago? Your lawyer will take care of them. More importantly, your paperwork will be correctly prepared and filed, thereby helping to eliminate any risk of error.

They will provide you with advice and inform you of how best to proceed along the way. This is invaluable, as most business owners don’t have anyone to turn to when filing for bankruptcy. Either that or they may want to maintain a degree of discretion and not advertise their financial difficulties. Your bankruptcy lawyer will act in confidence whenever possible, assisting you in making the best decisions and preparing you for the steps to come. This oft-overlooked part of the services can make the process less stressful and can help in laying the groundwork for a new start.

You will also need to attend at least one hearing. The first being compulsory and further hearings may be required depending on the case. We all know that it’s never a good idea to represent yourself in court. A bankruptcy lawyer will represent you at hearings, making sure that this part of the process is handled in the most professional manner.
Your bankruptcy lawyer will have an understanding of country-specific laws that you may not, especially if you are based abroad. This expertise will go a long way in speeding the process along by ensuring that errors are not made.

Van Zyl Ebrahim Cook Attorneys Incorporated is a legal firm based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Should you require the services of a bankruptcy lawyer, get in touch here.

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