If my company owes a debt but has no assets, are my personal assets at risk?

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If my company owes a debt but has no assets, are my personal assets at risk?

I own a construction company that’s incorporated. I did work for a builder and they paid me but they went through bankruptcy during that time and they wanted me to send the money back (due to bankruptcy laws) but I didn’t because I had already used it on bills and employees. Now my company no longer has work or assets. A collection company is coming after my company assets but I have none. Can they come after my personal assets, if they can’t get company assets?

Asked on September 21, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Maryland

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If the company was a corporation, as you indicate, then creditors of the company would normally be unable to go after your personal assets for any company debts. The exception would be--and it's a VERY rare exception--if they can prove that the company was essentially just a "shell" and "fraud" on creditors (e.g. you co-mingled company and personal money, so that the company did not have an real independent existence, but you simply used it to hide from creditors)--in that case, they might be able to "pierce the corporate veil" and go after an owner's personal assets.

 


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