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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 3671
Experience:  Bankruptcy, liquidations, administrations, pre pack sales, re use of company names and director duties and offences.
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Good day, I desperately need advice regarding threatening bailiffs,

Customer Question

Good day, I desperately need advice regarding threatening bailiffs, regarding monies that I owe. I am unable to meet my obligations and have moved premises and now live with my wife who started another business four months ago. I have been living here for the same time as well. Yesterday was the official last day of my business where I owed the money and I went and signed everything and came back. This morning I got a call from the baillifs threatening to take goods and even imprisonment. They also said that because I am married, they could take goods from my wife.
Please advise
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you for your question and welcome.
My name is ***** ***** I will assist you.
First point to note is that they cannot take your wife's assets they can only take the assets that you own personally or that are jointly owned (they can claim your share only of the jointly owned assets).
Are these bailiffs appointed by the court? Is their behaviour physically threatening?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi, no as far as I can tell, they may be appointed by the council. The only asset we really have is my wifes vehicle and our worldly goods. I am also in the process of bankruptcy proceedings.

The premises that we now reside in, is my wifes business, it is a public house and we live above it

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
What I suggest you do is the following:
1. Write to them and say you are in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings - once you are bankrupt they will be obliged to deal with the Official Receiver directly any way;
2. Tell then you are feeling harassed by their conduct and believe they have no lawful right to either say you will go to prison or have any claim to your wife's assets;
3. Tell them you will inform the when you have been made bankrupt but in the mean time if they continue you to harass you (or your wife), you will deem it unlawful harassment under S.40 of the Administration of Justice Act 1970 and reserve the right to either report the matter to the police or trading standards.
4. Say that you are putting them on notice not to disrupt your wife's business and your wife will seek to recover any losses she suffers from them as a result of their harassment - reiterate that your wife is not in any way responsible for your debts.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards
AJ
Alex J. and other Bankruptcy Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for that, I have spoken with them and informed them of the above, reiterating that it is my wires business and that I have no assets. That it was a prisononable offence, and that fraud was as well. They have insisted that they are still coming.

We live live up stairs, can they force entry into my home ?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for that, I have spoken with them and informed them of the above, reiterating that it is my wires business and that I have no assets. That it was a prisononable offence, and that fraud was as well. They have insisted that they are still coming.

We live live up stairs, can they force entry into my home ?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi again Alex
I am sorry to be so persistent, but this is extremely stressful and I don't know what to do. I have as I said actually started the process for bankruptcy and am just waiting for a call back. In the mean time, these bailiffs are on their way

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
They cannot force entry into your home and you do not have to let them in.
I would simply not answer door. If they disrupt your wife's place of business then she should consider calling the police.
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

We live on my wires business premises, above them to be exact. I have been told that they can come into a business premises as we are open to the public. If this is the case, can they force entry into our home upstairs.

Your help has been hugely appreciated

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

We live on my wifes business premises, above them to be exact. I have been told that they can come into a business premises as we are open to the public. If this is the case, can they force entry into our home upstairs.



Your help has been hugely appreciated

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
Can you lock the door to the upstairs?
Ultimately it is still your wife's property so she can exclude them.
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi yes, the door has a combination lock. I have secured the services of a company that will be assisting me with the bankruptcy, they have sent me documents in the mail, so that I may fill in and start the process

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
If you do not have any possessions at the property then I would recommend you vacate it before before the bailiffs arrive.
It is your wife's property and she does not have to let them enter the property.
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Alex, one thing I forgot to add, was that about two years ago, I was out of the country and we were in the process of changing bank accounts. My wife put the business account in her name, because I was not available at the time. Does this make her liable for any of my debts that I incurred. All of the debts are in my name and have been signed for by me.

Many Thanks

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you
No she cannot be held liable for your debts unless she has personally guaranteed them.
She may however have to explain to your trustee in bankruptcy (if that happens) why she put the account in her name.
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Alex, your advice has been truly helpful through these stressful times, thank you.
I have one final question to ask. It seems that I will be getting some money back after all of this. Roughly 28000 pounds. Not enough to get me out of trouble, so I will still proceed with the bankruptcy. We had to lend money from a cousin, as well as my mother to help us out. I want to pay them back first. I have proof that they deposited money into my account.
I will only be going through with the bankruptcy once I have been able to pay them out. I am sure that the receiver will see this when they look into my affairs, how can this affect me ?

Many thanks

Mike de Gouveia

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
The danger of paying your cousin and mother back from this money when you know you might go bankrupt is that the OR could view this payment as a preference under the Insolvency.
As these are people connected to you, repaying them as unsecured creditors just before you go bankrupt may give the Official receiver/trustee grounds to pursue them to unwind the repayment so they would just then be treated as unsecured creditors.
How much do you owe them both?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi

My cousin, I owe 9700 pounds and my mother over 70000 pounds.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi, well I guess that is not very good at all. I am reluctant to ask the following but have no option. What are the consequences of withdrawing the funds in cash and then dispersing them ? ……….. not good I am sure

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you.
I would only note that these are large sums of money and your mother and cousin could face a claim from your trustee/the Official Receiver if you go bankrupt within 2 years of making the repayment.
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Alex, not sure if you received the second part of my question. I only ask this because I have to. What are the consequences of withdrawing the money in cash and then dispersing the funds ?

I am sorry to have to ask this question.

Thanks

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
Withdrawing the funds and dispersing in cash may cause you problems especially if you are called in by the trustee to explain what you did with money. If you subject to a court examination and you lie under oath you could be in contempt of court.
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Alex

Its been a while since we past spoke, but it looks like I am sorting things out and am proceeding with my bankruptcy. I have managed to pay some of my debts off and will see the court for my case on 17th of April.
I have one last question to ask, I was out of the country and my wife signed a contract for a laundry service on my behalf.
The contract states that Ye Old Crown is the customer and my wife signed where it says customer signature.
As I have said before, I am a sole trader trading as Ye old Crown. They are now trying to hold her responsible for the outstanding debt.

Is she liable for this debt, which is mine ?

Kind regards
Mike de Gouveia

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
I am glad to hear things are progressing.
How much are they claiming? Who was their invoice addressed to?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks for your prompt response Alex. I do owe roughly £ 3300.I have a copy of an invoice and it is made out to Ye Old Crown, nowhere on the invoice does it mention my wires name, or even mine for that matter.

The same for the contract, but as I said, my wife signed for that.

Regards
Mike de Gouveia

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
My apologies for the delay.
Your wife should tell them they have no legal right to pursue her for the debt. If they continue to chase her you will report them to Trading Standards.
Can you tell me who the named parties are in the contract?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Alex

Thanks for the reply.

As far as I can see the contract is between Ye Old Crown (me) and Berendsen Linen (sunlight). I attach a copy for your perusal.

Attachment: 2015-04-02_081921_20150324162108.pdf

Attachment: 2015-04-02_081944_20150327144746.pdf

Regards

Mike de Gouveia

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
I will review this and revert to you as soon as possible.
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Alex, I am just following up on the last discussion we had.
You were going to review it and let me know.
Regards
Mike de Gouveia
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
My apologies unfortunately I did not have an internet connection over the weekend.
I will review this now.
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Alex, I don't mean to be impatient, but this company is putting a lot of pressure on me or should I rather say my wife. My bankruptcy application goes ahead on the 17th of this month, so hopefully everything will be ok then.
I just need to make sure that my wife does not get caught up in my mess.
Regards
Mike de Gouveia
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
Your wife seems to have signed this on behalf of the business. In theory she should not actually be liable for it.
Have they actually issued court proceedings against her?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi Alex
At this stage, they have not yet. They have said that they will now proceed with court action.
When we first discussed this issue with them, they said they would hold my wife accountable because she signed. She only worked for me and was paid accordingly.
Becacause of this threat, I did try to meet my obligation and managed to pay off £2000.
Subsequent to this all correspondence was sent to me.
The first letter was addressed to my wife but the demand was directed to Ye Old Crown.
Regards
Mike de Gouveia
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you.
The problem is if they want to commence proceedings against her that is their prerogative even if the action is unfounded. You would have to defend the proceedings. Your wife would have a defence that the service was provided to your business and she was signing as an employee of yours.
How much more are hey actually demanding?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi again Alex
They are asking for £3300. My latest situation is that I have now been declared bankrupt, but my head is still spinning with the stress of it all.
So just a few more queries.
The receiver has contacted me telephonically and has also set up a further date for another telephone interview.
I have told them how much I was paid out and who I paid back what monies to, they then asked for the names and addresses of these people, and I have given that to them.
My problem is that I cannot accurately account for about £11000 that was in my account, that I withdrew in cash over a period of time.

I have also helped my wife business to get on its feet, so that we may survive as a family.
The monies that I gave to her were withdrawn from my account and given to her in cash, that she deposited into her business account.

My first big question is that if I don't tell them that this money was given to my wife, are they able to ask to see her bank accounts regardless ?
I do understand that if I am unable to tell them to their satisfaction where all the monies went, that I could be held in contempt of court. What are the consequences of that ?
So as I asked above, would they have the right to look into my wife affairs ?
I only ask this, because it is critical for my families survival that her business is not affected.
Or do I tell them that I gave the money to her to pay for debts that her business had accrued starting up. Some were for vat, electricity and so on. She no longer has those funds, so would be unable to pay that back if asked, unless they let her pay it back over a period of time.

I do still feel obligated to pay my debts back and am confident that my wife will be in a position to help me do this. I would with her help be able to pay about £100 a week, so could pay everything back within three years.
Is this something that I could take to the bargaining table and is it something that they would normally entertain ?

I have no other assets to speak of, so its all about the monies that I ws paid out and I guess should have settled part of my debts, bit this was not doable, as we would have been destitute and on the streets.

I apologise for all the questions, but I have nowhere else to turn to.

Kind regards
Mike de Gouveia

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Alex, I am desperate for feedback as my appointment is for this Thursday.

Regards
Mike

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
My apologies I have only just received this.
The receiver can investigate your wife's affairs if there is an actual suspicion that she may have had the benefit of your assets in the 12 month period leading up to your bankruptcy. They cannot however just conduct a finishing exercise. I would ask the receiver to explain what information they require from you wife,in specifics if they ask at all.
Is there any proof these funds were paid into her account?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Alex

Thanks for coming back to me.

The monies were withdrawn as cash from my account . The monies were then paid in as cash on her account. (not /on the same day either, and I withdrew in various amounts - not one lump sum).

The only assets i have had is the money I was paid out in February 2015.

regars

Mike de Gouveia

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Alex

One thing I forgot to mention is that the final outgoing settlement statement from Marstons Brewery to me, which I had to disclose to the receiver.

This statement shows a final payout to me of £33125, this after they had deducted a further £2700, this was an advance for stock purchased for my wife business. They had invoiced it as such, naming my wife and the name of her business.
So, they may want that back as well and this could lead them to have grounds to investigate her account.
If this is the case, should I tell them about the other funds, even though they were deposited in cash ?
My real concern is that my wife has got her business up and running properly and it is starting to make money, but she would not have funds to reimburse, should they ask.

Thanks
Mike

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
Realistically how much do you think you paid to your wife in total?
Is her business in her name or a limited company name?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Alex

I have paid her £11000. We are currently separated, but she has let me stay here until I can get on my feet. This has been because of all the stress and failed business, I only mention this because I have had to pay to stay here, living costs, kids, food and so on.
Then there is also the matter that `i had not been paying my wife regularly and the amount that she should have received, so a fair bit of the £11000 was back pay. I don't know if that is relevant ?
The business is in her name, she is Michelle de Gouveia, T/a

Regards

Mike de Gouveia

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you.
Ultimately she will have to prove two things:
(i) She was owed this money; and
(ii) that you were not contemplating bankruptcy when the payment was made.
If she cannot go this the trustee may have grounds to claw some of the money back.
Can you she highlight all these payments in bank statements?
Kind regards
AJ