Insolvency and bankruptcy in Spain

1. Video Presentation

Bankruptcy (concurso de acreedores) is a legally declared inability or impairment of ability of an individual, self-employed worker or company to pay their creditors. Creditors may file a bankruptcy petition before Spanish Courts against a debtor (concurso necesario) in an effort to recoup a portion of what they are owed or initiate a restructuring. In the majority of cases, however, bankruptcy is initiated by the debtor (concurso voluntario).

2. Why should I file for bankruptcy?

It is recommended for individuals to file for bankruptcy in case of having many debts and not enough assets to face them. By doing so, seizures may be stopped and accrual of interests may also be stopped. Further, one may delay and/or reduce payment of debts.

Self-employed workers or companies owing money are recommended to file for bankruptcy for the same reasons mentioned above.

On the contrary, if we are owed money, we may file for bankruptcy and may get the payment of our credits even with the debtor’s personal assets, among other advantages explained below.

3. Who may file for bankruptcy?

Individuals, self-employed workers, companies and other organizations are entitled to file for bankruptcy before Spanish Courts.

Individuals, whether self-employed or not, as consumers, may be declared bankrupt under Spanish law, for not paying their loans, mortgages or any other type of obligations.

Companies that may be declared bankrupt are those registered with the Mercantile Registry or that legally cannot be registered, or those companies registered in Registries other than the Mercantile Registry.

Bankruptcy may be filed by the debtor (concurso voluntario, voluntary bankruptcy) or by the creditor (concurso necesario, mandatory bankruptcy).

If we are the beneficiaries of an inheritance with existing debts to be paid, it is recommended to file for bankruptcy; however, this may only be possible if the inheritance has not been already accepted.

4. Who must file for bankruptcy?

Debtors must file for bankruptcy within 2 months from the time when insolvency occurs; otherwise, the debtor may incur certain legal liabilities that may be claimed by creditors.

The creditor must file for bankruptcy rapidly as soon as he/she foresees the insolvency of the debtor and that the credits will be difficult to be paid.

5. Where should the petition for bankruptcy be filed?

A petition for bankruptcy must be filed before a Mercantile Court (Juzgado de lo Mercantil) with jurisdiction on the debtor’s registered address. The assistance of a lawyer and a procurator (court attorney) is always required.

6. Main requirement to file for bankruptcy in Spain

Insolvency of debtors is the main requirement to file for bankruptcy in Spain. Stopping paying a few bills is not enough to be declared bankrupt, as proof of insolvency is always required.

Insolvency may be current insolvency or insolvency that is foreseen to happen in the near future; in any case, insolvency must be proven before the Court.

7. Advantage of bankruptcy for the debtor

The main advantages of a bankruptcy case for the debtor are the following:

  • Other foreclosures or garnishments may be stopped. In case the insolvency arises from a monetary loan, the financial institution that granted the loan will be prevented from requesting seizure of our assets, subject to certain legal requirements. In the case a debtor company files for bankruptcy, it may also stop seizures of its own assets.
  • Accrual of interest from loans may also be stopped.
  • It may be possible to enter a restructuring agreement with the creditors through the Mercantile Court, in order to reduce our debts and/or to delay the payment of debts.

8. Advantage of bankruptcy for the creditor

The main advantage for the creditor that files for bankruptcy first is to get a privilege over the others by obtaining payment of 25% of their total credits more than the other creditors.

The such creditor will also enjoy another advantage, i.e. the debtor will be required to deposit the amount owed to the such creditor before the court.

In certain cases, creditors may get the payment of their credits even with personal assets owned by the directors of the debtor company if the company’s assets are not enough.

9. How can our lawyers help you?

Whether you need to file for bankruptcy to give your company a fresh start, to stop foreclosure, or to defend your interests as a creditor, iAbogado’s English-speaking lawyers have the knowledge and experience to guide you through the intricacies of Spanish bankruptcy law. Start now by setting up a consultation on bankruptcy with one of our lawyers.


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