Absolute Priority

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Absolute Priority'

A rule that stipulates the order of payment - creditors before shareholders - in the event of liquidation. The absolute priority rule is used in bankruptcies to decide what portion of payment will be received by which participants. Debts to creditors will be paid first and shareholders (partial owners) divide what remains.

Regarding the estate of a deceased person, the absolute priority rule will ensure payment of outstanding debts before the distribution to beneficiaries.

Also known as "liquidation preference."

BREAKING DOWN 'Absolute Priority'

Absolute priority specifies the pecking order. Senior creditors always get first grabs at the proceeds from liquidation, and shareholders are the last to get paid. This rule provides a degree of protection to creditors in the event of insolvency or death. The division of benefits (cash) is not always the result of a bankruptcy. It can also occur due to the liquidation of assets in order to pay down a company's liabilities.

In estate cases if the resources of the estate are insufficient to pay off the debts, assets will need to be liquidated to handle the obligations.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Preferred Stock

    A class of ownership in a corporation that has a higher claim ...
  2. Official Committee Of Equity Security ...

    A small group of the largest shareholders in a company formed ...
  3. Chapter 11

    Named after the U.S. bankruptcy code 11, Chapter 11 is a form ...
  4. Bankruptcy

    A legal proceeding involving a person or business that is unable ...
  5. Chapter 7

    A bankruptcy proceeding in which a company stops all operations ...
  6. Liquidation

    1. When a business or firm is terminated or bankrupt, its assets ...
Related Articles
  1. Home & Auto

    Why Your Will Should Name Designated Beneficiaries

    Find out how to make the tough decisions when it comes to choosing who will receive your assets and how they will be paid out.
  2. Retirement

    Why You Should Draft A Will

    Don't trust the courts to follow your wishes - plan the distribution of your own assets.
  3. Investing Basics

    Knowing Your Rights As A Shareholder

    We delve into common stock owners' privileges and how to be vigilant in monitoring a company.
  4. Insurance

    Life After Bankruptcy

    Find out what you have to look forward to after filing for Chapter 7 or 13.
  5. Bonds & Fixed Income

    An Overview Of Corporate Bankruptcy

    If a company files for bankruptcy, stockholders have the most to lose. Find out why.
  6. Retirement

    What You Need To Know About Bankruptcy

    Don't choose this last-resort option until you learn how it will affect your future.
  7. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares JPMorgan USD Emerg Markets Bond

    Learn about the iShares JPMorgan USD Emerging Markets Bond fund, which invests in bonds of sovereign and quasi-sovereign entities from emerging markets.
  8. Investing Basics

    What's a Treasury Note?

    A treasury note is a U.S. government debt security that offers a fixed interest rate and a maturity date that ranges between one and 10 years.
  9. Investing

    Five Things to Consider Now for Your 401(k)

    If you can’t stand still, when it comes to checking your 401 (k) balance, focus on these 5 steps to help channel your worries in a more productive manner.
  10. Economics

    Explaining the Balanced Scorecard

    A balanced scorecard is a metric that measures a business’ performance.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What are the maximum Social Security disability benefits?

    The maximum Social Security disability benefit amount for a single eligible person in 2015 is $1,165 per month, but you can ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the relationship between the current yield and risk?

    The general relationship between current yield and risk is that they increase in correlation to one another. A higher current ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is a 'busted' convertible bond?

    In finance, a convertible bond represents a hybrid security that offers debt and equity features and risks. While a convertible ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Who or what is backing municipal bonds?

    Municipal bonds are backed by dedicated taxes or revenue sources related to specific projects, or by the full faith and credit ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the differences between debt and equity markets?

    The basic differences between the debt and equity markets include the type of financial interest they represent, the way ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What does it signify if the term structure of an interest rate's curve is positive?

    When the term structure of interest rates is positive, it is a signal to economists the short-term yields on similar bonds ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Financial Crisis

    A situation in which the value of financial institutions or assets drops rapidly. A financial crisis is often associated ...
  2. Election Period

    The period of time during which an investor who owns an extendable or retractable bond must indicate to the issuer whether ...
  3. Shanghai Stock Exchange

    The largest stock exchange in mainland China, the Shanghai Stock Exchange is a nonprofit organization run by the China Securities ...
  4. Dead Cat Bounce

    A temporary recovery from a prolonged decline or bear market, followed by the continuation of the downtrend. A dead cat bounce ...
  5. Bear Market

    A market condition in which the prices of securities are falling, and widespread pessimism causes the negative sentiment ...
  6. Alligator Spread

    An unprofitable spread that occurs as a result of large commissions charged on the transaction, regardless of favorable market ...
Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!