Posts Categorized: Business Law

4 Reasons Why Estate Planning Is So Essential For Business Owners

When it comes to creating an estate plan, most people typically think of a will. While it’s possible to leave your business to someone in your will, it’s far from the ideal option. That’s because upon your death, all assets passed through a will must first go through the court process known as probate.

During probate, the court oversees your will’s administration to ensure your assets (including your business) are distributed according to your wishes. But probate can take months, or even years, to complete, and it can also be quite expensive, which can seriously disrupt your operation and its cash flow. What’s more, probate is a public process, potentially leaving your business affairs open to your competitors. READ MORE

Are Family Limited Partnerships under Attack?

An FLP is a business entity created under state law to hold and manage the property. It comprises partners that can be either individuals or other entities such as trusts and limited liability companies (LLCs). An FLP must have at least one general partner liable for the partnership’s debts and liabilities. The other partners can all be limited partners, which means they are personally insulated from liabilities arising within the partnership. The partnership is generally protected from liabilities that a limited partner may incur outside the partnership.

In an estate planning context, FLPs are often created when a parent or parents own property such as real estate or business interests that they would like to retain control and management of but at the same time want to begin the process of transferring to their children for transfer tax purposes. The parents can form the FLP with themselves (or another entity such as an LLC they own) as the general partner and name their children (or trusts created for their children’s benefit) as limited partners. READ MORE

10 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Family Business Lawyer™

Without the guidance and support of trusted legal counsel, you are likely not aware of all the ways your business is leaking money, putting yourself and your family at risk, and possibly limiting the positive impact you have on the lives of your clients.

Beyond those potential issues, if you are handling all of your company’s legal, insurance, financial, and tax decisions yourself, you’ll likely get overwhelmed by all the necessary pieces required to run a business daily – crunching numbers, negotiating contracts, dealing with insurance, and preparing your taxes – and something will suffer. READ MORE

5 Mistakes Start-ups Make When Forming Their Business

It seems that everywhere you look, a new start-up is trying to make it big with a game-changing idea. But it’s only the ones that can turn that idea into a reality that reach business success. Too many start-ups fail to transition from concept to execution or encounter significant setbacks along the way. While developing your growing start-up, don’t make the common mistake of disregarding tedious but vital tasks such as making sure all your legal, insurance, financial, and tax ducks are in a row. 

Establishing a solid legal system can help you avoid costly mistakes and save time and stress down the road. Many entrepreneurs struggle with developing such systems because they don’t foresee the most common mistakes start-ups make. Avoiding these only takes a little self-awareness and planning, so read on to learn how to sidestep the five biggest legal mistakes a start-up can make. READ MORE

Why Operation Agreements Are a Must For Business Owners

As with so many things in life, some of the same qualities that help small businesses succeed can also lead to their demise. Fortunately, much of that risk can be lessened through operational excellence.

For example, the owners and managers of small businesses often know each other before going into business together. Sometimes, they’re even related. Preexisting relationships can help propel small businesses forward, especially when there are high levels of trust and competence.

Unfortunately, however, familiarity is sometimes accompanied by a lax attitude toward operational formalities. Owners and managers may skimp in critical areas such as:

Governing documents such as articles of incorporation, partnership agreements, and bylaws;

Solid or regular auditing and accounting practices; and

Shareholder meetings and minutes. READ MORE

With Tax Laws in Flux: What Should Business Owners Do Now?

If you read last week’s blog titled, “House Democrats Propose Sweeping New Changes To Tax Laws That Stand To Have Major Impact On Business Taxation and Estate Planning—Part 1” or if you’ve been following the news about the coming changes, you know that none of us know what will ultimately happen – or even when we will know the final outcome.

Given that the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was not passed until December 2017, and the same thing could happen here, with some provisions potentially impacting your taxes this year, as well as provisions that could impact decisions you’d make for next year, but those decisions must be made now, what should you do? READ MORE

House Democrats Propose Sweeping New Changes To Tax Laws That Stand To Have Major Impact On Business Taxation and Estate Planning – Part 1

On September 13, 2021, Democrats in the House of Representatives released a new $3.5 trillion proposed spending plan that includes a wide array of changes to federal tax laws. Specifically, the Democrats have proposed a number of significant tax increases and other changes to fund the plan, including increases to personal income tax rates and READ MORE

3 Pitfalls To Avoid When Buying An Existing Business

Whether it’s your very first or your fifth company, if you’re looking to start a new business venture, you have two options: 1) build your own from scratch or 2) buy an existing one. And while many entrepreneurs dream of building their own company from the ground up, the reality is, launching a brand-new business can be incredibly difficult.

Building a business from scratch can involve years of working long hours for little to no financial reward. In fact, whether your company is ever able to generate a profit or not, starting your own business can consume your life like few other activities. What’s more, no matter how much you sacrifice, there’s no guarantee the venture still won’t fail miserably.

On the other hand, buying an existing business and successfully making it your own can be somewhat less stressful. After all, you’re buying an operation that has already proven successful, with an existing customer base, brand recognition, and cash flow. READ MORE

A Not-So-Happy Accident: Bob Ross’s Estate Planning Failures Leave His Son With Next to Nothing – Part 2

Bob Ross’ planning failures led to an ugly court battle between his former business partners and his family, who were fighting for control of the lucrative intellectual property rights to the Bob Ross brand.

Unfortunately, Bob’s son Steve ultimately lost his fight to benefit from the business empire built on his father’s persona and painting skills. Here in Part Two, we’ll explain the steps you can take to ensure that your loved ones don’t suffer the same fate and are able to fully benefit from all of your business assets following your death.

When it comes to the ownership of business assets, the legal agreements governing the ownership rights of a business are what determines who owns the business and its assets upon the death of an owner, regardless of what your estate plan says. This is why it’s essential that you make certain that any business agreements you enter into are in coordination with your estate plan. We can help you do this as long as we know about all of your business holdings, including your intellectual property and business entities when we handle your estate planning with you. READ MORE

The Big-Time Benefits Of Hiring Your Kids

One of the biggest benefits of running a family business is being able to employ your minor children. By hiring your kids, you have the opportunity to teach them the value of hard work, give them experience managing money, and support them to save for their future. READ MORE

A Not-So-Happy Accident: Bob Ross’s Estate Planning Failures Leave His Son With Next to Nothing – Part 1

As the host of the wildly popular The Joy of Painting TV series on PBS, Bob Ross became a pop-culture icon, who was equally famous for his giant head of hair, soothing baritone voice, and folksy demeanor as he was for his iconic landscape paintings. And like so many other artists, Bob’s artwork and image would become even more popular following Bob’s death in 1995.

Bob’s philosophy in both painting and life was that there “were no mistakes in life… just happy little accidents.” Sadly, as detailed in the recent Netflix documentary Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed, Bob’s failure to coordinate his business agreements with his estate plan was anything but happy, leaving his only son largely unable to benefit from his father’s fame and fortune.

As we’ll discuss in this series, Bob’s planning failures have led to an ugly court battle between his former business partners and his family, who were fighting for control of the lucrative intellectual property rights to the Bob Ross brand. READ MORE

5 Mistakes To Avoid When Investing In Business Insurance

Business insurance is your first line of defense in protecting your company from a wide variety of different potential threats. Without the right insurance or with too little of the insurance you do need you could be at great risk from the costs of a lawsuit, judgment, or in the event of an unforeseen emergency or disaster. READ MORE

4 Factors To Consider When Choosing a Business Entity – Part 2

When starting a business, you have to make a ton of different decisions. From deciding what to name your company to hire employees, getting your business off the ground comes with a nearly endless number of decisions.

Last week in part one, we discussed the first two of four leading factors to consider when selecting your entity, and here, we cover the final two.

Properly selecting, setting up, and maintaining your business entity is far too important of a task for you to try to handle all on your own. We offer you trusted advice on the most advantageous entity for your particular business and then help ensure that your entity is properly set up. We can also provide you with sound business systems to make your business more efficient and establish a clear separation between your business and personal finances, which is a crucial part of maintaining your entity’s liability protection. READ MORE

4 Factors To Consider When Choosing a Business Entity – Part 1

When starting a business, you have to make a ton of decisions. Deciding what to name your company and hiring employees, what kind of products or services you should sell, and how to fund your operation, getting your business off the ground comes with a nearly endless number of decisions.

all these decisions, perhaps none is more important or has a more significant impact on your success (or failure) than your choice of business entity structure. Indeed, the entity you choose for your business will affect everything from the amount of taxes you pay and what kind of records you are required to keep to how vulnerable your assets are to lawsuits incurred by your company. READ MORE