By: Lori T. Williams, Owner/Managing Attorney of Your Legal Resource
Entrepreneurs often wear many hats, and must determine what to do for themselves and what to outsource to others. One of the areas where outside expertise can be extremely critical, is when it involves the law. Here are 4 examples where legal counsel could be helpful for your business.
Creating the Proper Structure For Your Business
The proper formation and legal structure of your business is important for both tax consequences and liability purposes. CPA’s and business attorneys can help advise you about these issues, so you can make the best choice for your legal entity.
Protecting Your Intellectual Property
Do you have something you designed for your business that is unique and should be protected? Intellectual property attorneys can help you obtain a patent, copyright or trademark, as well as argue the merits of your legal protection if someone tries to infringe upon your intellectual property.
Proper Counsel As You Grow
Proper planning in the beginning stages of your business can be a critical step in avoiding problems between business partners or owners. An operating agreement is advisable when 2 or more parties are operating a business. At a minimum, this document spells out job functions and responsibilities, percentages of ownership, division of profits and losses or liabilities. If your business has employees, then an employee handbook is advisable. This document spells out the rights and responsibilities of employees, applicable benefits and compensation, disciplinary procedures for misconduct, and termination policies. General policies and procedures of the business are also important and in some cases required, depending on whether your industry is a regulated one such as Healthcare or financial services.
Estate Planning/Succession Planning
If one of the key officers or owners of a company is injured, disabled, or suffers from an early death, failure to properly plan for such events could mean the demise of the business as well. By working with your estate planning attorney, CPA, and financial advisor, you can protect your business with the proper insurances, wills, trusts, and operating agreements or buy sell agreements that are triggered at the time of injury, disability, and/or death of owners, officers, and/or key employees of a business.
Points For You To Ponder and Share:
Did you seek legal counsel at any stage of your business? If so, what stage and what advice did you find helpful?
What challenges, if any, did you encounter in your search for the right legal counsel? (Cost, expertise, where to find attorney?)
What other business resources or advice have you needed or do you currently need in your business?