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    Joshua and Laura Meier Newport Beach Trust and Estate Planning Attorneys Focused on Helping Families with Young Kids
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    Category Archives: Business Ownership

    Why Every New Business Needs a Lawyer & How to Find a Great One

    Chances are if you are an entrepreneur, you have a little “issue” when it comes to controlling everything about your company — in other words, you find it hard to trust others when it comes to your “lawyer-consultation (1)baby.”

    But unless you are an experienced business attorney, you probably don’t have the knowledge — and most certainly the time — to understand the legal implications of just about every decision you will be making about your new business, including its structure, the agreements and contracts that will determine how your company will function and be profitable, and even hiring your first employee.

    While entrepreneurs are usually great problem solvers, a good business lawyer is trained to see potential problems before they can adversely impact your business or put your personal wealth at risk.

    A recent article at Entrepreneur.com provides entrepreneurs these tips for choosing the right lawyer for their business:

    1.  Look for a good fit.  Finding someone to meet all your legal requirements may be much easier than finding a good fit personally, but face it — you want to be in business with this person for the long haul, since his or her good advice can continue to keep you out of trouble and save you some serious cash by avoiding litigation.  Find someone you click with on a personal level and who can relate to what you need.  Most importantly, look for a lawyer who will be proactive

    2.  Do not use a friend.  You need someone with total objectivity, and you want to be able to be completely honest with your attorney, so usually choosing someone who is not already a personal friend is your best bet. If you do use a friend who you really trust, don’t do it for a trade. Pay  your lawyer. And make sure whoever you use really understands your business.

    3.  Ask for referrals.  If you know other attorneys or friends who have used business lawyers, ask them for a referral.  The interview those attorneys before making a commitment by phone or email.  Use our hiring guide to ask the right questions.

    4.  Stay away from DIY websites.  The do-it-yourself legal documents you can get online could get you into more trouble and end up costing you much more in litigation than you would have spent on a real, live, breathing attorney in the first place. If you are using a template document, have it reviewed by your lawyer before it’s finalized.

    5.  Consider size.  Law firms come in all sizes, with pros and cons for each.  Larger firms usually offer a fuller complement of resources, including multiple locations and more specialized practice areas., plus higher prices and less personalized services.  Smaller firms and solos are usually more hands-on and can be more economical.  Decide first what you need and choose the firm that can best deliver to those needs.

    Whether you’re starting or already running a business, the best time to hire a lawyer is before you need one.  Having a business attorney that understands the individual needs and unique circumstances of your company is key to helping your business thrive and prosper.  If you are interested in learning more about legal protection strategies for your business and how we work with you as a partner in protecting your company, call us today to schedule your comprehensive LIFT™ (legal, insurance, financial and tax) Foundation Audit.

    Small Business Owner Quandary

    The weak economy has been tough for
    small-business owners across the board … but for entrepreneurs in their 60s and
    70s, the consequences have been particularly vexing.

    The current recession has been
    tough on just about everyone, but few have felt such dire consequences greater
    than small business owners. This especially is the case when they are on the
    verge of retirement.

    The Wall Street Journal considered this topic in a recent article aptly
    titled “'The Economy Stole My Retirement.'

    If you are a small business
    owner on the one hand – a role that requires flexibility and ingenuity – and a
    baby-boomer on the other, then this recession has been more than a case of
    terrible timing. No, it’s thrust you into “business purgatory.” Do you find
    yourself with one foot in management and the other foot (or maybe just that big
    toe) in the golden sands of retirement?

    A baby boomer who is a small
    business owner faces a very tough call right now. Should he or she sell for the
    best offer today, which is generally the low-ball offer, or hold out for some
    future value which more accurately reflects what the business is truly worth? A
    tough call, indeed.

    For the owners of small
    businesses and the heads of family businesses, make no mistake about the
    difficulty of your position. It’s impossible to foretell the future, but since
    you already know what is most valuable to you (your family and your business),
    take the time to carefully weigh your options and contact Meier Law Firm to discuss your options.

    This is not the time to make
    emotional decisions.

    Reference: The Wall Street
    Journal
    (September 12, 2012) “'The Economy Stole My Retirement'

    The Tender Intersection of Your Estate And Business Planning

    In the early days of starting a business, you might be tempted to gloss over ownership structure, equity stakes, and other seemingly boring details. After all, you might think, as long as you keep taxes low, paperwork uncomplicated, and partners motivated, better to deal with the big stuff first. But these decisions can have a significant cost down the road…

    Planning for your estate is, more often than not, an activity of coming to understand your estate and the nature of the things you own. If you’re a small business owner, it’s often more important to come to terms with the nature of your business and your ownership in it earlier rather than later.

    As pointed out in a recent article over at BusinessWeek, ownership is an integral concept to think through at the point of start-up, but it’s important to remember to think in the long-term, too.

    The shape that you give a business will, in the many ways discussed in the article, shape the way it is perceived and received by potential investors. Likewise, though, the initial allocation of rights and ownership will shape both the long-term capabilities of the business and the nature of the business assets that figure into your estate.

    The many complications and folds take time to understand, and often rely entirely on the individual circumstances, and for that reason it’s important to form a thoughtful plan, or risk losing sight of the long-term goals of the business and for your assets.

    To form a business, then, is a balancing act. While you balance between profit and loss, you also need to balance between present and future, to include between present business and future
    wealth transfers.

    Reference: Businessweek (February 22, 2012) “Structuring a Business with Investors in Mind




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