Who Really Needs a Business Lawyer in Clinton?

To the average person, the term “business lawyer” or “corporate lawyer” may sound like something that only exists on Wall Street.  In reality, though, nearly every business in Clinton can and should use the services of a good business lawyer.  This means large and small businesses alike.

Business lawyers play a very different role than that of trial lawyers.  Rather than fighting one another, “opposing” attorneys are generally working together to bring about legal transactions between businesses.  It’s also very common for a business or corporate lawyer to help a business set up and review its contracts, to advise on tax issues and to help with the legal setup of the company.

A typical Clinton business lawyer may have expertise in one or more of the following areas:

  • Accounting
  • Bankruptcy
  • Contract Law
  • Intellectual Property
  • Licensing
  • Securities Law
  • Tax Law
  • Zoning

Each industry will have its own specific issues and concerns, too, so it’s possible for a business lawyer to focus his or her practice on a particular type of business.  In fact, some larger companies have their own corporate lawyers right on staff.

Business Planning

A business lawyer in Hinds County can have a really important impact on an individual business.  Not only can they protect it by making sure everything is up-to-par when it comes to setting up and running your business, but they can also help you plan for the future.  For example, is there a succession plan in place for when key personnel leave the organization, either expectedly or unexpectedly?  The ability for a business to survive in this circumstance can balance on how prepared it was for this kind of transition.

A related concern is what will become of the business should the owner (or one of the owners) die?  Who has rights to his or her shares, and how should that be handled?  Will the business be taken over by a family member, or will it be sold, shut down, or something else?  The business lawyer helps to lay out all the options and make determinations about the decisions that need to be made.

It’s also worth noting that many business lawyers in Hinds County have a wide skill set.  For example, in addition to business planning services, they may also provide personal estate planning for wills and trusts, assist with real estate transactions, and assist with divorces or prenuptial agreements.

Getting Help

Whether your business is large or small, a business lawyer in Clinton will help ensure you are set up on a proper foundation and that you are well prepared should you face lawsuits, creditors or unexpected transitions in the future.  To schedule an appointment with our business and estate planning attorneys, simply call (601) 925-9797.

Estate Planning for Your Small Business in Clinton

When it’s time to start your estate planning process (that time is right now, by the way), entrepreneurs need to remember to take their small businesses into consideration.  Whether you own the entire business outright and work for yourself or you simply own a portion of the entity, you will need to leave instructions for your family to follow.

By working with a Clinton business lawyer and/or estate planning attorney in advance, you can save your family, business partners, and even your customers from a lot of hassle down the road.  What happens to the business may depend on the form of ownership you have.

Sole Proprietorship:  Generally speaking, if a sole proprietor dies, the business can come to a rather abrupt end.  If there is someone you trust who is interested in taking it over when you are no longer able to run it yourself, it would be a good idea to stipulate that the assets of the business are inherited (or possibly purchased) by that individual.

Partnership:  If you have a formal partnership agreement, it may be that your partnership agreement has already laid out plans for what will happen when you or one of the other partners passes away.  However, so many general partnerships have no written agreement in place.  If not, then it makes sense to get together with the other partners to come up with a workable plan.  It’s usually not too difficult for this type of business to continue after the death of one partner, although the surviving partners may have to buy out your interest with the money most likely going to your heirs.

Limited Liability Company:  Unless you have stipulated otherwise in the operating agreement, an LLC will typically dissolve once one of the members dies.

Corporation:  When one owner of a corporation passes away, it doesn’t usually have major legal implications for the corporation.  Shares which the member held will usually be transferred to his or her heirs.  They may also be purchased by the corporation.  It’s not unusual for this topic to be addressed within a shareholder’s agreement.  Without some planning in place however, there may be nothing to require your heirs to sell their shares of the company to the other shareholders, or anything to require the remaining shareholders to purchase those shares.

Professionals:  If you are a lawyer, doctor, dentist, pharmacist, or other licensed professional, planning for your business upon your death or incapacity is especially important.  If a license is required for you to practice, only another licensed individual may wrap up or continue your practice.  Including a “Practice Administrator” as part of your planning will enable your loved ones to easily take care of your business; without one they may be stuck with a stranger running your affairs.  The law permits a very short time for a non-professional to sell or otherwise wind up the affairs of a professional practice.  Without a written plan in place, this can be difficult.

Any good business planning lawyer in Clinton will advise you on ways to help the business transition should you become incapacitated or deceased.  A common approach is to set up a succession plan.  There are many aspects to a succession plan, but some of the most important pieces include designating someone who will take over in your absence as well as training that person to be ready when the time comes.

Succession plans can seem a bit daunting, especially for the sole proprietor who hasn’t put much thought at all into if or how the business would survive without them.  Exploring these topics with a business planning or estate planning lawyer in Clinton will get you moving in the right direction, whatever your small business’ needs are.

Estate Planning For Small Business Owners

When you plan your estate as a small business owner you have to look at things differently than people who are not in business for themselves. In many cases the business may be your most significant asset, so when you are planning your estate you have to decide how to make the most of it. This is a very interesting subject, because many business owners who begin to formulate a longterm financial plan recognize that their intentions for the future have a great deal of impact on their decision making along the way.

For this reason it is important to decide whether you intend to deep the business intact and pass it along to the second generation so that they can continue to run it, or whether you plan on selling it. If you are passing it on you will want to focus on strengthening the foundation with reinvestments. Should you plan on selling the business marketability will be your primary concern.

Those who would like to keep the business in the family would do well to identify the successor or successors as soon as possible and let them know your plans. If the business rather suddenly falls into the lap of a successor who is not fully prepared its ongoing viability may be placed into jeopardy. Only 30% of family owned businesses make it through the second generation, and just 15% survive the third, so it is more challenging to maintain a family owned business over multiple generations than it may appear.

Another factor to consider if you are keeping the business in the family is how you are going to provide balanced inheritances. If you have two children and you are going to leave the business to one of them, how do you provide for the other? One option would be to take out a life insurance policy for the value of the business naming the child who is not going to inherit the business as the beneficiary.

If you have not yet begun to consider how to maximize the value of your business as a part of your legacy you may want to get started sooner rather than later, because the decisions that you make today will invariably impact what is possible in the future.