As someone who owns (or would like to start) a successful business, you have the passion, knowledge and skill needed to create, market and provide a quality product or service. However, starting, owning and operating a business often involves complex issues of contract, entity selection and tax law with which you may not have much experience. To optimize and protect the success of your business, it is important for you to work with an attorney well-versed in all of these areas of the law.
At Moertl, Wilkins & Campbell, S.C., our knowledgeable and experienced attorneys can assist you at all phases of business ownership:
- Entity selection and business formation
- Business operations – contract and document creation and review, keeping appropriate records
- Business succession planning
Entity Selection and Business Formation
There are a number of ways to structure ownership and operation of a business entity, including:
- Limited Liability Companies (LLC)
- Sole Proprietorships
Each of these options has advantages and disadvantages with regards to important factors such as:
- Ease of formation. How many and what type of documents will need to be filed with state and/or federal regulatory authorities to get the business up and running? How much will this cost?
- Ease of operation. How many and what type of reports or other documents will need to be filed with state and/or federal regulatory authorities on an annual basis? What kind of records will the business need to keep and maintain?
- Control and management. Who will be able to make legally binding decisions on behalf of the business?
- Tax efficiency. Will separate tax returns need to be filed for the business? At what level (e.g., individual or corporate) will profits be taxed?
- Liability protection. Who will be responsible for the business’ debts and other liabilities?
- Succession Planning. How easy will it be to transfer ownership of the business at a later date
(either by sale to a third party or by gift or inheritance to a family member)?
Our attorneys will take the time needed to learn about your situation and objectives, and then work with you to select the type of business entity most appropriate for your needs. As part of this process, we will prepare any documents needed to get your business up and running (such as an operating agreement or corporate bylaws) and registered with the relevant regulatory authorities.
Ownership and operation of a business often involves the preparation and review of various types of legal documents. While the needs of your business in this regard may vary depending on the manner in which your business is organized (for example, sole proprietorship versus a S-Corp) and the type of service or product your business offers, the attorneys of Moertl, Wilkins & Campbell, S.C., regularly assist clients with the review and preparation of:
- Corporate minutes and record books
- Contracts for the purchase or sale of goods
- Employment contracts
- Independent contractor agreements
- Non-compete agreements
- Real estate contracts
- Lease agreements
- Stock redemption agreements
The terms of any contract or agreement into which you enter may have significant and long lasting ramifications for you and the success of your business. Do not take the chance that you will inadvertently agree to something that is not in your best interests – contact an attorney at Moertl, Wilkins & Campbell, S.C., before signing anything!
Business Succession Planning
The goal of business succession planning is to ensure that ownership and operation of your business can be transferred as smoothly and efficiently as possible upon terms that meet your needs. Just like estate planning, business succession planning is not a “one size fits all” endeavor. The content and complexity of your business succession plan will depend on many factors, including:
- Type of business entity. For example, succession plans for corporations are typically more detailed and formalized than succession plans for sole proprietorships.
- Number of owners. A business held by many owners may need a more detailed succession plan than a business held by a single owner.
- Type of business. Does your business own real estate, or a lot of equipment and machinery? Is your business focused on manufacturing or retail? How many employees does your business have? All of these factors (and more) will influence the content and complexity of your business succession plan.
- Business continuation. Will the business continue to operate after you transition out of your ownership or management role? Are you trying to simply “close up shop,” or would you liketo sell or transfer the business in a way that will allow it to continue to exist and operate? Do you want to sell your ownership interest as a way to generate funds for retirement, or would you like to transfer your interest to a family member so they can continue the business after you are gone?
As with entity selection matters, our attorneys will take the time needed to learn about your unique situation and objectives and then work with you to create a business succession plan appropriate to your needs. We will also prepare any necessary documents (such as a buy-sell agreement).
Starting, owning and operating a small business can be both challenging and rewarding. Make sure that your business is organized and operated in the most beneficial and efficient way possible – contact an attorney at Moertl, Wilkins & Campbell, S.C. to discuss your business law needs today!