Small business counsel can help owners avoid legal problems

It's complex and difficult to run a business. It takes hard work just to get a Tennessee small business off the ground, and in addition to basic operating needs, owners will also have to think about things that could cause legal problems down the road. With small business counsel, an entrepreneur does not have to face these matters alone, potentially avoiding issues that can be stressful and costly.

As they may in our personal lives, conflicts in business arise in relationships -- relationships between co-owners and business partners, relationships with customers and clients and relationships with suppliers, vendors and other external associates.

One more matter that can plague a small business are relationships with employees -- claims of harassment, discrimination or unlawful discharge. This is currently a hot-button issue, and it can lead to litigation or an expensive out-of-court settlement. One way owners can avoid these problems is to document interactions with employees carefully, have strict procedures and policies in place, and confront any allegations or signs of a problem immediately. Quick action can lead to a beneficial resolution, but allowing a matter to simmer can cause bigger problems down the road.

Work with counsel to stay ahead of your issues in all your business relationships and don't just wait to react to the crises.

Don't have kids? Estate planning is still important

When a Tennessee couple doesn't have kids, they may not see how important it is to make plans for the future. After all, when they don't have children, they may not give much consideration to what will happen to their assets, property and money after their deaths. In reality, there are many practical and important reasons why estate planning is still important in these situations.

Child-free couples still benefit from making plans for the future. One thing they can accomplish through their estate plan is to account for the care of a beloved pet in case of their death. They can name a person to take the animal and set aside money for his or her medical care and upkeep costs. Another thing a couple can do with an estate plan is outline the type of care they want for themselves in case of incapacitation. They can do this with various types of powers of attorney.

Estate planning with the needs of pets in mind

Making plans for the future is not always easy. In fact, it can be quite difficult for a person to think about the possibility of his or her passing and what will happen after. While it's not a pleasant thought, there are many benefits to estate planning and accounting for many things, including family pets. With the right plans in place and documents drafted, a Tennessee reader can look to the future with confidence.

Pets are often overlooked when a person is estate planning. When drafting a will, it's natural to consider things like what will happen to property and assets, but it is also smart to think about what will happen to a beloved family pet as well. Without addressing this issue, it is possible that the pet could end up in a shelter if the owner passes or goes to a nursing home.

What to do when you inherit a family business

When your parent established the small business that supported your Tennessee family for years, you may have had many conversations about you taking over the company when the time came. Perhaps your parent never defined what that time would be, but you assumed you would take over when your loved one decided to retire.

Like many business owners, your parent may have done little to prepare for this moment and may have figured you would simply step into the role at some point in the future. However, if your parent passed away without leaving a plan of succession or an estate plan, you may feel overwhelmed and uncertain about what lies ahead for the family business.

George Washington's example for estate planning

Tennessee readers understand how important it is to make plans for the future and ensure they have the right legal documents in place. Estate planning is a smart step for virtually everyone, regardless of age, health status, income levels and more. One person who provided a wonderful example of proper, thoughtful estate planning was George Washington.

Washington was more than a dedicated Revolutionary War hero and an exemplary first President of the United States. He was a thoughtful planner and family member, and he was very conscientious about what would happen to his estate after he passed. His will was thorough and detailed, and by doing it this way, he maintained final say over what happened to his property, money and other parts of his estate. 

Small business counsel can prove helpful for new entrepreneurs

Choosing the right structure for a new business is one of the most critical decisions made during the formation period. Entrepreneurs will have to make many choices in those initial stages that will affect how the business will operate, how taxes will be computed and more. There are many factors that go into making the right choice, and many business owners find it helpful to seek small business counsel as they take these steps. 

The choice of entity can allow the owner of the business to protect his or her own property and separate personal liability from any business liability. The choice of entity also affects how the company will pay taxes, whether the business can sell shares and how the business is managed. While it is possible to change the structure in the future, a Tennessee business owner will want to try and make the smart choice from the very beginning.

How to pass a business on to your family

Owning your own business has brought you much joy over the years. You have watched your business grow from its humble beginning to a successful company. As you are starting to get older, you realize as much as you enjoy running the business, it may be time to pass it on.

Creating a business succession plan helps ensure the future success of your business. It also gives you the opportunity to keep your company in the family. Here is what you need to consider when passing a business on to family members.

Where should a couple start with the estate planning process?

Planning for the future can be difficult for a Tennessee couple, especially when it comes to making legal and financial decisions that may not be effective until much later down the road. Estate planning can be a daunting process, and many people avoid it simply because they don't understand why they need to do it or where they should start. In reality, this is a smart step for everyone, regardless of income level or age.

One way that a couple can start the estate planning process is to take inventory of their estate. They may feel like they don't have much, but in reality, they probably have things like vehicles, savings accounts, a home, valuable collections and other things they want to address. They will also want to start by discussing potential estate beneficiaries.

Small business counsel good for uncertain times

It is impossible to predict the future, but there are steps that a Tennessee business owner can take in order to look forward with confidence. Things can happen, such as the death of the owner or other type of emergency, and having thorough plans in place will help ensure the continued operations of the company. With experienced small business counsel, a business owner can address important issues and formulate appropriate plans. 

After the recent unexpected death of a small business owner, his family faced difficult choices as they tried to decide whether they would continue his operations or sell. He had no succession plan in place or anything in writing that outlined what to do with the company. Ultimately, another family member stepped in to run the business, but that came with a difficult period of transition and uncertainty. 

The future of your business in this digital world

Like most Tennessee small business owners, you probably spend much of your time and energy keeping your business running and building its success. While you may have hopes of passing your business to your heirs or establishing it so that it provides for your family in the future, if you have not yet taken steps to implement these goals, you may leave behind a great deal of trouble.

Leaving our business unprepared for your eventual death or incapacity means your business, like your other assets, will go through the probate process. This could be devastating if your family depends on the income your business provides. However, creating a succession plan for your business is more complex than writing a will. There are many factors to consider and options to weigh, especially if your business includes digital elements.

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