Areas Of Practice
Wills, Trusts, Estates & Probate - Estate planning is one of the most important steps any person can take to insure that their property and health care desires are known and followed and that their loved ones are provided for as they wish. A proper estate plan and Will are important regardless of the size of one's estate; a small estate needs consideration as does a larger one. The needs of minor children or elderly parents may require special planning and certainly a Trust for a minor child will avoid additional cost that could otherwise have been avoided with a properly prepared Will and Trust.
Dependent upon the size or complexity of one's estate, a Trust may be necessary to avoid or minimize estate taxes; this can be a lifetime Trust or testamentary (established in the Will). Often insurance Trusts provide a very beneficial estate planning vehicle. Family Limited Partnerships are often used in estate planning. Again, each person's needs are individual and must be considered and an appropriate plan established.
Probate can be made easy and the administration of one's estate can be accomplished in an expedient manner, but, again, correct planning is important. At that time, competent legal assistance is important to aid the family in this phase of life.
Estates or the parties may begin to litigate, either with authorities or between or among themselves. It should be the role of the attorney to try to aid the parties to prevent or avoid litigation. If that is not possible, an attorney with estate knowledge is important.
If one is contemplating beginning a business or is actually operating a business, a very first question is what type of entity the business should be operated under. Should a corporation be established, and what type of corporation should it be, or would a limited liability company be a better approach for your business? Would a partnership, general or limited, be more appropriate? Don't let these decisions frighten you away from a potentially successful business venture.
Under the broad scope of corporate law, you would select the appropriate entity; you would have correct documents prepared to establish the framework for you and your fellow stockholders or partners; buy-sell agreements and other documents that may be needed to enable your business venture to function correctly and in an advantageous way -- both from a tax standpoint and from a personnel standpoint --will be discussed and prepared. If copyright of business materials or the trademark of a unique business name or logo is needed, that, too, can and will be accomplished.
The initiation of a business often begins with the purchase of a business, or from the "other" side of the transaction, the sale of the business. A well thought out purchase and sale agreement is important for both the purchaser and the seller. There are often tax considerations; an agreement can be structured in a manner that will provide advantages on both sides. These decisions may play a major role in the decision as to what is the correct entity. There are often non-compete considerations, and again the properly prepared agreement can address these concerns. Whenever there are multiple parties involved, consideration should be given at the outset as to the relationship between or among the parties and their continuing participation in the operation and management of the business as well as the ultimate retirement or other termination of the relationship of the parties. These issues are typically addressed with buy-sell agreements.
Is the business hiring employees? Is the business going to secure the services of independent contractors rather than utilizing its own employees? Is the business, new or old, or is it borrowing money? Is one party lending money to the business? Are the parties being required to endorse or guarantee the business' obligations? What are the documents that may be required to protect the business and the party lending money to the business? These transactions need competent legal counsel.
Buying a home? Buying property for your business? Selling a piece of property or a tract of land? In any of these situations, the buyer or seller often needs an attorney. There is the sales contract to be prepared or reviewed; the title to the property needs to be examined; the real estate transaction needs to be closed and documents are needed to complete the closing. Whether it is a cash transaction or there is a bank or other loan involved, your attorney is an important part of the transaction.
Taxation is a very broad area. The consideration of taxes -- property, income, and estate -- may be involved in estate planning, in business matters and sometime in your "battles" with local, state, or federal taxing authorities. Seek advice, in the planning process, at the beginning, and in problems with taxing authorities, don't try to do it alone.
For all of these matters, simply secure competent advice and counsel.