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Limited Liability and Getting Started With Business Formalities

Business Attorneys are often asked how limited liability works, because this is often one of the greatest advantages to forming an entity that offers this type of protection (limited liability partnership, limited liability company, corporation, etc). Limited liability basically protects the business owner for the negligence of his or her employees. In other words, the limited liability status of a company does not protect the business owner from liabilities that are a result of his or her personal negligence. Company owners that actually take part in the daily activities of a business should be aware of this fact; because this makes almost as though the business is a sole proprietorship.

Limited liability, on the other hand, is one of the biggest advantages of forming a corporation, or LLC, even if it only protects the business owner from his or her employee’s negligence. While any employee’s misconduct is likely outside the scope of employment, and would not make the business owner liable, the limited liability status is important for protecting the business owner’s personal assets. Failure to form the business properly might result in the business being recognized as a partnership, where the business owners would be joint and severally liable for the business’ debts (including judgments against the business); A Business law expert is useful for ensuring that your business is formed and operated properly.

Clients often wonder what causes court not to recognize limited liability; this is known as piercing the corporate veil. Traditionally piercing the corporate veil is a remedy the court uses after considering certain factors. To avoid the risk of having your company’s limited liability status go unrecognized it is important that the business adhere to corporate formalities. Corporate formalities are those things which are usually done when conducting a legitimate business. This includes adequate record keeping, keeping the business owner’s personal funds separate from the operating funds of the business, acting in accordance with bylaws (for a corporation) or an operating agreement (for a LLC) for the business in question, and treating the company’s assets as though they were your own. An experienced lawyer usually prepares these documents for record keeping purposes and can help ensure that the company is staying compliant. The other thing to avoid is what is called undercapitalization, and is often found where businesses fail to properly maintain adequate insurance coverage in the case of any possible misfortune. The main point here is that the business was not formed as a limited liability entity to avoid potential business debts arising from judgments against the business.

Because businesses are formed under State law, a business attorney can also advise on the advantages of forming the LLC in different states which can have certain benefits. Some of the benefits fall into different categories like more developed case law, or more developed statutes. Owners of large companies surely take advantage of being able to form an entity in different places; this is the reason you see many large corporations that where incorporated in Delaware.

The business formation process can be an very challenging, and one may find regulations, permits and contracts totally confusing. However, all of these are not illogical obstacles towards establishing your company as they are just part of the many requirements that allow authorities to monitor or keep track of every business formation occurring in one place while informing the government that has jurisdiction.

It is greatly important for any business to have its contracts undergo contract review. Contract review is important and is basically done to ensure that each contract is detailed, well-crafted and skillfully negotiated as the contracts protect the business and prevent legal battles and potential lawsuits. Few things must be considered when undergoing contract review.

Ask – Do not hesitate to ask rather than simply signing off a contract. This is a good way for you to understand the risks or get a better deal.

Read – Take time to read the entire contract before signing to avoid unanticipated issues. Always remember that once you have signed, you will be legally bound to all the terms in your contract, whether or not you have read and understood them; the law imposes upon individuals a duty to read the contracts they sign.

Discuss – Address potential problems that may arise. It would be best if you have discussed possible problems along with negotiated resolutions before you sign the contract.

Define – Every word in the contract counts and the best contracts are the least confusing ones. Specify each detail and discuss. Every detail tackled and orally agreed upon by both parties should be put in writing; failure to do so can be detrimental should a legal conflict arise.

Innovate – Contract negotiations don’t have to involve money at all times. Parties involved may include services, a side service, co-promotion, small project partnership or possible contracts to perform in the future.

These particular business dealings often include the services of a business attorney who could stand as a part of the business team dedicated to legal matters. A business law attorney has expertise that enables him to explain the legalities and limitations of the different business practices of a company. The attorney will also be aware of standard contract provisions that can be included into a contract to protect the parties.

If you are after a smooth start in your business endeavors, dealing with the legalities first would be the best thing to do. It would be more favorable if you have already settled all these legal issues prior to officially opening and running your business. That will most likely help you face less legal battles in the future, if any. Often times, people start a business together and the terms are not clear from the outset; it usually is not until the business is turning a profit that the owners decide to determine what the terms should be; Do not let this happen to you, contact an attorney before you get the business going.