Business Law | Shah & Associates, P.C. Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog
Website Home Contact Us Blog Archives Blog Home

Interesting Image
 
 
 

Would you like more information on:

 
 
 
Schedule a Phone Call
to discuss your planning needs!
Click to Schedule an Appointment







Website Home


Topics



Archives


Contact Information

Forsgate Commons
241 Forsgate Drive
Monroe, NJ 08831
PH: (732)521-WILL (9455)
FX: (732)521-1204
Info@LawEsq.net
www.LawEsq.net






Hey Buddy? Questions to Ask Before Going Into Business With a Friend

July 21, 2014

Filed under: Business Law,Business Planning — Tags: , — Neel Shah @ 4:52 pm

It’s exciting to think about the prospect of going into business with someone you already know, but this step should be taken carefully or you might wind up with a difficult working relationship and an impaired friendship. Here are some of the most important questions you should review when thinking about whether a friend equals an ideal business partner.

Hey Buddy Questions to Ask Before Going Into Business With a Friend
(Photo Credit: vanityfair.com)

  • How much trust do I have for this person? You’ll see that numerous experts compare business relationships with marriage. Are you willing to go through ups and downs, which are all part of running a business, alongside this individual?
  • How does that partner improve and build on your brand?
  • Does this person have a selling point or critical skill that you’re missing? It can be a good idea to work with someone who offers something that you don’t. If you’re missing executive experience, for example, perhaps look for someone who offers that.
  • What is their life position? It could be difficult to work with someone as a partner who is not in a stable life location. Although this doesn’t meant that your partner has to have all his or her ducks in a row, someone just coming out of a bankruptcy might pose risks for your company.
  • Would a pilot project work? Before committing to a full-on business together, maybe trying out a small version or pilot project will give you a sense of your strengths and weaknesses.

To talk more about concerns of a business at the startup stage, contact us through email at info@lawesq.net or by phone at 732-521-9455 to get started.

Family Business: Steps to a Viable Succession Plan For Your Family Business (Part 2)

July 16, 2014

Filed under: Business Law,Business Succession Planning,Family Business — Tags: , , — Neel Shah @ 4:29 pm

There is no doubt that working in a family business can be rewarding, but it might also come with some challenges. With regard to succession planning in particular, here are some of the top tips you need to consider when multiple relatives are coming to the same table on a family business.

Family Business: Steps to a Viable Succession Plan For Your Family Business (Part 2)
(Photo Credit: perthnow.com.au)

  • Make clear goals and objectives. Getting everyone on the same page with where the business “is” and where it’s “headed” is not easy, but you can bring things full circle by thinking about common goals and visions.
  • Create a process for making decisions: Don’t rely on the way you have always done it as a family. You may need more formal structure and written explanations of how decisions are to be made. Don’t forget to factor in your methods for resolving disputes. This can save you time and hassle in the future.
  • Generate a comprehensive succession plan that determines active and non-active roles for family members, establishes successors, and determine if additional support for that successor will be required from other family members. Documenting everyone’s role makes it easier.
  • Have both a business and owner estate plan. Don’t forget one or the other, as they are both important in a family business. Think about minimizing taxes and protecting assets together.
  • Determine the most appropriate avenue for transition. There are numerous options for buyouts or agreements, and this is something you definitely want to discuss with an attorney.

To learn more about how we can help clients with proper succession planning for a family business, call us at 732-521-9455 or send an email to info@lawesq.net.

Steps to a Viable Succession Plan For Your Family Business (Part 1)

July 10, 2014

Filed under: Business Law,Business Succession Planning,Family Business — Tags: , , — Neel Shah @ 3:01 pm

Are you planning to keep the Family Business “in the family”? Did you know that family businesses now make up as much as 50 percent of the gross domestic product of the entire country? We’re not just talking about small storefronts or website companies, either. Over one-third of Fortune 500 companies are controlled by families in some sense. It’s critical that as a small business owner, you plan ahead for the future with a succession plan. Here are some of the most common issues facing small business owners with a family connection.

Steps to a Viable Succession Plan For Your Family Business (Part 1)
(Photo Credit: merchantcircle.com)

  • Align your family interests: As members begin to retire or hand off control to other generations, the interest alignment of these individuals becomes all the more important.
  • Generational transitions: Think about the future, because only one third of all family businesses actually end up passing the business on to the second generation. You might want to have alternative plans.
  • Interfamily disputes have the potential to dominate family-owned businesses especially when perception of needs is not lined up between key players. This becomes even more complicated when there is a death or divorce involved.
  • Retirement income: A buyout agreement doesn’t have to be complex, but it is harder to do with a family business because retiring individuals might be more focused on a balance sheet rather than an earnings capitalization model.
  • Estate and inheritance issues: While individual planning is important, there should also be plans in place that relate to the business.

All of these issues are just a sample of concerns for those involved in a family business. Contact our office today to learn more about our Business Succession Planning practice. Email info@lawesq.net or contact us via phone at 732-521-9455 to get started.

An S Corporation Tax Strategy: Can You Eliminate Current Income Taxes on Company Profits?

May 20, 2014

Filed under: Taxes — Tags: , , , , , , — Neel Shah @ 12:41 pm

In a recent article by the Wall Street Journal, a potential possibility for limiting tax liability is being considered on the heels of the two North Carolina business owners who are attempting it. Right now, the issue is being explored in U.S. Tax Court, too, where a previous decision in December issued a ruling in favor of business owners.

An S Corporation Tax Strategy Can You Eliminate Current Income Taxes on Company Profits
(Photo Credit: socaladvocates.com)

In an S Corp, which is typically how closely held firms organize themselves, earnings go directly from the company to the owners, who then have to pay taxes on their individual returns. This only works for companies with less than 100 shareholders, but it does provide a shield of corporation-like protection while avoiding an income tax at the corporate level.

Depending on how the court decides, there are major ramifications ahead for S corps. If the decision is handed down in favor of the corporations, these organizations may be able to reap significant tax savings by limiting their liability. In the North Carolina case, it’s all about how the owners structured their agreements. They reorganized the company into an S Corp in 1998 with a divided ownership strategy that gave 5 percent ownership to an ESOP. These assets can increase in value tax-free and allow for penalty-free withdrawals by individuals at age 59 ½ .

For tax purposes, nearly all of the profits from the corporation could have been shifted to the ESOP, putting off tax liability until individual withdrawal down the road. Many corporations are interested in mitigating risk and exploring tax reduction strategies, we can help with both. Email us at info@lawesq.net or contact us via phone at 732-521-9455 to get started.

Do you feel lucky? What is a Quick Draw Buy-Sell Agreement?

April 30, 2014

Filed under: Finances,Income Tax Planning,Inheritance Taxes,Insurance,Life Insurance,Small Business Owner,Taxes — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Neel Shah @ 8:52 am

Many business owners have a buy-sell arrangement set up for the future. It’s helpful to draw out these directions in advance, especially when there is the potential that future owners or part-owners might get gridlocked with one another. In these situations, buy-sell directions can help disputing parties move forward.

Do you feel lucky What is a Quick Draw Buy-Sell Agreement

It’s possible that you’ve already heard about a shotgun buy-sell arrangement, but a quick draw agreement is a bit different. Under a shotgun, the offering individual stipulates a price. The offerree then has the option to buy those shares or to sell their own shares to the offeror. The exact timing isn’t a major issue in this situation, since the offeree retains the option to either buy or sell. In some ways, this can even be seen as a disincentive to pull the trigger.

All that changes under a quick draw arrangement. Under a quick draw, either side can provide a notice to purchase the other’s shares at a price that is determined through an appraisal process. This can happen after a contractually defined “trigger event”, but the timing of the trigger pull is essential in quick draw. Simply put, timing is everything.

Under quick draw, buyer and seller designation is determined simply by who submits their notice to purchase the other’s shares first. A difference of even just minutes can determine who gets to buy and who gets to sell. This complex process was recently held up in Mintz v Pazer, in which the judge supported this out of the box buy-sell arrangement.

If you’d like to learn more about your buy-sell options and put a plan for the future in motion today, reach out to us at 732-521-9455 or email us at info@lawesq.net

Risky Business? Manage that Risk: Captive Insurance Companies

April 23, 2014

Filed under: Business Law,Business Planning,Business Succession Planning,Captive Insurance Companies — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Neel Shah @ 12:43 pm

A captive insurance company is a company created by a business owner to help insure risks of affiliated businesses. When set up appropriately, a captive allows a business to manage risks while allowing the affiliated company to reap benefits, too.

Risky Business Manage that Risk Captive Insurance Companies
(Photo Credit: business2community.com)

A Captive will receive premiums that are then invested as opposed to premiums sent to a traditional unrelated insurer, which are essentially “lost”. Over time, those premiums accumulate. In the event of a risk loss, the premiums are available to be paid for those self-insured losses, thus protecting the business’s bottom line. This crucial benefit is the biggest advantage for business owners.

A Captive can issue casualty or property insurance to protect against a broad array of risks. Where the business owner has the most potential to capitalize on this opportunity is through risk protection for those risks that are typically too expensive to coverage or uninsurable, period. With possible major tax increases coming in the future, the Captive Insurance company remains situated as one of the most effective solutions for business owners. Captive Insurance benefits go beyond tax advantages by providing business owners with opportunities in wealth transfer, estate planning, and asset protection, too.

At Shah and Associates, we work with you individually to determine how a Captive can best suit your business needs. With vast experience in the field, we have helped our clients use Captives to minimize taxes, protect assets, manage risks, and improve cash flow. We understand the peace of mind and confidence that comes from a comprehensive approach to risk management, and that’s why we remain committed to the business community.

The Business Owner’s Parachute: Get Your Exit Plan Ready

April 22, 2014

Filed under: Business Law,Business Planning,Business Succession Planning — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Neel Shah @ 12:42 pm

While “now” is always the time you should start getting your exit plan ready for your business, there are some guidelines about specific year marks that you should use to think about what will happen next. Here is the best advice for exit plans.

theretiredaffiliate.com
(Photo Credit: theretiredaffiliate.com)

Starting ten years in advance is the best way to maximize opportunities. This is because at this marker, you can start really considering whether the business is intended as a family legacy. If a family member will be taking over the business, the ten year period is a great planning point for incorporating those family members into training and education. Ultimately, this will make the transition period much smoother. Saving taxes is another primary concern at this stage. If a business owner has recently converted the company from C Corp to S Corp filing status, you should wait a minimum of ten years before selling the company.

Five years out is a good place to review because you are a little closer to the finish line here. Cash flow, tax deduction, and tax leverage should all be explored with your planning specialist at this time. Changes regarding cash flow can allow for a strategy in which cash flow to the owner is a focus rather than company growth.

Finally, even one year out provides planning opportunities. For example, we have implemented strategies which could save the Seller the entire [9% – 13%] tax some states collect upon the sale of a business. If the company will be sold, the owner should identify a business broker or investment banker to actually put the business on the market. This gives enough time for a due diligence review, drafting the sales agreement, and delays related to regulatory issues. No matter what stage you’re at, you need to put some planning tactics in place for your exit plan. Contact us today at 732-521-9455 or email info@lawesq.net to get started with your personalized plan.

Hoteliers Beware: Lessons to learn from the Neiman Marcus and Target Breaches

April 14, 2014

Filed under: Hotel Owners — Tags: , , , , , , — Neel Shah @ 7:17 pm

Security breaches seem to be on the rise. Target’s customer data breach impacted 110 million Americans and the Neiman Marcus breach affected 40 million, and it seems like we are hearing about new breaches every few weeks. Staying ahead of the curve is critical for those in the hospitality industry, and hoteliers have an excellent opportunity to consider their own risk reduction and planning tools in the wake of security breaches across other industries.

Hoteliers Beware: Lessons to learn from the Neiman Marcus and Target Breaches
(Photo Credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Target_Corporation)

Hotels are major targets for financial and identity theft. Since all hotels work through credit and debit cards on file, this already exposes a lot of risk for private customer information. Those credit cards can be accessed and digitally “swiped” any number of times during a guest’s hotel stay- whether it’s at the bar, ordering room service, or for a spa charge. Every swipe opens the door for identity theft without the hotel’s knowledge.

One common gaping hole for hoteliers is unsecured wireless internet. While a hotel owner may think he or she is doing the right thing by providing free and easy access, an unsecured network really poses a big threat. Hackers can more easily access your network and programs in order to steal information and records from your service.

There are a few steps hoteliers can take to beef up security. Restricting access to data and collection of data is one way to protect customer privacy. Critical identifying information should be stored securely and a database should be created about under which computers and servers various information is kept. Encryption is one easy way that hotels can store information safely, reducing the risk of guest identity or financial theft. This is a great opportunity to review your existing procedures and policies to determine the risks.

If you’d like to talk more about how planning can help you prevent problems & how asset protection planning can help you to shield your assets from such liabilities, contact us at 732-521-9455 or info@lawesq.net today.

The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma: Success Tips For Passing The Family Business On To Children

April 10, 2014

Filed under: Family Business — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Neel Shah @ 1:15 pm

Owning and operating your own business is an exciting venture, but it can present you with challenges when you are unwilling or unable to continue managing the business. If you are considering passing the company on to your children or grandchildren, make sure you put some time into the planning process so that the transition is as smooth as possible.

Darlingonlinemarketing.com
(Photo Credit: Darlingonlinemarketing.com)

Start Early

The best recommendation for succession planning is to start five years in advance of when you might need an exit strategy. Many people make the mistake of assuming that they will only need to consider this need later in life. With rising numbers of people impacted by a disability, succession planning is something you should consider early. Getting the planning done well in advance gives you room to alter your plan if needed. Throughout this process, keep your family members engaged in the conversation so that relevant individuals understand their role.

Consider Options

While you have many options as a business owner, you should consider the talent of your children and grandchildren in order to decide how they might fit into the bigger picture. It’s critical that you are realistic about this decision. While it’s important for whoever takes over for you to have the passion and interest in running the business, you should also evaluate business skill and potential in making your decision. If you have several children, it may not be feasible for them to each own an equal portion of the company. In this circumstance, you should plan to transfer the whole business to a child who wants to follow you as the owner. Other assets can then be transferred to other children. This may be the most effective move for your business and future family harmony, too.

Plan For Existing Employees

Unless you are the sole person managing a company, it’s likely you have a team behind you. Make sure you have considered what will happen to these employees after you go as well. Will then be incorporated into the transition phase? Are there key employees who could help your children understand the big picture and smaller operational issues as well? Remember that in the event of a major disruption in a company such as the departure of a longtime leader, key employees may not want to stay. Having a conversation with them about your succession plans, as well as providing incentives for them to stay, may be in your best interest. Keeping valuable and knowledgeable employees on the team after you leave will make the transition easier for all and is less likely to cause financial issues for your business.

Train and Document

Once you have decided the best approach for your planning, train those individuals that will play a role at the time of your departure. Keep them clued in to vital issues. Remember that it’s much easier to update your succession planning once it has been documented. Working with an experience estate planning attorney will give you confidence and peace of mind about your decision.

Guarding Against Risk, While Saving on Taxes: Biggest Advantages of Captive Insurance Companies

April 8, 2014

Filed under: Captive Insurance Companies — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , — Neel Shah @ 2:15 pm

Captive insurance companies are private insurers that are owned by a parent company. Although a captive insurance company has some of the same benefits of a regular insurance company, captives collect the premiums that a company would have paid over to a regular insurer while taking the responsibility for any claims against the parent company. Captive insurance companies are uniquely situated for certain situations.

saveourpostoffice
(Photo Credit: saveourpostoffice.com)

Manage Risk and Protect Assets

Many businesses have particular needs for risk management because the risk it outside the typical market. In that case, insurance either can’t be purchased or the price is so high that the company is forced to self-insure. In still other cases, the business might have insurance for some risks, but that comes at a cost of premiums and deductibles. This is just the type of risk that sits well with a captive insurance company. Typical general liability insurance seems like a “coverall”, but in reality there are so many exclusions that a business still stands exposed to high risk. That’s where insurance from a captive company can help by filling in the gaps from those exclusions.

Every dollar spent by the company and sent to the captive serves as a $1 reduction in operating business assets. In the event that the business collapses, the company is not at risk of losing those dollars that have been transferred out of company property and over to the captive insurance company. Captive insurance companies are known for accumulating high amounts of assets through reserves and surplus. In certain disaster situations, some of those funds may be available for a business owner. Although a business owner might face some tax consequences of doing so, you can think of those funds as an emergency fund that could be there if you need it. It’s an extra layer of protection that can give a business owner peace of mind.

Exert More Control

Captive insurance companies typically create customized policies for the needs of each specific business. Unlike many commercial policies, policies through captives have the added benefit of drafting the policy in a manner that makes it virtually impossible for third-party claims against the business from being approved. The individualized nature of policies means that protection is aligned directly with business needs rather than generally accepted amounts and terms.

Going through a commercial carrier has another downside: you give up the option to select your own attorney. Defense counsel connected with insurance companies often handle large volumes of cases, taking away that personalized attention for your case. The fact that these counsel handle upwards of 200 cases each year from referrals also calls into question whether that attorney is looking out for your best interests- or the hand that feeds them. Since insurance companies that hire counsel are budget-minded, you also don’t know the quality of attorney you’ll be receiving through the appointment process. With captive insurance carriers, business owners control the captive and therefore maintain control over selection of an attorney.

From a business owner perspective, these few advantages represent big benefits. Guard yourself against risks, protect existing and growing assets, and exercise more control over how things are handle by working with a captive.