Business, Corporate and Real Estate
If you are thinking of starting a new business, buying or selling a business, or if you just want to take your existing business to the next level, we can help you. To succeed, businesses need legal assistance that requires a fundamental understanding of the business. We strive to understand the inner workings of your business and the markets in which it operates. We work closely with our clients, taking the time to discuss the nature of their business, their goals, their expectations, and their resources in order to offer practical advice along with legal assistance. Our objective is to help your business operate more efficiently and become more profitable, while minimizing your risk.
We have experience with a wide variety of businesses, from sole proprietorships and family businesses to large corporations. Our practice includes business start-ups, sales, mergers and acquisitions, reorganizations, joint ventures and partnerships, offerings and financing arrangements, contracts and business agreements, corporate governance, buy-sell agreements, risk management and compliance, shareholder disputes, real estate leases and sales/purchases, and addressing the strategic plans and day to day legal needs of those we represent. We also act as outside general counsel to a number of closely held businesses and often work in collaboration on matters with in-house counsel of other companies.
Estate Planning, Trusts and Probate
No one wants to think about their own mortality. However planning for yourself and your loved ones is critical to your future and theirs. Will your family be properly taken care of if something happens to you? Will your family be able to properly care for you if you become disabled? Estate planning not only entails making arrangements for after your death, but for during your life as well.
We provide estate plans for estates both large and small. Regardless of your age, it is important that you have an estate plan in place. A properly devised estate plan includes arranging for the orderly transfer of your assets and property, following your death, to the people or organizations that you designate, in the manner that YOU want. Your plan will involve difficult decisions, who you want to serve as executor or trustee, or as guardian for your children. Your estate plan should also include directives for handling your finances and making decisions regarding your medical care in the event that, due to accident or illness, you are unable to do so. We can help with those choices.
Every client situation is unique, and at times, complex. We will take the time to discuss your circumstances, needs, and wishes, in recommending plan options that work for you and give you peace of mind. We have expertise in advising individuals and implementing estate plans, drafting of wills and related documents, formation and implementation of lifetime gifting strategies through use of trusts, family entities, and life insurance, dynasty trust and multi-generational transfer tax planning, philanthropic and charitable giving, asset protection strategies, and probate administration.
Tax Planning and Representation
Understanding the intricacies of tax law and utilizing that highly specialized knowledge to a client's best advantage is the cornerstone of effective tax planning. We can help you plan your transactions in order to maximize tax benefits, and avoid tax disasters. We work with individuals and organizations in a variety of situations and jurisdictions, having experience with C corporations and S corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies, professional associations and sole proprietorships, disregarded entities and tax exempt organizations. Whether your transaction is related to your business or involves a personal investment, we can help you structure the transaction in order to achieve the best results under federal, state, local and international tax laws.
We work closely with in-house professionals, CPAs, and financial advisors to have a full understanding of the situation and objectives. Whether you are implementing a new business venture, guiding a business through the start-up phase, managing significant developments throughout the life of a business, or directing the sale or dissolution of a business or its assets, we can identify and plan for the associated tax consequences and help you attain your goals.
We also can provide advice regarding tax reporting and compliance, as well as help you resolve audits or disputes with federal, state, or local tax authorities.
Business Succession Planning
The future of a business is never certain, however there are certain steps you can take to ensure a business that lasts. A business succession plan is crucial to your company’s longevity and success. You may want your business to remain in your family for generations, or you may want to sell the business and retire. There may be key personnel who have a desire to succeed to management or ownership of the company. Regardless of your ultimate objective with your business, we can provide advice and a variety of tools and strategies to effect your wishes.
We take the time to understand your goals, and fears, regarding the future of your business. Relationships with family members and employees are an especially important dynamic to understand and navigate in any business transition. Leadership identification, development, and training, as well as family business councils and advisory boards can help with these matters. We have experience in handling these personal issues in addition to the legal ones in implementing a succession plan that will be successful.
If your intention is an exit strategy, we can provide assistance there too. Our firm has represented numerous individuals and business with sales to other owners, employees, and third parties, including strategic buyers and private equity groups. Lastly, whether you choose to pass your business down to the next generation or sell the business, we can provide advice to help you minimize the taxes each option brings.
Employment and Benefits
Whether you are negotiating a new employment agreement, trying to find a way to retain key personnel, or just searching for a better understanding of the benefits applicable to you or your company, we can offer assistance. We provide advice and planning as to employee benefits, retirement benefits, and the rules and taxes attributable to them. We are experienced in a broad range of plans for businesses including employee retention and incentive compensation, stock options, restricted stock, phantom stock, appreciation rights, and deferred compensation. We provide consultation and plan drafting, as well as implementation and compliance. We have also represented corporations (both public and private), executives, and other individuals in negotiating employment contracts and severance agreements.
Fiduciary and Beneficiary Representation
As an executor or trustee, there are important obligations and duties to perform in your fiduciary capacity under law. As a beneficiary, you want access to information and to know your rights. Through education and counseling, we advise fiduciaries to keep you in compliance with these laws, and avoid the traps for the unwary. We also act as a voice and advocate for the beneficiaries we represent to make sure there is transparency, and that you receive that to which you are entitled.