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Cincinnati Business and Commercial Litigation Legal Blog

Why consultants should use a contract

Are you one of the many people out there forging a new business path through freelance work? Creative consultants of all different sorts are taking their highly-valuable skills and trading on them for independence from the traditional nine-to-five job.

However, that means that it's on you to protect yourself and your career through the appropriate agreements. Working without a contract is a little like working on a high wire without a safety net. There's nothing to fall back on in a crisis.

Where there's a will . . . there's a disgruntled relative

Some estate administrators face extraordinary challenges administering the estates they oversee. Battles among heirs can erupt and factions can form among the survivors. A relative who is left out of the estate proceeds can challenge the will and delay the probate process as the case wends its way through the court system.

What can a client do to avoid these distressing circumstances? Is it even possible to sidestep such shenanigans?

What should I include in my LLC's operating agreement?

If you've looked into incorporating your business as a limited liability company (LLC), then you've likely heard the terminology "operating agreement" (OA). It's serves a similar role to a corporation's bylaws. It's the document used to enumerate the different LLC owners' business arrangements with one another as well as the procedures that they intend to follow in operating their business.

Although there's no one standard to how what an OA should include or how it should be written, there is certain standard information that should be included in them.

Should you consider a noncompete agreement for your business?

As a business owner, you undoubtedly like to keep track of your competition. After all, the success of your business could greatly depend on how well similar companies in your area are doing and what you can do to get a leg up on your competitors. One way you can help your company is to make efforts to protect your information and limit competition.

When it comes to this type of protection, you may have concerns about your employees. Since they work for you and will learn much about your company's operations, including how to run a successful business, they could potentially use what they learn to compete against you. However, you could utilize noncompete agreements in hopes of limiting this possibility.

What steps do I take to form a business?

Starting your own business may be a dream you may have had for a long time. Unfortunately, doing so take more than a business idea, a storefront and an open sign. It takes research, planning and many legal activities.

Consider these steps to forming a successful business:

Who is eligible to file workers' compensation claims?

When you suffer an injury at work, it can range from something minor, requiring only a single visit to the doctor to make sure that you're okay, or it can be particularly debilitating one that requires surgery and ongoing rehabilitation. Some workplace injuries can be so severe that they leave you permanently disabled or even dead.

One of perhaps the most common questions injured workers ask employment law attorneys is whether their injuries qualify them for workers' compensation benefits.

2 clauses that reduce your risk with a commercial lease

You're considering a commercial lease. You do not want to invest in purchasing a property up front, and the lease gives you a low-risk way to get your business off the ground.

Even so, you're worried about what the lease means if things do not pan out. What if you sign a five-year lease and then low sales make it so you can't afford the space two years from now? Are you still on the hook for payments for the next three years for a commercial space you do not want?

Starting a company with family members: Pros and cons

You want to start a new company, and you're thinking about going into business with a family member. The two of you have already talked about it, and it seems like a good fit, but you're trying to decide if it's a good idea or not.

Every situation is unique. You really need to weigh the pros and cons of your specific situation and decide how to proceed. Here are a few things to consider:

Removing a trustee may benefit a trust

Many people include trusts in their estate planning to include their loved ones and descendants in their wealth more easily. Trusts can handle large assets in more manageable ways than simply leaving them to heirs in wills. Assets in trusts can be more useful and less liable to excessive taxation.

Trustees or administrators become responsible for the management or use of funds or properties deposited in a trust, and these people or organizations end up with generally free rein with these assets. If the creators of trusts become concerned that trustees are not acting the best interests of the trust's beneficiaries, there are legal ways to remove a trustee.

6 tips for commercial lease negotiation

Your company has not opened its doors yet, but the decisions you make could drastically impact its livelihood moving forward. The terms of your commercial lease could prove very critical to your success.

As such, here are six tips that can help you negotiate until you get the lease terms that you really want:

  1. Really get to know the area: Understand the zoning, potential weather risks, crime rates and other key factors. Arm yourself with the facts before beginning negotiations.
  2. Take your own measurements: You are paying for square footage. Double check to make sure you really know what you are paying for.
  3. Look at all of the past utility bills for expenses: Consider expenses that are covered in the lease and those that are not. It's your money. Do not just take the landlord's word for anything.
  4. Talk to people in surrounding spaces: These may be other commercial spaces or even residential apartments. People who know the landlord and the property can give you the inside scoop.
  5. Watch out for hidden expenses: For instance, maybe the lease says that you, not the landlord, have to pay to make any repairs. So, if the landlord has neglected the pipes for 20 years and one bursts, now you have to pay?
  6. Remember that you can walk away: Trust your gut. Never sign a lease you don't like. Threatening to walk away, or actually doing it, may help the landlord revise the terms.
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