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Philadelphia Business Law Blog

Have you thought about what happens to your farm after you die?

You have worked hard to establish your farm and to build up the success. As the success continues, you have to start making plans for your farm's future. One of the things that you should do is to create a succession plan.

A succession plan outlines what is going to happen to the farm when you retire or die. It sets up the protocol for the change of management or ownership. This helps to ensure that all of your hard work isn't lost when you aren't the one who is running the farm. Here are some points to remember about farm succession plans:

Corrective actions can be taken without the use of a lawsuit

Sometimes, lawsuits go to the courts when companies already know about problems they caused. Reducing or repairing damage caused inadvertently benefits the company and community, so no lawsuit is necessary. When that's the case, the company in question can ask to dismiss any lawsuits against it, since it has already begun to take corrective actions.

That is what happened in this case involving four oil and natural gas companies who allegedly caused an increase in seismic activity in Oklahoma. Several entities filed lawsuits pointing out the increase in earthquakes, but the companies already knew about the issues.

Include digital assets in your estate plan

When you create an estate plan, you add your assets to that plan. You list everything you own, including your home, vehicle and other property. One type of asset you may not have considered adding are your digital assets.

It's important to have a record of everything you own, whether it's something tangible or not. If you don't, the asset could go missing and be lost to your estate forever. That's the last thing you want, especially if your digital assets are worth a lot of money.

Planning for succession: 3 things you should do

You've worked hard to create a business, and now you're ready to create a succession plan. You want your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to benefit from the empire you've built over time.

Since you're ready to create a succession plan, it's a good idea to know more about what the plan is and what it does. Family businesses make up around 50 percent of the total gross domestic products of the United States, so keeping yours productive is the goal. What can you do to make sure your business continues to function even if you have to step down?

5 things you should include in your partnership agreement

Imagine that you and your brother have decided to go into business together as residential building contractors. You are considering forming your business as a partnership, but first, you need to find out more about the legal and tax consequences of forming the company. One of the most important steps you can take in forming a partnership is to create a partnership agreement. Having such a document in place with guidelines to follow in case there is a dispute or other issue is important.

In order to ensure that you are in compliance with state and federal business formation requirements and that your formation documents are in order, you may want to consider speaking with an attorney. A lawyer experienced with business law in the Philadelphia area can help you through the process off starting a partnership.

Why early estate planning is important to your family

Far too many people put off creating a last will and estate plan until they reach retirement age or after a diagnosis with a serious illness. In reality, the more assets you have and the more complex your family unit, the more important it is to create an estate plan as soon as possible. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney can help protect your assets, your family, and your peace of mind. After all, many people die or become incapacitated unexpectedly, due to an accident or a sudden medical event, like a stroke. Don't leave your family unprotected if the unexpected happens.

Common questions about IRS audits

If you have been selected by the Internal Revenue Service to have your financial records audited, you may be wondering not only how you were chosen, but also what the audit process entails.

When being audited by the IRS it is important to understand what the auditors are looking for as well as what your legal options are should they determine that your finances have not been reported accurately.

Shell companies: Not just for ill reputes

The recent release of the Panama Papers has led to a lot of questions about shell companies. The term "shell company" often brings the thought of shady characters looking to hide assets from the IRS. In reality, these business devices can be a handy and legal way to achieve a number of goals.

Just what is a shell company? A shell company is, essentially, a business that is not actively trading or engaging in commerce. A recent article in Accounting Today discussed these business entities, noting a more accurate term would be "single-purpose entity".

The intersection of business ownership and estate planning

We are fond of saying that everyone - no matter their age, health or wealth - should consider the benefits of developing a comprehensive estate plan. In addition, business owners should take the time to decide on a succession plan in the event of their untimely death or incapacitation.

On the surface, many organizations refer to a succession plan as a living document that contains insight into possible promotions and transfers that might become necessary to fill management holes as people retire or seek other employment opportunities. Used in conjunction with an estate plan, however, succession planning becomes an authoritative process that allows business owners the opportunity to clearly state their wishes regarding the organization's power structure following the death of the owner.

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