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Camden NJ Business & Commercial Law Blog

Legal assistance is essential with a New Jersey business start-up

Not everyone in New Jersey is content working for someone else. Some want to start their own business and be their own boss. A business start-up is a noteworthy endeavor, especially if the idea for the business is a solid one. However, it is not just a matter of waking up one day and deciding to start a business. There are numerous legal aspects that must be considered with business ownership. Having legal help from the start is vital to ensure compliance and to protect oneself.

Even the smartest people with the best ideas will need assistance with all the hoops that must be jumped through to start a business. For example, is it better to have a limited liability company (LLC), a partnership, a limited partnership or some other business entity formation? What kind of business is it? With a restaurant, there will be the need for real estate, a liquor license, dealing with venders and innumerable other issues that would not be in place if someone is starting a consulting firm or getting into real estate.

What should I know about special needs trusts?

New Jersey residents who have a loved one whose care is a concern after they have died will often be unsure of what to do. These people should consider a special needs trust. With a special needs trust, a person who is disabled or unable to care for him or herself will be cared for and still be able to get government assistance through Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and other programs. With the trust, there will be a trustee to oversee it. It can be a family member or a third party who the court will appoint. The trustee is an important part of a special needs trust because it must be remembered that the contents of the trust are for the care of the disabled person and must be used accordingly.

With a special needs trust, the government benefits like SSI can continue. A mistake that is frequently made by people who are moving forward with estate planning is to write a will and leave assets to the disabled person. That will leave the disabled person with too many assets and property to get government benefits. A special needs trust will prevent this from happening. When there is a lawsuit, this too can be placed into the trust so that the disabled person will not be affected by the rise in assets and access to money.

What are the different contracts for builders and construction?

When there is a construction project in New Jersey, there should be a contract to list the expectations. This is true whether it is a public or private project; large, medium or small. Understanding the different types of construction contracts available is essential. This is because if there is a breach of contract or if litigation is necessary, the contract itself will be imperative to settling the matter.

With construction contracts, both sides will be shielded from any issues such as a delay, how much it costs, when it should be completed and if there will be penalties for delay. The project itself will determine which contract is preferable. A lump sum or fixed price contract means that there will be one payment for the work prior to construction. There can be incentives in the contract if the project is completed early and damages if there are issues that make the project late. The builder should have an accurate estimate of the costs prior to the agreement. This can keep costs lower, but there are dangers such as underestimating costs.

Maximizing financial benefit with the sale of a business

For many New Jersey business owners, there comes a time when they would like to move forward with a business sale and move on to something else. Whether that is retirement or starting another business varies depending on their motivation. One of the key factors to having the ability to do what they want is maximizing the return on the business sale. To do this, there are certain strategies that a business owner must remember at the time of sale.

There are three basic strategies that the owner should use when they sell. They include the presale corporate planning, negotiating in a skillful manner and wealth management. The company's valuations must be current and the financial statements should adequately express the company's present and future value. Often, a business owner who is looking to get out will make the mistake of expressing that to the prospective buyer and place themselves in a poor negotiating position. Being savvy about the negotiation can boost its effectiveness and the sale price.

Why a business start up as a sole proprietorship can be useful

For New Jersey residents who have an idea for a business but are working by themselves and do not have a great deal of knowledge in how to get started, it is important to understand the basics of business formation. A sole proprietorship is a business in which, in most cases, it does not need to be registered with the state. This is different from a corporation or a limited liability company. A sole proprietorship is easily started and maintained. If a person who is moving forward with a start-up company and is doing it alone, this is a wise way to do it.

New Jersey does not require a sole proprietorship to be registered with the state as some states do. This type of business should not be utilized for tax shelter purposes or as a loophole because the profits that are earned will be viewed as income on the income taxes. If there are debts with a sole proprietorship and they are not paid, creditors can pursue personal assets.

What trust can one use to transfer assets growing in value?

People in New Jersey who are considering their estate planning options will want to ensure that their most valuable assets are protected. There are certain properties such as business shares, homes, stocks and more that can be reasonably be expected to appreciate. These can be placed into a trust to pass them along to the heirs. One trust that can be used for this purpose is the grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT). Knowing how a GRAT works is essential for those who are considering their alternatives with these types of assets.

The GRAT is an irrevocable trust that lets a person transfer the appreciation to an heir or other beneficiary and have the chance to prevent them from having to pay the gift tax or estate tax (should it remain law). Without a GRAT, the person would have to pay taxes on the appreciation. It is important to remember that there is no way to revoke a GRAT. What a GRAT does is lower or end the taxes on a gift.

Sharing your estate plans with loved ones

Do you make a to-do list each day, or do you take each task as it comes? When you go to the store, do you have a list, or do you grab what you see and hope you don't forget anything? Did you plan ahead for things like your wedding, the purchase of your home, your vacation and your retirement? Or did you fly by the seat of your pants and pray you didn't run out of money?

Planning is an important part of success, and if you learned this lesson early in life, you probably had many positive experiences fruitfully completing things you started. You may even have your estate planning completed and are satisfied with your decisions. However, you may be forgetting one important element of your estate plan.

What exit strategies are important when selling a business?

Hard-working New Jersey business owners who are seeking to move on with their lives for one reason or another should be aware of the importance of comprehensive exit strategies. When pursuing the sale of a business, there are a multitude of factors that will be important. Understanding what must be considered and taking the proper steps is key with business sales. It can be difficult to make that transition from owner to seller and accept that someone else will be making the business decisions going forward. However, once the choice is made to move on, having a comprehensive plan is crucial.

There are several different factors to think about. Taxes can be complex. Discussing how the transaction will affect the finances of the seller must be done from the start. Business owners will undoubtedly have an estate plan, and this must also be addressed. Taxes can be substantial if there is a major profit when selling the business, so mitigating this as much as possible is wise.

Intellectual property dispute centers around Halloween costume

Intellectual property in New Jersey and throughout the U.S. is taken very seriously. It can mean a lot of revenue for a business if it has a product that will be unique and sell well. This is especially true if the item is generally perceived as seasonal. If a person or a company has created a product and there is an issue with its ownership and rights, it is sometimes necessary to move forward with business litigation. Having legal help is vital toward that end and trying to get a satisfactory result.

With Halloween approaching, costumes are major business. One is a banana costume. In a disagreement between companies that manufacture these costumes, one filed a lawsuit in New Jersey federal court. The manufacturer, which has contracts with several large department stores, asserts that there has been unfair competition, copyright infringement and trade dress infringement. The company had sold the costumes to Kmart since 2008. However, the sides could not agree to a new contract for 2017 and the store selected another vendor. The vendor provided what the original manufacturer believes is a violation of the law by using a similar design.

Actor's death shows how trusts can provide privacy

When a New Jersey resident is moving forward with estate planning, there will be many different aspects of the process that will take precedence. One that they might forget about is how a trust can provide privacy that wills do not. A will is a public document that can be seen by anyone when probate starts. That is not the case with a trust. People who are concerned about their privacy should think about the case of the late actor Jerry Lewis and how his estate plan is now part of the public record and rife for discussion among people who did not know him and are questioning decisions he made that are not their concern.

In Mr. Lewis' will, it was stated that five of his children and their descendants should receive nothing from his estate. In the statement in his will, Mr. Lewis made clear that he did this on purpose by using the word "intentionally." This might have been an attempt on his part to make certain that no litigation would take place regarding his estate plan. Or it could have been done for some other reason. While those who look at the will are likely going to wonder what happened between Mr. Lewis and his family that he decided this was the course to take, in truth, it was his choice and his business.

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