Business Law – Benefits of Having a Company Attorney

Whether you are forming a new business or managing a business that has already been in operation for many years, you will inevitably experience situations where you desire, and even require, the advice of an experienced business law attorney. An experienced attorney will understand the many complexities of forming a business, as well as daily operating issues related to employees, contractual agreements, property ownership, issues with business partners and investors, and many more. Business owners should be focused upon their chosen business and its customers, and need to know when to consult a business law attorney to assist with legal issues. No one can specialize in everything – and trying to “do it yourself” in the legal arena often causes more problems than it resolves.

When starting a new business, choosing the correct business entity type for the protection of you, your family, and your assets is very important. Having a business attorney that takes the time to get to know you, your business, and your family can be invaluable. An attorney who knows you personally will be able to better advise you on your personal and business legal matters. Your personal beliefs, desires and wishes impact not only your family, but also your business. Conversely, your business practices, challenges and successes also impact your personal life. This is true both during, and after, the life of the business. This is why larger companies hire a full time attorney – called a General Counsel – to advise regarding all legal matters. Having an attorney and legal team that is not only experienced in business law but also real estate law, estate planning, probate and litigation, allows you to have advice related to personal or business issues, that always has your best interest at heart.

Through the life of the business many challenges will arise. Preparing and protecting the business, its principals, your family and your assets is possible with the help of a competent attorney. When considering what type of business entity to form, an experienced business attorney will help you evaluate the benefits of each and match them with your personal and business needs and goals.

Once the best type of business entity is chosen, operational issues must be considered. Ongoing business operations include many issues such as:

● employment agreements
● non-disclosure agreements
● asset purchase and sale agreements
● stock purchase and sale agreements
● financing agreements
● guaranties
● estate planning
● tax planning
● disputes
● leases

While most business owners and principals will engage an attorney on business matters such as disputes that result in litigation or substantial liability, retaining a company attorney in advance of those crises moments has great benefits. One key to choosing a company attorney is to ensure the attorney has experience in many practice areas and is supported by an experienced team. A company attorney, or team of attorneys, is there to advise you on a variety of legal issues both large and small. Many times simply seeking the advice of a competent attorney who knows you and your family, before proceeding on the purchase of real estate for your family or discussing a potential acquisition of the assets of a competing company, can help ensure your transaction will not cause you any foreseeable legal problem. The benefits of a company attorney can far outweigh the costs when the attorney and his team are ethical, experienced and willing to get to know not only your business, but also you and your family. Why not have ongoing, tailored legal advice that allows you to AVOID litigation before it arises, rather than fork out the tens of thousands of dollars to hire good legal counsel once you are already involved in active litigation?

Some business owners view the idea of a company attorney as an expensive and unnecessary proposition. Contrary to this idea, engaging a company attorney through services such as outsourced general counsel, can in many cases become a money saver for the business and its principals. Well drafted agreements with employees, clients, other businesses and in other transactions such as real estate or business acquisition, can save substantial time and money.

David R. Brewer and his team are not only knowledgeable and experienced, but we genuinely enjoy getting to know your business and your family. By getting to know you and your family as well as your business, David and his team are able to help you align your personal and business legal needs — to allow you to grow your business while protecting what is most important to you. David and his team would like the opportunity to share with you how outsourced general counsel can save you time and money while helping you plan for the success and protection of your business and family.

Disclaimer –
The materials available within this article are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mails or links contained within the website or article do not create an attorney-client relationship between brewer law and the user or browser.

Estate Planning – The importance of Wills & Trusts

Estate planning may seem like an overwhelming and unnecessary undertaking for those with modest income and assets, but it does not have to be. On first blush, the term itself seems to be more appropriate for wealthy individuals who have large bank accounts, high value property, businesses or other substantial assets. However, estate planning including a will or trust is very important to everyone of all income levels. If you do not plan the transfer of your property in advance, the state will distribute the property for you. You should control the ownership of your assets after death (or other key life event) by means of a will or trust so that you can ensure your assets are in the hands of the people you choose. For those of us with children, far more important than your assets, you need to plan for the ongoing care and custody of your children if you should come to an untimely demise.

A will is a written legal document that ensures the distribution of property and assets among the people named as beneficiaries as well as addressing many other issues such as guardianship for minor children or others needing ongoing care. While creating or updating a will, it is essential to involve an experienced estate planning attorney such as David R. Brewer. If one does not have a will, the state will distribute the assets to heirs according to its laws, and custody of children will be decided by a judge whom you do not know, if it is not planned in advance by you. A will names beneficiaries for assets such as bank accounts not already made joint with right of survivorship, real estate, and personal property, as well as other assets. When a will undergoes probate, it will be in public domain so it is important to draft it carefully with the help of a knowledgeable estate planning attorney. If you already have a will it should be reviewed after any significant life event that may impact beneficiaries, the persons you appoint as decision makers, or the assets which are to be distributed. Additionally, your named beneficiaries and decision makers should be reviewed periodically not only in your will but also for assets such as IRA’s and other investment plans.

A trust is frequently used to reduce large estate taxes and to shield the transfer of assets from being part of public record as an estate goes through the probate process. The formation of the trust allows you to give your assets or property rights to a trustee for the benefit of a third party beneficiary. These beneficiaries can be family, friends or even a charitable organization. There are numerous types of trusts that can be utilized to protect you and your beneficiaries. Among these trusts are a Special Needs Trust, an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust, a Living Trust. Each trust is built to address specific circumstances and you must look carefully at your needs to determine the proper trust to be formed. When choosing a trust you want an experienced estate planning attorney such as David R. Brewer to help you ensure the best choice for you and your loved ones.

A trust can serve many purposes:

  • Your property can be transferred without the need for probate to family members and/or others after your death.
  • Trust assets may be protected from creditors, divorce, and bankruptcy.
  • A trust can provide for the care of children from a previous marriage.
  • A trust is capable of managing your money and assets after your death and ensuring your family’s financial needs are met.
  • A trust can allow you to donate to charity, all or part of an estate.
  • A trust can provide for the care of a disabled child or spouse.
  • A trust can provide for the financial needs of minor beneficiaries like grandchildren in their younger years and subsequently distributing the assets once they are a specific age.

Regardless of your income level, estate planning is as important as having health insurance or filing your taxes. Choosing the proper type of will or trust depends upon your individual needs and choosing an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning attorney is very important to meeting those needs. David R. Brewer and his team are experienced, knowledgeable and will help you meet your needs and prepare for the future.

Disclaimer –
The materials available within this article are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mails or links contained within the website or article do not create an attorney-client relationship between brewer law and the user or browser.

How to Select the Right Probate Attorney – Tips from Brewer Law, Your Kingwood & Galleria Attorney

Hiring the right probate attorney becomes essential when a loved one passes away leaving assets – called a probate estate. It is essential that those assets be transferred properly, or else problems arise both now and later on for all family members involved. This is especially the case when there is discord among family members regarding an estate. The process of administering an estate may be hindered by disagreements among family, who may all believe they have rights to some or all of the estate. When an estate is contested it may take an extended time to settle — resulting in significant costs to the estate itself. These costs will typically be paid from the estate’s assets, thereby reducing the value of the estate. This process can become very complicated in the event the estate is not able to pay off its debts or if the estate in question has a business which needs to be valued, managed and transferred. With these and other potential complexities of the probate process, having an experienced and knowledgeable probate attorney can make the process smoother as well as less expensive.

If the estate in question has a business which needs to be valued, managed and transferred, and you have a family attorney who has been looking after the legal needs of the business and your family for many years, this attorney may be a good resource — as you will have previous experience communicating and working through legal issues with this attorney. A family attorney may know some of the dynamics of your family and be able to help in mitigating many issues more easily due to his or her knowledge of the family. However, many people do not have a business and/or family attorney. In this case the best thing to do is to ask for referrals from friends, family or trusted business colleagues.

If referrals do not lead you to an attorney you wish to work with, there are a number of websites that are dedicated to listing attorneys in your area which practice probate law. These websites as well as a google search will help you find a local probate attorney, find reviews and make a list of attorneys to interview. Most attorneys will provide basic information about their practice areas on their websites. You will want to determine if the attorney not only practices probate law, but also whether the attorney is experienced and knowledgeable in probate law. Written or video reviews and testimonials can help you by giving a glimpse of the practice areas in which the attorney has represented his or her clients. You will also get a feel for how the clients felt about the experience with the probate attorney and possibly the additional members of the firm. Make sure you learn about the number and kinds of probate cases the attorney has handled in the past. This will help you determine if the attorney has the knowledge and experience needed to handle your case.

Dealing with an estate in probate can be a long and difficult process. The right probate attorney can make this process much easier by ensuring your needs and wishes are well considered and represented. David R. Brewer and his team are experienced, knowledgeable and will help you meet your needs with confidence.

Disclaimer –
The materials available within this article are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mails or links contained within the website or article do not create an attorney-client relationship between brewer law and the user or browser.

Why should I hire an experienced Real Estate Attorney like David R. Brewer?

Whether your real estate transaction will be large or small, the process can be complicated and require expertise you may not personally have. Buying real estate does not simply entail the exchange of money and signing a few documents. The rights of the seller of the property are transferred to the new owner and many legal records need to be checked and updated to reflect the new ownership. As a buyer, you have special risks as you must perform due diligence on the property to make sure it will fulfill your intended purpose, as well as to check for latent defects.  To ensure your real estate transaction is properly executed and that your rights to the property are protected, you need experience on your team.  A real estate attorney brings to the transaction the professional knowledge and experience you need.

Whether you are the buyer or the seller of the real estate, you are going to be bound by a contract. The conditions of the transfer of the property, as well as potential unforeseen events, need to be considered when negotiating and drafting the contract and related documents. The process of negotiating itself can be quite overwhelming – many times a broker is involved, but the documents themselves require the expertise of an experienced real estate lawyer. Items such as delivering a title free from judgements or liens, warranties to protect against hidden issues, and consideration of mineral rights are just a few of the issues that need to be considered when drafting a contract.  Contingencies regarding damages that may emerge are written into the contract terms in order to clearly explain which party will be responsible. As a first time or even as a seasoned real estate buyer or seller, you may overlook or be unaware of important issues. An experienced real estate attorney will ensure you consider important issues during the negotiation and the drafting of the contract documents.

When negotiating a transaction involving a business entity such as a corporation or when the transaction is between parties in differing states, the issues are increasingly complex. These situations can render the negotiation difficult to navigate.  A real estate attorney will ensure relevant state laws are considered and that the agreement will satisfy all parties’ needs. Real estate transactions should be conducted with the guidance of a knowledgeable and experienced real estate broker and attorney, especially when a corporation or partnership is involved.

Disclaimer –
The materials available within this article are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this Web site or any of the e-mails or links contained within the website or article do not create an attorney-client relationship between brewer law and the user or browser.