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Business Law and Corporate Transactions
Business law and corporate transactions involves many aspects of the business planning process. Incorporation can occur in any U.S. state and/or even internationally. Choosing the right entity is a key consideration in the process and varies from transaction to transaction. No matter which entity you choose, or the reason for incorporation, it is crucial to draft ironclad business agreements and follow proper legal formalities. These business agreements should at the very minimum detail the following: ownership structure, business purpose, management details, terms of a future sale, business operation terms and under which circumstances business dissolution can and should occur. Business law also overlaps with estate planning (wills and trusts) and other legal fields. Business law and corporate transactions further includes: the preparation of business documents such as promissory notes, lending agreements, mortgage deeds, leasing agreements, employment agreements, employee handbooks, etc. Most existing businesses should be reviewed from time-to-time as well to ensure corporate formalities have been observed properly.
Tax-exempt nonprofit organizations are very complicated in nature and have certain formalities (both legal and tax) that need to be followed from the start of the organization until its termination. Failure to follow such formalities may subject the nonprofit to voluntary or involuntary termination of the exemption status. The key requirement to qualify for the exemption is that the nonprofit organization must be organized and operated exclusively for one or more exempt purposes including: religious, charitable, scientific, public safety, literary, educational purposes, for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals, and/or certain amateur sports.
Wills and Trusts
Estate Planning (wills and trusts) is the process of planning for the disposition of your assets to specified beneficiaries at death. Your beneficiaries could include: your spouse, children and/or grandchildren or even close family friends. Estate planning also includes planning for your incapacity (in other words, appointing a agent or surrogate to make decisions on your behalf when you cannot do so yourself). Basic estate planning is a necessity for every family and includes: declaration of health care surrogate (or health care directive), living will, durable power of attorney, last will and testament and/or revocable living trust. Advanced estate planning includes: irrevocable trusts, business succession planning, irrevocable life insurance trusts, qualified personal residence trusts and/or defective grantor trusts.
Probate administration is the process of settling a person’s estate after death and distributing a decedent’s assets to beneficiaries. In Florida, the probate process is largely based on the Florida Probate Rules and Florida Statutes. The Florida probate process is considered one of the most complicated processes in of the different U.S. states. As an overview, Florida has two types of probate administration; formal probate administration and summary probate administration. Formal probate administration is necessary where the assets of an decedent’s estate exceed $75,000.00 (not including property exempt property such as homestead). Summary probate administration is necessary where the assets of an estate do not exceed $75,000.00, however, there exist assets in the personal name of a decedent that need to be probated (or passed to beneficiaries). Other types of probate administration include intestate succession (passing of assets without a will) as well as handling the re-titling of non-probate property, such as homes held by a husband and wife. A surviving spouse should always follow special procedures to notify the property appraiser’s office of the death and record the transition in property ownership.
Court supervised guardianship may be necessary in many circumstances for children and adults. Guardianship is a court supervised process where a person is appointed as a guardian to handle the financial and/or medical related affairs of a child or an incapacitated adult. Guardianship is often seen in elderly clients who have not executed estate planning documents prior to incapacity, or who may have executed such documents, but done so improperly (not following proper formalities). Guardianship may also be necessary if a person was injured in a car accident and did not have estate planning documents in place. Temporary guardianship may be appropriate in this circumstance. Guardianship over a child may occur where a child’s natural parents pass away (or become incapacitated) and there is not a pre-determined plan for a substitute guardian outside of court. Guardianship over a child is not the same as adoption because the guardian only remains responsible for the child under court supervision during the years the child is under the legal age of 18. The same goes for guardianship of adults – once the adult passes away, the guardianship ends. Court appointed guardianship may also be terminated early if there is good cause and the court consents.
Real Estate Law
Capital Planning Law, PLLC can assist you in your residential and/or commercial real estate transaction. A real estate attorney by your side can help you navigate through the complexities of your real estate transaction and represent your best interests (which broker’s often don’t). If the transaction is not handled with diligence and care, the deal can fall through and/or litigation may occur. Therefore, it is important to have a real estate attorney represent you in all of your real estate transactions.
Contact Capital Planning Law, PLLC for your complimentary consultation to discuss your business law and corporate transactions, estate planning, probate, guardianship and/or real estate needs.