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Legal essentials for new and active business owners

Launching a new business? New business owners should consider the importance of maintaining the “legal health” of their business. Like a family doctor providing advice on how to protect and maintain health, a solicitor who practices business law provides ongoing support to business owners so they can make informed decisions, implement measures to protect assets, and avoid legal disputes in the short and long term. What’s more, like a family doctor trying to help you avoid the emergency room, as solicitors we try to help our clients avoid needing the services of the other type of business lawyer (the litigators that assist with lawsuits).

One of the first essential decisions business owners make is selecting and establishing the right business structure to meet their initial business needs.  Structures that might suit a business’s needs include sole proprietorships, partnerships, federally or provincially incorporated companies, and alternative business models such as cooperatives. Different business structures accommodate different types of business activities, and launching with one type of business structure does not commit you to that structure permanently. Many entrepreneurs begin as sole proprietors and then later incorporate or form partnerships for various reasons, including tax planning opportunities. A business solicitor (alongside an accountant) can advise you on which structure may be best suited to your business’s current circumstances.

Running an active business? After the initial start-up, successful business owners can benefit from seeking ongoing legal advice and support from solicitors in several areas, including:

  • Acting as registered and records office for incorporated businesses (this includes preparing and filing annual maintenance documents and facilitating review of the business’s record book);
  • Drafting or reviewing agreements, including commercial leases, contracts to buy or sell shares or assets such as real estate and equipment;
  • Creating template contracts and waivers for use with the business’s customers;
  • Assisting with employment contracts and independent contractor agreements to provide clarity and prevent future disputes;
  • Documenting agreements to add new partners or shareholders; and
  • Resolving disputes in a manner that preserves essential business relationships.

And beyond the business?  Sooner or later, many business owners will also need legal advice that extends to personal and family issues, such as options for creditor protection, business succession planning, and estate planning that considers their personal assets as well as their business interests.

Your needs are as unique as your business. Our goal is to help you enter clear agreements that protect yourself and your business, plan for your personal and professional future, and prevent costly disputes.

For more information on how we help business owners, contact HSJ Lawyers.

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