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Considering legal issues pertaining to family businesses

Running a family business can be a uniquely rewarding experience. Sharing in the everyday triumphs and challenges of business operations with loved ones can deepen family bonds and create invaluable memories. In addition, it can be comforting to know that you have a shared history with your business partners and associates when your enterprise is “all in the family.”

However, it remains important to have a working relationship with an experienced attorney even if your business is owned and operated by you and your family members. Simply because you have a unique bond with your partners and workers does not mean that you and your business do not need protection and do not need to adhere to state and federal business laws.

For example, it is important to incorporate your business in ways that will not leave your family’s personal finances vulnerable to business-related creditors. It is also important to adhere to state and federal wage and hour regulations. An attorney experienced in matters of business law can help you ensure that these matters, and a host of other legal matters, are properly addressed.

Finally, it is important to have a good working relationship with an attorney because too often, family businesses are run without proper contracts and protections in place. You may have excellent reasons to trust your family, but your business still needs you to think about the liabilities that you may face if members of your family ever have a falling out, if someone steals from the business or if someone fails to uphold his or her “end of the bargain.” An attorney can help to ensure that your business is protected in ways that will hopefully not create any significant family tensions.

Source: Findlaw Free Enterprise, “3 Legal Tips for Running a Family Business,” Christopher Coble, May 5, 2015

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