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Why Using Free Legal Documents Online May Cost You In the Long Run

Legal documents are needed for all businesses. It is necessary to use these to record your transactions, to create agreements with customers, employees, investors, contractors, suppliers and more. While it may be tempting to rely on free forms you find online, this is not always going to be the best course of action.

The fact is, while free legal documents may be free initially, and easy to fill out when you just need to get something in writing, they may wind up costing you much more than you thought they would.

How can Free Legal Documents Cost You Money?

At this point, you are probably thinking, “how in the world can free legal documents cost you money – that just doesn’t make sense.” After all, there are even some multi-million dollar companies that have built their entire business one providing free legal documents. Why in the world are they so bad?legal documents

The answer is pretty simple if you think about it. Free legal documents will not properly address all the crucial legal issues in most business situations. As a result, you are much more likely to face a lawsuit if problems do arise, and when this happens, the free legal documents you relied on won’t be any help.

The Problem with Free Legal Documents

The free legal documents you can access online are created to be as generic as possible. This is to ensure they will work for a number of business situations. The issue is that there are so many different types of businesses and different business models that it isn’t possible for free legal documents to address each and every legal issue that applies.

Consider the following – you have downloaded a free consulting agreement. Two different companies want to use it:

  1. A mobile app company that requires a consultant to help with the design of its user interface
  2. A new restaurant that needs a consultant to being opening franchises

These two businesses are extremely different. A basic consulting agreement will not be able to accompany the differences that are present, which can lead a number of serious issues.

Why Proper Legal Documents are Necessary

In most cases, nothing bad is going to come of the situation. The consultants will sign the agreement, do the work, receive payment and move on. However, from time to time, things may not work out as planned. If there is a dispute, then free legal documents aren’t going to be enough. While you may have gotten something for free in the beginning, in the long run it may wind up costing you thousands to go to court and settle the dispute.

If you are a business owner and need legal documents, it is best to rely on the services of an experienced business attorney. For more information about documents and other services, contact the attorneys at Feaman Law by calling 561-734-5552.

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What to Know About Starting a Business and a Partnership

How to Prove Breach of Contract Under Business Law

What To Know About Starting a Business and a Partnership

When you are starting a business, there are several different kinds of structures you can choose to maximize your profit potential.

One of those structures is known as a partnership, in which you go into business with another person or a group of people who share the risk and the rewards of your new company.

But while partnerships may yield success, you should be aware of some of the legal implications of a business partnership.

When Starting a Business With a Partnership, You’re Responsible for Partners’ Actions

Whether you form a partnership with just one other person or with multiple people, you are legally responsible for anything they do when they act as part of your company.

Business Law

That means that if one of your partners commits fraud or does something else that is illegal, you would bear responsibility for that action. That’s why it’s so important to choose partners that you trust to always do the right thing.

The same liability applies to all debts and losses the business occurs, unless you choose a limited partnership or limited liability partnership, which eliminates your liability for the actions of another partner.

Partners Can Legally Sue Each Other

When you enter into a business partnership, any partner can sue another partner for money that is owed them through the partnership.

And the partner can file suit even if it is not the fault of the other partner or partners that the payment remains outstanding.

In other words, if a vendor fails to make a payment and that failure means that one of the partners in the business doesn’t get paid, the partner who was shorted the money can sue the partner who found the vendor.

You Are Bound To Contracts Any Partner Signs

If one of your business partners signs a bad contract on behalf of the company that you don’t like, you are legally bound to fulfill that contract even if you hate the terms of the deal.

This again underscores the importance of ensuring that all business decisions are discussed with every partner before anyone signs on the dotted line. 

Providing Legal Help For New Businesses 

Starting a business often involves a lot of legal paperwork, and if you try to do things yourself, or you hire a business law firm that lacks experience, you may end up paying for it in the future. To prevent that kind of a disaster, you should hire a legal firm that has an understanding of the complexities of business law, and that can advise you about potential pitfalls and advantages of  the legal structure of your business. The attorneys at Peter M. Feaman, P.A. have the expertise to help you achieve your goals. Contact us today for a free legal consultation.

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The Most Common Types of Business Litigation

Are Verbal Business Agreements Legally Binding In Florida?

How To Prove Breach of Contract Under Business Law

Breach of contract is one of the most common types of legal action handled under business law litigation.

And while the violation of a contract may seem fairly straightforward, there are some complexities involved that can make this type of claim difficult to prove.

In fact, most people don’t realize that there are two types of breach of contract: material and minor.

business law

Material breach of contract refers to a contract in which a party receives something much different than what was stipulated in the contract. If you contracted to buy books and received CDs, that would constitute a material breach.

A minor breach refers to a contract in which a party receives the product or service stipulated in the contract, but some aspect of the contract is not honored. For example, if you contracted to buy books, received them, but not within the time specified in the contract, that would constitute a minor breach.

Factors That Determine Whether a Contract Was Breached Under Business Law

To prove breach of contract, you will have to show several things, including:

 That a Contract Existed – you have to show that a valid contract existed between you and the other party. This can be a written contract (easier to show), or a verbal contract (much more difficult to show).

 That You Did Your Part – you must also show that you did what was stipulated in the contract. If you ordered books, for example, you have to show (through a cancelled check or bank statement) that you paid for those books.

 That the Other Party Failed To Do Their Part – this is the ‘breach’ part of the claim, in which you must show that the other party did not hold up their side of the contract, i.e., the book publisher never sent the book.

 That There Were Damages – you must show the damages resulting from the breach. If you didn’t receive the books you ordered, the damages will include the amount you paid for those books.

Proving a contract was breached can be difficult, especially if the contract was not written or was implied. That’s why it’s vital for you to hire a personal injury law firm that understands all the challenges presented by a breach of contract claim, and how to overcome those challenges in a court of law. The team at the Law Offices of Peter M. Feaman, P.A. have the necessary expertise and the resources to mount a strong case on your behalf. Please call us today at 561-734-5552 for a free legal consultation.

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Trademark Law: Could it be Used as a Weapon Against Neo-Nazis?

With countless protests by neo-Nazis and members of the KKK reaching the major news channels recently, many people are becoming more concerned about what they can do to stop these types of events. Recently, it was reported that trademark law may be an effective weapon against these groups. If you are confused about how this is possible, read more here.

Trademark Law

Imagine if you are a corporate executive and you wake up one Monday morning to see a whirlwind of media images capturing violent protests of neo-Nazis, the KKK and other white supremacist groups. In addition to information about what happened, you also see your company’s trademarked logo across the TV, in newspapers and online being worn by these undesirable groups. If you are like most, that undeniable sinking feeling is likely going to hit. However, with trademark law considerations, you may be able to take action.

The Effect of Trademark Law, Your Rights and Stopping Infringement

Recently, the event described above is one that actually occurred in Charlottesville during the “Unite the Right” protests. A group of enterprising, Michigan-based neo-Nazis co-opted the logo of the Detroit Red Wings for their insignia. The group, which was actually known as the “Detroit Right Wings”, copied the logo and replaced the wheel’s spokes with the repeating “SS” symbol.

Proving the Infringement Based on Current Trademark Law

If the Detroit NHL franchise tried to bring about a conventional trademark infringement charge, they may have issues winning the case. After all, you have to prove the “likelihood of confusion” in these situations. This is commonly referred to as “passing off”, which is the act of passing the junior party’s services/goods as emanating from the senior user. Because it would be difficult to prove that a consumer was confused into actually joining the neo-Nazi group believing that it had been sanctioned by the NHL team, success in court would be highly unlikely.

However, thanks to the Federal Antidilution Act of 2006, the trademark owner now has the right to sue for the dilution of the trademark due to tarnishing it. The idea behind trademark dilution is that a non-authorized user has appropriated a person’s or company’s registered mark for what would be otherwise non-infringing, but it is still causing harm to the original brand through blurring or tarnishing the trademark.

Hiring an Attorney for Trademark Law Help

There is no question that any case similar to the one described above would require help from a trademark law attorney. These can be complex and involve quite a few hurdles. If you are facing a similar situation, contact the team of attorneys at the Law Office of Peter M. Feaman, P.A. by calling 561-734-5552.

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Four Common Sales Contract Mistakes

What are Common Issues in a Family Business?

Common Mistakes Made When Starting a Business

Having a new business idea is exciting and it can make you feel like you’re on top of the world – but that feeling fades as you go through executing your plans to start the business.

starting a business

On the bright side, millions have done this before you – and they have already worked out what some of the biggest and most common mistakes are when starting a business. If you’re considering starting your own business, then you should consider these issues before you dive in head first.

Quitting Your Day Job Before Starting a Business

One of the worst things you can do when starting a business is to quit your day job before you have a solid start. Unless you’ve got the financial backing to keep up with both your personal bills and your business expenses, then you should consider keeping your day job and working your new business as a side hustle to start with. Many entrepreneurs will tell you that it may take longer, but it can be a big mistake to quit your job out of anger, frustration or spite, only to find yourself and your business drowning a couple months later when you start running out of funds.

Not Checking to See if you can Legally Use Your Business Name

You’ve come up with the perfect name for your business – it’s catchy, memorable, and the URL is available – but have you checked to make sure there are no other LLCs, trademarks or copyrights on the name? If you don’t do this first, then you could potentially find yourself in legal trouble down the road when someone finds out that you’ve been using their business name – even unknowingly, it’s still against the law.

Not Creating a Separate Business Bank Account

Keeping your business finances separate from your personal finances is an important aspect of being a business owner. Not only do you look more professional paying your employees, contractors, or others out of a business account rather than your personal account, but it will make things easier for you come tax time, too. If you ever find yourself being audited by the IRS or your state government, then it will make things a lot messier and more complicated if all your finances are coming in and out of a single account.

Not Ensuring you have Proper Legal Representation

Not all businesses are at high risk of being sued, or being involved with matters of law – however, if you are looking into a contract, or are writing one yourself, then you will want to have it reviewed by a competent business attorney. This will ensure that you don’t come across any issues when trying to collect debts you may be owed by clients or customers, among other issues. Find an attorney with experience working with businesses like yours, if possible.

Not Setting Aside a Decent Marketing Budget

Marketing is one of the areas where businesses often try to cut expenses – but especially in your earliest months, it is important for you to have a decent marketing budget. This will ensure that you are able to grow your following, audience and customer base as quickly as possible, especially since this is something that will naturally take time no matter how much money you have to put into it.

If you are looking for legal advice in regards to starting a business, or are having issues with one of the problems mentioned above, then you should reach out to business litigation attorney Peter M. Feaman, PA or call 561-734-5552 to schedule a consultation.

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Four Common Sales Contract Mistakes

A sales contract is an agreement that both the buyer and seller of something sign in order to define the terms of their sale of personal property, securities or goods. A sales contract can be very helpful and beneficial to both sides of a sale, but only if they are done right. But sales contract mistakes can derail a deal and leave both a buyer and seller without their desired result.

Below are 4 common ways in which sales contract mistakes can rear their ugly head.

Cross Your T’s and Dot Your I’s to Prevent Sales Contact Mistakes

The simplest way for a sales contract to have mistakes is having incorrect information listed in the contract. This includes an incorrect description of the product being sold, including the type of product being sold, the model number, the weight, the color and the size. Make sure your description of the product or property is as clear and detailed as you can make it.

sales contract

If your contract deals with real estate, make sure the location is exactly defined and described, including everything that will be involved in the sale, such as buildings and other equipment.

Bad Delivery Instructions

If the product(s) in question will be delivered somewhere, the same caveats as described above apply. Make sure the delivery address is exact and correct. The same goes for the time and method of delivery. If something is delivered to the wrong place and/or at the wrong time, it can be a serious problem.

If you are the seller of a product, getting delivery instructions wrong can also be costly if you have to pay to have the product re-delivered.

Failure to Address Contingencies

A good sales contract can include the answers to some “what if?” questions, like “what if the product is delivered to the wrong place or at the wrong time?” or “what if the product is lost in transit or damaged?” A good contract will have plans for contingencies, especially if transport of the product could incur problems or delays.

When something like real estate is involved, contingencies could include regulatory failures and failing to meet closing requirements.

Doing Business with the Wrong Person

Sales contracts can protect you if you are a buyer or seller, and in the United States, domestic sales contracts are governed by the Uniform Commercial Code. International sales contracts fall under the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG), also known as the Vienna Sale Convention.

So if you are wronged in a deal, you have legal recourse, but you must also recognize that some people are unreliable or even worse, purposefully deceitful. If you have questions about sales contract mistakes, contact the Law Offices of Peter M. Feaman, PA today. We have lawyers who have experience in that area of the law.

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What Are Common Issues In A Family Business?

A family business can be a blessing and a curse, because though you get to work with your loved ones, the familiarity between you can trigger heightened emotions and conflict that is more difficult to solve than if you were working with a friend or an acquaintance.

Family business

To help you avoid these difficulties in your family business, there are some common issues you should understand, and the ways to avoid them in the future.

Favoritism In a Family Business

Though you own a family business, it’s likely that you have employees who are not related to you. One of the problems that crops up is when it appears as if you are showing favoritism to your family members to the detriment of your other employees.

You can resolve this issue by treating your family members the same way you do non-relative employees, which includes facing the same consequences for not meeting performance standards.

Who Will Run the Business In the Future

Another common issue in a family business is the lack of a clear succession plan.

If family members have no idea who will run the business in the future, it can complicate the transition after you pass away, because there are no protocols for surviving family members to follow.

To avoid this problem, make sure you establish a succession plan and share that plan with your family so there are no surprises when the transition time arrives.

The Personal Becomes Part of the Business

It’s difficult for members of a family business to leave their personal issues out of the business. But this can become a problem when those personal issues involve another family member, because this can carry over into the day-to-day aspects of running the business.

Avoid this problem by creating a culture in which personal issues are handled outside of business hours. By focusing on company operations during business hours, you can help to separate the personal from the professional, and lower the chances of disharmony.

Failing To Give Family Members the Right Position

Another issue in a family business is that sometimes you may not place family members in a job that best matches their skills and temperament.

This often occurs because you want to provide your loved ones with the opportunity to thrive in the family business, but hiring them for the wrong job can have negative consequences.

Make sure you properly assess the skills of your family members, and place them in a position that is most appropriate.

Legal Services For Your Family Business

Even when you know some of the pitfalls of owning a family business, problems may still arise despite your best efforts. In those instances you need an experienced litigation lawyer to help you sort through the legal entanglements and protect the future of your business.

The law firm of Peter M. Feaman, P.A. has years of experience helping businesses navigate through a number of legal issues. Call us today at 561-734-5552 for a free legal consultation.

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Four Things to Think About When Selling a Business

When you’ve built up a successful business and want to pass it on to someone else, there are some important factors to consider. The process of selling a business can be relatively complex.

selling a business

It has to involve many important elements in the handover process that help make the sale satisfactory to both parties and comply with federal, state and local laws and standards.

Reasons for Selling a Business

One of the first things to think about is how to explain the timing of the business sale to a buyer. Investigating this concept helps to effectively sell the business, but it also provides a key context for what comes next: Administrating the nuts and bolts of the sale process. Evaluating the context of the sale will help to clarify the outcomes for partners, and the positions of those partners relative to the sale.

Business Valuation and Selling a Business

This is an element of the sale where sellers often have many questions. How do you value pieces of property utilized by the business? What about the value of a client list?

Skilled business lawyers can assist with this type of analysis, and advise a business owner on what they’re likely to get for their business in a sale. Valuing assets isn’t always straightforward and can require some extensive research, as well as teamwork. Having professional counsel can help business owners work through the process with more confidence, and tackle the tough questions around ownership and valuation.

Collecting Documentation for Selling a Business

Obviously, the business seller will have to have documentation for assets such as real estate property. However, other kinds of documentation may also be necessary. The business owner may need to compile information from tax returns, to show business income or for other reasons.

The business owner should also provide detailed inventories of assets and items along with the business itself. For example, a restaurant business will need to document restaurant equipment. A transport business will need information related to its fleet. All of this helps enhance the sale process and drive a cleaner sale.

 Contemplating Profits when Selling a Business

In many cases, the business seller will get a significant lump sum of money after the sale is final. It’s also important to think about tax burdens on this money, and how it might be invested. This financial research can be a major part of a business sale for a seller. Experienced legal counsel can consult on the best ways to handle money after a sale.

If you’re looking at making a major change in your business, contact the experienced business law attorneys at Feaman Law. Call 561-734-5552 and ask a professional business lawyer how to go forward with the sale of a business. Nail down all of the essential details about a business sale, and head off potential legal issues before they arise. Making the extra effort ensures an orderly sale and a positive result for sellers.

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LLC or Corporation

LLC or Corporation: Which is a Better Business Ownership Model in Florida?

Are you starting a business in Florida, but are not yet sure about what kind of structure to use?LLC or Corporation

One of the things you can do to make a decision is to compare business entities in the state to determine which works best for you. Limited liability companies (LLC) and corporations have their own pros and cons.

When comparing business entities in Florida, remember that it is important to keep the characteristics that matter to you the most in mind.

An Overview of the Florida LLC

To form a Florida LLC, you need to file Articles of Organization with the Department of State. If you are considering forming an LLC, you should know the pros and cons. Here is a brief look at each:

Pros

  • Privacy: One of the advantages of forming an LLC is privacy. An anonymous LLC can be formed in Florida, but you cannot form an anonymous corporation.
  • Informal: There are far fewer administrative requirements when forming an LLC. It is less formal, which means that you do not need corporate officers, a board of directors, annual shareholder meetings, etc.
  • Pass-through taxation: With LLCs, profits are reported on your individual tax return. This means that you are not taxed twice, which is wonderful for any business. (But you are taxed in other ways, however, that is another topic.)

Cons

  • Self-employment tax: If you have an LLC, you will have to pay taxes on all the profits you make, unless you make the choice to be treated as an S-corp. Keep in mind that these taxes are generally higher than the tax rate for corporations.
  • Limited life: The life of an LLC is limited compared to a corporation. You need to keep in mind that your company will be dissolved when a member of your LLC departs – that is, unless you specifically address this issue in your Operating Agreement.

An Overview of Florida Corporations

To form a Florida corporation, you need to file Articles of Incorporation with the Department of State. Like LLCs, corporations have their advantages and disadvantages. Here is a quick look at the pros and cons of establishing a corporation in Florida:

Pros

  • Legal precedent: Compared to LLCs, there is far more law when it comes to corporations. This makes it a lot easier to understand exactly what your business can and cannot legally do.
  • Re-investment: The tax structure in a corporation allows you to invest profit back into your company, if you wish to. If used strategically, this is a function that can aid in reducing your tax burden.
  • Benefits: In corporations, talented or valuable employees can be retained by offering them an array of benefits. These benefits, such as stock options, are tax deductible.

Cons

  • Formal Requirements: Corporations have an intricate structure. There is a wide range of record keeping and reporting requirements – and these requirements can be not only cumbersome, but incredibly costly as well.
  • Double Taxation: Corporations are required to pay an entity tax. You need to remember that, in addition to this, the shareholders in a corporation have to pay taxes on the dividends that they receive.

Which is Best for My Business?

Which is the right entity for my business?” This is one of the first questions asked by new business owners. The answer is this: It depends. For a number of reasons, this is a complicated question and not a decision you should make lightly. It is also one well worth answering because if it is done right, establishing a corporate entity will give you three advantages:

  • Your liability is limited
  • Your tax exposure is limited
  • Ownership can be divided

To decide whether you should form a corporation or an LLC for your business, it is critical to consider the pros and cons of each entity carefully, especially those of the operations and the legal and tax aspects.

In order to determine the best fit for your business, it is a good idea to work closely with both your CPA and lawyer. Depending on the type of business you want to set up, they can help you weigh all the options and then decide if a corporation or an LLC would be the better selection for you.

If you have any questions regarding establishing a business entity in the state of Florida, contact the Law Offices of Peter M. Feaman, PA. Call 561-734-5552 to schedule a consultation to discuss your business and its needs.

Why Entrepreneurs are Flocking

Why Entrepreneurs are Flocking to Florida

When you think of Florida, you may tend to think of the perfect holiday destination, with its sunny weather, pristine beaches, and awesome entertainment options. Now the Sunshine State is also becoming a popular destination for entrepreneurs looking to start their companies.

Why Entrepreneurs are Flocking

For one, there is no income tax in the state of Florida. Overall – unlike California and New York which have high taxes and are therefore seeing citizens and business leave – Florida is gaining in jobs and business startups.

Many entrepreneurs from various industries are bypassing hubs like New York City and Silicon Valley in favor of Florida, and the state is fast emerging as a hotbed for startups. In fact, it is the fifth most entrepreneurship-friendly state in the US, according to a 2014 Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council study.

Here is a quick look at why entrepreneurs are flocking to Florida to start their businesses.

  • Startup and Innovation Culture: One of the main reasons for entrepreneurs heading to Florida is the startup and innovation culture in the state. This culture has been helped immensely by the international flavor. The mixture of different cultures is a catalyst for ideas, which does not happen in too many places. Additionally, programs at local universities, such as Florida Atlantic University and University of Miami and the LAB Miami, are geared towards promoting startups in Florida. Apart from this, the state is rich in high-quality resources that are essential for startups and their success.
  • Economic Benefits: Relocating to Florida also provides entrepreneurs with economic benefits. An example of such is the lack of an income tax in the state. Additionally, living costs in the Sunshine State are cheaper than those that can be found in a number of other startup hubs around the United States. For instance, the average monthly rent in Miami for a one-bedroom apartment is roughly $1,557, compared with $3,313 in San Francisco and $2,993 in New York City. Being able to save on living costs is important for young entrepreneurs who are struggling to start a new company, so Florida is naturally a great choice for a startup.
  • Youthful Energy: Many of the cities in Florida are fantastic places for young entrepreneurs to relocate to start their own business as they are fun and full of youthful energy. The combination of the climate, the diverse culture and the overall vibe in Florida makes it a great place for startups. For young people, the energy in the state plays a role in boosting their drive in building their businesses and striving to make their startup the success they desire. Additionally, the startup community in the state is catching up at a fast rate to other entrepreneur-friendly cities, such as Boston, New York City, and others. And because many of these other places have burdensome regulations, it just makes sense to many business owners to give Florida a try.

A Prolific Law Firm

If you are in need of legal services related to your business, the Law Firm of Peter M. Feaman, P.A. is the best place to go. The lawyers in our law firm are highly trained, knowledgeable, and experienced in all aspects of business litigation in Florida.

You can rely on us to give you the best business litigation services to resolve your legal problems as quickly as possible with successful results. Call us at (561) 734-5552 to schedule a consultation with one of our committed and cordial attorneys.