Friday, February 3, 2017

Saving a Family Business from Emotional Dysfunction


There are some pretty eye-opening stats, like

  • 2/3 of the businesses around the world are family-owned
  • It is estimated that 90% of U.S. businesses are family-owned
  • Only 3 out of 10 family businesses survive into a second generation and only 1 out of 10 survive into a third generation

As the article points out, one of the best ways to deal with these issues is to get the controlling family members to focus on the future and what the business will look like after that generation is gone from the business. 

The article also suggests the importance of "Fairness" in the dealings between family members, pointing to three possible practices to implement:

  • Give everyone voice, creating the perception that everybody in the family can make a difference
  • Provide clarity, offering timely and accurate information about family and business issues
  • Be consistent, applying the rules in the same manner to all members of the family

In addition to these practices, the article discusses the benefits of creating a "Constitution" for the company and the importance of having a strong Board of Directors.

The advice laid out is good food for thought, especially for many of the small businesses I have worked with over the years. A family-owned small business inherently has unique issues that need to be addressed so that it can thrive for generations, especially considering how many family-owned businesses there are in the world.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Nanny Tax Requirements (State by State Guide)

One of the big benefits of starting your own business is often the flexibility that being the boss allows when it comes to your children's schedules. But when you first start the company, you'll often be working longer hours than you ever anticipated. For some people who choose to go that route, hiring a nanny can be a good way to make sure your children are taken care of.

This week I came across a good site that allows you to see the tax and labor law for your state when you hire a nanny:


You can choose your state and it will give you a summary of how your state's laws treats your nanny, including their Worker Classification, Tax Responsibilities, Labor Law Requirements and Insurance. It also includes a Budget Calculator for you to examine the financial impact the nanny will have on your home budget.

If you are preparing to hire a nanny for the first time, or just want to make sure that your current situation is checking all the requirements, check out the website for some good answers.

Monday, January 30, 2017

We Got a Prenup, We Got Married, Now What?

After a busy holiday season of preparing prenuptial agreements for clients who were getting married in early 2017, the inquiries now start rolling in about what to do next. For many of my clients, the prenup holds a significant planning piece of their future, which allows them piece of mind as they walk down the aisle. But then once that is done, and they are married, and they have re-affirmed their prenup, what do they need to do next?

The often overlooked answer for most of my clients is their estate plan. After spending all that time working on the prenup and plan in the case that they get divorced, the next logical step is to then prepare an estate plan to address what happens is they die. Although it may seem like a rather morbid thought so soon after your wedding, it's actually the logical next step as you plan out your lives together.

Of course, I have some really over-achieving clients who do their prenup and estate plan at the same time, but that is not the norm. For most people, they enjoy that newlywed bliss and let their estate planning needs lay dormant for too long.

So, if you recently got married, whether or not you had a prenup, it's also a good time to get your estate planning needs taken care of too. It's just another good way to get things started on the right foot as you begin your married life together...

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Announcing (Quietly) My New Minnesota Office

I have been admitted to practice law in the State of Minnesota and the local office will be located at: 

4940 West 77th Street, Edina, Minnesota 55435
Phone: (612) 294-6982
Fax: (612) 294-6988

Lots of things to do in the meantime and a more formal announcement will follow in the future. 

Thank you to all who helped me get to this next step in the growth of my firm!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Preparing for Some Upcoming Changes

Things have been a bit quiet with me as I prepare for some very big upcoming changes. Due to the nature of the changes, I am unable to announce the changes formally, but should be able to do so in the next 7 - 10 days...

In the meantime, one of my oldest cases finally settled and my client and I are able to move forward. This client has become one of my most used tales of caution to prospective and new clients about the importance of getting things in writing, especially when entering into a business deal. Because this client had nothing in writing, the case dragged on for nearly five years until finally, as the trial was about to commence, the parties finally came to a resolution.

Over the course of five years, we saw all kinds of delays, changes of attorneys for the other parties, changes of judges (3 over the course of the case) and many a morning waiting in Court or at my office when the other party just did not appear and we were left to wonder what was going on. Over 100 hours of legal work later, the case has finally settled.

From this case, I've learned a lot of lessons, including the importance of a small business to make sure to clean up their agreements (or draft agreements if they don't already have them) and make sure that all of the clients have signed off on the agreements. Without these agreements, or specific terms in an agreement that are necessary, businesses can be left exposed to allowing the Court to determine terms of the agreement (or lack thereof) and thus take it out of the hands of the parties who agreed.

Looking forward to announcing more news next week...

Friday, January 6, 2017

Welcome to 2017...

We’re finally delving into 2017 and as they tend to do, a lot of new year’s resolutions from people have fallen by the wayside about 5 days in. Where the gym was a madhouse on Monday, by Friday, things are a lot quieter as people get back to their grind and struggle to find the time to workout.

With the end of the holidays and the beginning of the new year, the mix of clients coming in the door has changed over. Where December brought in small businesses looking to finish up the 2016 hustle and get ready for 2017, once the year turned, things turned back to more personal transactions at both ends of the spectrum. Some folks experienced a terrible holiday and need to get a divorce, but the happier folks coming in the door got engaged and need to get their affairs in order and get a prenuptial agreement in place before their wedding.

Also on the business side, a small company that I’m excited to be working with has some really big plans for 2017 and it has been eye opening to work with them on the legal machinations that we can put into place to help them get to where they need to be. The founders have put together a good team on all fronts and as things continue to mesh well and move forward, it definitely feels like something big is on the horizon for them.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Gearing Up for the Holiday Weekend

We've really hit the final stretch, less than eight days left in the year. It seems that everyone is trying to get their last few things in before 2017 hits. So in the midst of all that chaos, it's also a good time to take a moment, maybe even a quiet one, and just relax. With only eight days left in the year, there are only so many things you can get done in the time remaining. Rather than stress about all of them, take some time, plan out your final few days, and gear up for a great 2017...


Or you can join the hordes of shoppers descending on malls and stores for one last bit of shopping...


Either way, make sure you enjoy these last few days!