How to Deal with Partnership and Shareholder Disputes

Regardless of shared goals and a similar vision for a business, partnership and shareholder disputes happen. Unfortunately, in some cases, these disputes are severe enough to threaten the partnership or shareholder relationship. When these types of disputes arise, it is essential to find a resolution as quickly as possible.

What are some of the most common types of partnership and shareholder disputes?

  • Allegations of misconduct
  • Disagreements about management of the business
  • Arguments over allocation of resources
  • Disagreements concerning the terms of the partnership or shareholder agreement
  • Imbalanced workload between partners

Anything can tip off a dispute in business, but these tend to be the most common reasons conflict arises.

What Can You Do to Avoid Partnership and Shareholder Disputes?

Though there is no way to protect against every dispute that arises within a business, there are things that can be done to reduce the likelihood of a conflict. At the very least, these things can lessen the impact of a dispute.

It is important that everyone involved in a company have a clear understanding of their obligations. Everyone needs to know how assets and liabilities will be managed and what they can do to avoid a dispute if they believe one is looming. It is important to have a plan in place for resolving conflict before it is full-blown and threatening a company.

Any agreements or terms related to avoiding and resolving disputes needs to be clearly outlined in the partnership or shareholder agreement. The more people know what to expect the less of a chance there is that a conflict will spiral out of control. A solid, comprehensive partnership or shareholder agreement can go a long way in clarifying and managing expectations.

Any operating agreements you create must be memorialized in writing. All too often, partners work together casually and assume that their pre-existing friendship will be enough to build their business on. Even larger corporations with a board of directors tend to sometimes give too much credence to personal relationships.

No matter your trust and comfort level with each other, it is important to have documents in place that govern your working relationships. If a disagreement should arise, there needs to be something concrete to help you through resolving it. Keep in mind, even with the best intentions; people tend to have different recollections of things that were said or intentions behind what was meant during conversations.

A lot of disputes can be avoided by putting agreements and terms in writing. Doing so also means the subjects of any agreements are discussed, clarified, and understood by all of parties.

What Can You Do to Make Sure the Terms of an Agreement are Clear and Easily Understood?

There are several things you should do early on in the life of a business or at any time it is needed to make sure everyone understands the terms of a partnership or shareholder agreement. Strong foundational documents will go a long way in preventing damage from conflict.

One of the most important things you can do is hire an attorney who has experience drafting and reviewing shareholder and partnership agreements. An attorney can help you create documents that are specific to the needs of your business and ensure that documents address all material aspects of a business’ operations.

The best partnership and shareholder documents reduce the frequency and intensity of conflict and ensure that everyone with an interest in the business understands his or her obligations. It is also important to make sure terms of an agreement are prepared in accordance with state and federal laws, as well as any industry regulations.

Implement a Dispute Resolution Program and Review It as Necessary

One of the most important parts of your partnership or shareholder agreement is the description of the dispute resolution process. Those involved should negotiate how conflict will be dealt with and agree on a standard procedure for dealing with disputes when they arise.

There should be a formal dispute resolution process in place, as well as an understanding among shareholders and partners of when it needs to be used. Not all disputes are serious enough to be escalated to a formal resolution process, but there needs to be one in place for when it is necessary.

Ideally, partners and shareholders will agree to use an alternative method of dispute resolution, such as mediation when disputes arise. Parties should do everything they can to avoid litigation and resolve the matter “in house.” Mediation is confidential and a great way to preserve relationships when disputes arise. It is also less expensive and less time consuming than litigation.

Other tips for resolving disputes between shareholders and partners include:

  • Directly negotiating and addressing the problem with partners or interested parties. It is important to keep issues from escalating and to keep the matter as private as possible, but there are times when it is better to bring in other people (staff, other shareholders, etc.) to deal with an issue.
  • Not taking disagreements personally. Conflict is a part of business and if everyone is able to handle the matter professionally it should be able to be resolved one way or another.
  • Being willing to negotiate in good faith and try to reach a resolution that is truly in the best interest of the company.

One of the best things you can do if you are involved in a partnership or shareholder dispute is to keep things in perspective. At the end of the day, everyone shares the same goal of keeping the business going with minimal distractions and conflict. The more you can do in advance to build a foundational or peaceful resolution the better. You should always anticipate disagreements – even in the best of circumstances – and do what you can to manage them before resorting to formal dispute resolution.

Working with an attorney who has experience dealing with partnership and shareholder disputes can make it easier to identify potential problem areas and mitigate them before they blossom into full-blown problems. An attorney can also assist you in working through any disputes that have already arisen.

Neal Brickman
www.brickmanlaw.com

Advice from a Mortgage Foreclosure Attorney: What to Do If You Are Facing Foreclosure

If you have missed some of your mortgage payments and have received notice of the bank’s intent to foreclose on your property, it is important that you obtain the legal advice and direction that you need. Here are tips on what to do if you are facing foreclosure.

Contact a HUD-Certified Housing Counselor

Before you agree to pay expensive attorney’s fees, first reach out to a HUD-certified housing counselor. This person is perfectly positioned to help you obtain a mortgage modification or provide you with other options to avoid foreclosure. He or she can also give you helpful advice on the foreclosure process and help you get organized.

Get Organized

To maximize the time you spend with your mortgage foreclosure attorney, start getting organized now. Create a chronology that describes what happened. Include details on the amount that you are behind and the dates when you received notices from your lender.

Gather documentation to help support your chronology. Provide your mortgage foreclosure attorney with the same documentation you submitted to your lender when applying for your mortgage or the mortgage modification. You might have an electronic copy of this message. A lawyer can carefully review this information and determine if you are eligible for mortgage foreclosure help because the lender used unfair practices when creating the mortgage or violated your consumer rights.

Keep a Detailed Log of Communications
Keep a detailed log of correspondence and records on each communication you had with your lawyer.

Look for a Qualified Mortgage Foreclosure Attorney

Ask for referrals to a qualified mortgage foreclosure attorney, check with local bar associations or do an internet search for a local mortgage foreclosure attorney. You can check if the lawyer has any ethical violations in his or her record. Meet with a couple of attorneys and gauge your comfort of working with each one. Ask questions at your initial consultation to determine the lawyer’s experience with foreclosure defense and the legal strategies that may be employed to assist you.

Be realistic with yourself. If you do not have enough income to meet your mortgage obligation, you may need to be prepared to walk away from your home. A conscientious mortgage foreclosure attorney can lay out your options. He or she should not agree to take your case if you have insufficient income to support your home or a plan to change matters quickly.

Develop a Plan

Once you retain the services of a qualified attorney, identify the type of mortgage foreclosure help that your lawyer can provide. Consider your goals, such as keeping the home, restructuring the mortgage, avoiding a lawsuit, giving the deed to your home back to the bank or another outcome. Once your lawyer understands your objectives, he or she will be better able to devise a plan designed to meet them. When you leave the office of your mortgage foreclosure attorney, you should have a clear patch about where you need to go and what you need, whether this means negotiating a mortgage modification or filing a complaint for predatory lending.

Contact Harry Ross for More Information
If you would like more information on how to defend against foreclosure or need mortgage foreclosure help, visit www.hjrlaw.com today.

Harry Ross
www.hjrlaw.com

Why a Car Accident Attorney is Your Most Valuable Resource after a Crash

Being injured in a car accident is a frightening experience. You might be wondering “can an auto accident attorney near me help?” Ultimately, the answer is “yes,” but it is not that simple. Since it is possible to deal with the insurance company on your own and handle a claim without the help of an attorney, many people are tempted to do so, especially if their injuries were not life-threatening. Unfortunately, this can end up being a mistake and can cost you time, money, and peace of mind.

How is an accident attorney a valuable resource after a collision?

Auto Accident Attorneys Communicate with Insurance Companies

One of the most difficult aspects of the aftermath of an auto accident is dealing with insurance companies. When you work with an auto accident attorney near me, you can pass off this obligation to the attorney and let them handle it. It ensures that an experienced professional is “handling” insurance matters and it prevents you from having to deal with the endless back-and-forth. You are able to focus on recovering from your injuries while someone else deals with insurance matters.

Auto Accident Attorneys Obtain Evidence of Liability

To successfully settle or win an auto accident case in your favor, you will need to prove liability. Sometimes liability is obvious, but this does not mean it will be easy for you to resolve your claim on your own. Lawyers representing the insurance companies involved tend to do all they can to call the facts of a case into question. By working with an attorney, you ensure that your interests are protected and that you will have access to the evidence you need to prove your claim. An accident attorney near me will leave no stone unturned when it comes to gathering evidence of liability and proving fault in your case.

Auto Accident Attorneys Obtain Evidence of Damages

In addition to proving liability, you must also show damages. Damages are the injuries you incurred as a result of the accident. It might seem obvious if your injuries are severe, but you will need to obtain medical documentation to prove you were injured, regardless of how obvious it might be. Getting the information needed from hospitals and doctors can be time consuming and might require specific procedures. Records are often incomplete or do not include the right terminology to prove your damages. An attorney is able to handle all of these nuances and ensure that your case has all the evidence it needs for you to receive a fair settlement.

Attorneys Can Negotiate Fair Settlements

Finally, an auto accident attorney near me will negotiate a settlement on your behalf that is fair based on your damages. Negotiations can be challenging and insurance companies do all they can to keep what they need to pay you as low as possible. Your attorney will ensure you get top dollar for your injuries.

Working with an auto accident attorney can make a challenging time a little bit easier on you. If you would like more information on how to resolve a car accident claim, visit www.ddovitzlegal.com today.

Douglas Dovitz
www.ddovitzlegal.com

5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Texas Real Estate Attorney

Texas real estate attorneys help you with transactions relating to some of your most valuable assets: your real property. The expertise and knowledge that a real estate attorney like Dan Martens has cannot simply be replaced by advice from a real estate agent or broker. The attorney you select will play a pivotal role.
Before you hire a Texas real estate attorney, make a list of questions to ask your prospective choices. Consider their answers to these questions during your selection process:

1. How much experience do you have?

This question seeks to nail down whether the attorney you are considering has enough experience to competently handle your case. In addition to knowing how many years the lawyer has been practicing law, it is also important to know how long he or she has been practicing real estate law. You want to ensure that your Texas real estate attorney will have a firm grasp on the legal issues and know what challenges may arise.
You should also figure out whether the attorney graduated in Texas or from another state. Then, ask about how much of his or her experience was based on Texas law since real property laws are determined on a state-by-state basis.

2. Have you handled cases like mine before?

If you are dealing with a complex legal issue, you will want to be sure that your lawyer has a firm grasp on the case without having to expend a lot of time to research a novel issue on your dime. If your case is a more standard one like a landlord/tenant dispute or a closing on a single-family home, ask how many similar cases the lawyer has handled. This will clue you in on how well-versed the lawyer is with your particular legal issue.

3. What would your legal strategy be for my case?

While the lawyer may not be able to give you an exact legal strategy before diving into more of the intricate details of your case, an experienced Texas real estate attorney should be able to give you a brief overview and general plan on how he or she would tackle your legal issue. A lawyer should be able to concisely explain why you need his or her services and how the lawyer can help. Look for concrete steps the lawyer describes, as well as vague assurances that may be a hint that the lawyer does not know what he or she is talking about.
An experienced real estate attorney should be able to explain the basic actions that will need to be taken, including any legal filings.

4. How will I be billed?

It is important that you have a good understanding on how you will be charged for your lawyer’s services. A seasoned Texas real estate attorney will provide a written agreement that shows the rate you will pay and explain when you will pay it. The agreement should also outline other costs that may be passed onto you, such as long distance calls, copying costs and filing fees.

5. Who will be working on my case?

Make sure that the lawyer you are meeting with will actually be the one handling your case. If not, ask who else will be working on your case and what experience they have.

Contact Us for More Information
If you would like more information on questions to ask prospective attorneys for your case, tips on handling real estate issues or advice on what to look for in your chosen lawyer, visit www.danielmartens.com today.

Dan Martens
www.danielmartens.com

Experienced Family Lawyer in Texas Explains Everything You Need to Know About Your Finances During a Divorce in Texas

If you are going through a divorce in Texas, it is important that you understand the various financial implications that this event will have on your life. An experienced family lawyer in Texas can discuss the laws in Texas that may impact your divorce and provide you with targeted legal advice during this process.

Dividing Assets and Debts

Texas is a community property state. Texas courts presume that all property and income you acquired during the marriage is community property and equally belongs to each spouse. Therefore, courts in Texas will generally equally divide the assets a couple has during a divorce, as well as their debts.
A divorcing couple can reach an agreement regarding how they want to divide their property and debts and ask the judge to approve this arrangement. However, if they are unable to reach an amicable agreement, the court will have the authority to divide the assets and debts during the divorce case.
The court first classifies property into two categories: separate property and community property. Separate property includes property that belongs to one spouse, such as the property that was acquired before the marriage or a gift given to just one of the spouses. Community property is everything other than separate property that was acquired during the marriage, including income.

Community property often includes:

• Real estate
• Business interests
• Automobiles
• Money
• Financial accounts
• Retirement accounts
• Furniture
• Personal belongings like clothes

Community debt is any debt that either spouse incurred during the marriage. It is important to understand that regardless of how a divorce decree is worded, it does not affect a creditor’s right to pursue compensation from either or both spouses.
A family law attorney can help explain which assets and debt are subject to division and which are not.

Retirement Accounts

Retirement accounts are often considered community property and subject to division, even if the spouses have not retired. These accounts can be very valuable, so it is important to consider them during a divorce in Texas. Retirement accounts may include:
• Military retirement plans
• Pensions
• 401(k) accounts
• 403(b) accounts
• Individual retirement accounts
• Profit sharing plants
• Keogh plans
• Stock option plans
• Employee stock ownership plans
• Annuities

To receive a portion of your spouse’s retirement account, you must ask for this relief during the divorce process. Additionally, you must obtain a Qualified Domestic Relations Order from the judge so that the retirement plan administrator will have the authority to divide the account.

Child Support

The court may order the non-custodial parent to pay child support to the custodial parent. The amount of child support depends on how many children are involved in the case and the net resources of the paying parent. The paying parent pays a certain percentage of their net resources for child support as follows:
• 20% for one child
• 25% for two children
• 30% for three children
• 35% for four children
• 40% for five children

For More Information
If you would like more information on how to divide property during a divorce, would like to speak to a knowledgeable family lawyer in Texas or want tips on handling financial matters involved in your divorce, visit www.bdwilliamslaw.com today.

Brian Williams
www.bdwilliamslaw.com