Filing for bankruptcy shelters you from having to pay back a portion of your debts, but that doesn’t mean that all of your debts are forgiven. Following a bankruptcy discharge, you will still be responsible for paying back student loans, alimony and child support, as well as overdue taxes. The first step in declaring bankruptcy is to meet with a business lawyer in Wichita to assess your eligibility.
As your business lawyer will advise, you won’t be eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief if you earn more than the median income in your state. Instead, you will need to work with your business attorney to determine whether you can create a Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan. If you are filing business bankruptcy, then you must consult with a business law firm in order to file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition.
Petitioning for bankruptcy may be a long process, but with the help of a business lawyer in Wichita , it doesnât have to be complicated. Filing for bankruptcy mostly involves filling out the paperwork correctly and approaching each proceeding in the correct order. Once you attempt to declare bankruptcy, a government employee called a trustee will examine your case.
Assemble financial information
Before you file a bankruptcy petition, you need to assemble your financial information for your business lawyer. If you are married, you need to include your spouseâs financial information, even if he or she is not filing with you. To begin, you need to collect all debt information, including your creditor, current balance, interest rate, and your monthly payment. You should include all debt you currently owe, even if your payments are current. You should also provide your business attorney information on any income you have received in the past six months as well as any income you expect to receive in the future.
Attend credit counseling
At most, you must attend credit counseling from an approved agency six months before you file your petition. This usually only takes an hour or two, and can often be conducted over the phone or Internet. The court will not accept your bankruptcy petition if you forgo the counseling requirement. In addition to your business attorney, your credit counseling agency can help you determine which bankruptcy chapter is most appropriate for your financial situation. If you choose to file Chapter 13, the credit agency can also help you develop a payment plan.
Filing your petition
Once you file your bankruptcy petition, an automatic stay goes into effect. This prohibits your creditors from making further attempts to collect your debt. This means you creditors can no longer begin legal proceedings to collect your debt, enter liens against your property, or try by any other means to collect your money or property. However, the automatic stay wonât stop the automatic payments taken from your paycheck to cover your 401K loan.
If youâve already retained the services of a business lawyer in Wichita to manage affairs that involve corporate law , youâve made a wise decision. Your business lawyer can ensure that your company remains in compliance with all relevant regulations and he or she can provide specific guidance on certain situations as they arise. However, it never hurts to familiarize yourself with the basics of the regulations that apply to your business, particularly tax law. Before reading these regulations, it can be helpful to have a basic understanding of common tax law terminology.
You can find IRS regulations published in the Federal Register. Regulations serve as guidance for new additions to the tax code. They help taxpayers understand their obligations and how to remain in compliance with legislation . The IRS may also publish regulations to resolve any issues that may arise with already existing tax codes.
Private Letter Rulings
Sometimes, a taxpayer or a business attorney might submit a written request to the IRS for information. For example, the taxpayer may wish to know how the IRS tax code applies to a particular transaction or other circumstance. In response, the IRS will issue a private letter ruling (PLR), which interprets relevant sections of the tax code for the taxpayer and helps the individual understand how tax laws are applicable to the situation. Provided the taxpayer fully and accurately informed the IRS of the situation and acts as instructed, the PLR is binding on the IRS.
Like regulations, revenue rulings are a form of guidance issued by the IRS to help taxpayers and tax professionals understand how tax laws apply to certain situations. Revenue rulings are considered to be official interpretations made by the IRS. For example, a revenue ruling might explain how a taxpayer might deduct a home office.
Revenue procedures are similar to revenue rulings. However, while revenue rulings provide information on the position of the IRS regarding a particular situation, a revenue procedure provides taxpayers and professionals with instructions. For example, a revenue ruling might explain the circumstances in which a home office deduction is allowed. A revenue procedure might explain how to determine the percentage of the home that is devoted entirely to business purposes and how to claim the deduction.
Itâs unfortunate that many individuals only contact a business lawyer when they have a legal problem. Partnering with a business law firm in Wichita sooner, rather than later, can help you minimize or avoid problems altogether. However, it isnât always easy to select the right business lawyer to suit your needs. Plan on investing a little time comparison shopping to make sure the lawyer you choose is the right one for you.
Look for a Firm with the Right Experience
There are many different types of lawyers. If you need help with a very specific area of the law, such as laws that pertain to agribusiness or land use, itâs particularly important to select a corporate attorney with the right background. You can learn about a lawyerâs background by checking his or her website for a biographical area. Lawyers often list information such as which law school they graduated from and which areas of the law they specialize in. Many lawyers also list examples of cases theyâve worked on and their outcomes as proof of their successful track record. Many prospective law firm clients use information on lawyersâ websites to narrow down their list of possible choices.
Prepare for an Initial Consultation
Once youâve identified a few lawyers who appear to meet your criteria, you can schedule initial consultations with them. During these brief meetings, youâll discuss your situation with the lawyer and ask any questions you may have that can help you make your decision. To get the most out of your appointment, spend a little time preparing for it. Gather together all of the paperwork that is relevant to your case; the lawyer may wish to review it. Develop a clear idea of your ideal outcome for your case and prepare a list of questions to ask the lawyer. Often, prospective clients ask questions about the approach the lawyer might take to the case, whether the lawyer will personally handle the case, and what outcomes the lawyer achieved on prior cases that were similar to yours.
Evaluate the Meeting
After you meet with the lawyer, you may wish to take a few days to evaluate the interaction before you make a hiring decision. Consider whether the lawyer appeared open to questions, whether he or she has the necessary experience, and whether you feel comfortable working with him or her.
Section 1031 exchanges allow someone to trade investment properties on a tax-deferred basis. These transactions donât have to involve identical types of property, so someone can swap an apartment building for a shopping center, or a piece of empty land for an office building. To ensure proper execution of a Section 1031 transaction, the filer should first meet with a business lawyer in Wichita .
Section 1031 transactions were originally designed for someone to exchange properties of equal value, so that neither party in the exchange would have to pay taxes on the properties exchanged. However someone wishing to exchange unequal properties can still do so with the help of a business attorney. Someone who exchanges unequal properties can still make the transaction without having to pay capital gains tax on the difference. However, this person would have to pay cash or assume a mortgage on the bigger property to account for the value difference in the smaller property. In this case, a business lawyer may suggest working with an escrow agent, which turns the transaction into a three-way deal. Once the escrow agent obtains the title to the deed, he or she can then transfer the property back.
Starting a farming business requires planning a business, procuring land, securing financing, and understanding agricultural law. For this reason, you should seek guidance from an agribusiness attorney near Wichita . Your agricultural lawyer can help you develop the vision and values for your farm while helping you carefully plan to manage risk.
Select a farm specialty
There are three categories of farmingâcrop, wind and animal farming. While crop farmers grow plants, like corn or trees for lumber, animal farmers raise animals for food products like milk and beef. Government grants have created the new farming specialty of wind farming, where farms utilize wind turbines to harness wind energy. Farmers should base their specialty decisions based on their locations and their levels of education.
Develop a business plan
Working with a business lawyer is a great way to develop a farm business plan, which covers startup expenses, operating expenses, and projected profitability. A farmer must develop a business plan in order to apply for farm loans and government grants. Contacting the state agricultural department can help a farmer obtain information on crops, product distribution and warehousing information. An agricultural law firm can also help a new farmer apply for federal, state and county grants.
A farmer needs financing for the farm, the equipment and for living expenses. For this reason, itâs essential for a farmer to include living expenses as part of the business plan because his or her income will be delayed until the farm produces. An existing farm can obtain cash grants, including crop or dairy subsidies. A new farm can apply for loans from the United States Department of Agriculture. Monitoring and controlling finances is crucial for a farmâs survival, so itâs a good idea to work with an accountant as well as an agricultural lawyer.
All business regulatory laws apply to farming, so itâs crucial for a farmer to become familiar with agricultural and business law. An agricultural law attorney can help a new farmer properly structure the farm as a sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company.
Mergers and acquisitions are often considered synonymous, but these methods of joining companies do differ and can mean different things for your business. An acquisition occurs when one company takes over another; once purchased, the target company essentially ceases to exist. During a merger, two equally sized businesses decide to form a single new company together. For an ideal merger or acquisition, the joined company should have greater value, efficiency, and market share than the sum of the two businesses separately. A knowledgeable business lawyer in Wichita can work closely with you throughout the mergers and acquisitions process.
Assess Your Finances
A business attorney will advise you to rigorously evaluate your company’s financial health, including debt, capital funding, and liquid assets. Especially if you are purchasing another company, you will need enough liquidity to make the acquisition successful. Valuation of both businesses is also essential in order to accurately determine the worth of each and to ensure a fair transaction.
Define Your Goals
What do you hope to gain through a merger or acquisition ? Do you want to outmatch a competitor? Is your aim to acquire new intellectual capital? Do you hope to increase market share? Your business lawyer can help you answer these and other questions about how the transaction may lead to meeting your objectives.
Research M&A Candidates
Most business law experts will tell you that it’s important to establish your goals for a merger or acquisition before focusing on particular companies to pursue. If you become fixated on a business first, you may fail to recognize its true value or overlook other viable candidates. The companies you consider should also be able to integrate with your operational and organizational structure. Once you’ve done your due diligence on the candidates’ finances, staff, technology, and operations, you can determine which is the best strategic fit.
Keep Employees Informed
It’s best to be transparent and communicative with staff on both sides. Mergers and acquisitions typically do require a reduction in workforce in order to eliminate redundancies, so be upfront in order to quell rumors and uncertainty. A business attorney can help you navigate these sensitive employer-employee relations. You will also want to establish a transition team that includes leaders from both sides so that you can anticipate challenges and ensure a smooth integration.
Many family business owners spend all their energies focusing on future growth and survival of their business, failing to consider an exit strategy. Whether you hope to sell your business, transfer ownership to a family member, or dissolve the company entirely, it’s vital to plan your exit strategy in advance with the help of an experienced business lawyer in Wichita . A robust exit strategy is particularly important for protecting your business’s legacy against the unexpected.
The guidance of a business attorney is invaluable when handling the complex family dynamics that surround selection of a successor. Choosing a successor doesn’t happen overnight, and some business law experts even recommend that you begin succession planning 15 years before your retirement. You must objectively consider who is the most qualified and who has the ability and willingness to lead the company. Once you select new leadership, you need to develop a formal training plan that allows your successor to hone his or her skills before you exit. Establishing a firm timetable for when your successor will assume certain roles and responsibilities will help everyone in the business know what to expect and when. With the advice of a business lawyer, you should also decide whether you wish to retain some control or continue to work part-time while your successor is being installed.
By preparing an exit strategy in advance, you can have time to implement changes that raise your business’s worth and lay the groundwork for selling on your own terms . Some family business owners choose to sell to employees or business partners. These buyers are often more motivated to see the business prosper and thrive than third-party buyers, so you may feel more confident in your business’s legacy. An employee or partner will also have inside knowledge that could be beneficial when transitioning leadership. However, third parties tend to have the financial resources for bigger and more immediate buyouts. Financial buyers seek a high return on investment and will be interested in your business’s assets and finances. A strategic buyer may be a competitor or related business that is looking to expand and diversify. Your business lawyer can help you and a buyer agree on terms, organize your financial statements, and protect your proprietary information.
What Are Distressed Assets?
If you’re thinking of investing in distressed assets or selling them, you need the experience of a business attorney . A distressed asset is a piece of property that is sold at a significantly reduced price because the owner is under pressure to sell. A distressed asset could be personal property, real property, or equity ownership in a business. An owner might sell a distressed asset because of bankruptcy, foreclosure, or other financial calamity.
Distressed assets can offer opportunities for investors. However, there are some potential downsides, which your business lawyer in Wichita can explain to you. For example, your business lawyer can explore whether there may be creditors who can lay claim to the property. A lawyer who specializes in business law can also verify that the seller is the actual owner of the property and that the property is indeed being sold below its face value. If you fail to work with a business attorney to explore these issues, you could be subject to damage claims.
Tips for Making a Solid, Enforceable Business Contract
A man may be as good as his word, but only a written business contract is enforceable in court. Should a dispute arise with a client, vendor, or business partner, having a legal contract will help your Wichita business lawyer defend you in court or seek compensation on your behalf. Here are some tips for making a solid business contract. For help drafting a clear and enforceable contract, contact your business attorney.
Keep it Simple
Filling a contract with legal jargon doesn’t make it any more enforceable than a contract written in plain English. In fact, clear sentences with simple, numbered paragraph headings will make it easier to point out any breaches of contract. Vendors, clients, and partners can sometimes hide behind the gray areas of complex contracts, so keep everything as straightforward as possible.
Identify Each Party Correctly
In order to enter into a contractually binding agreement , the contract needs to include the correct legal names of the parties involved so it’s clear who is responsible for performing the obligations and who you have legal rights against if things go wrong. If you are entering into an agreement with a business organized as an LLC or corporation, identify it by its correct legal name, not by the names of the individuals who are signing the agreement.
Don’t Leave Anything Out
Any good business attorney in Wichita will tell you to include anything that was verbally agreed upon in the written contract. If it’s not in writing, a verbal agreement will be next to impossible to enforce. In business and corporate law, judges usually only interpret a contract as it is, not from what the parties said to each other or agreed to without signing. If changes are made or need to be made, a business law firm can help make the changes legal and binding.