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Business formation types that limit personal liability

When you have an idea for a Louisiana small business, one of the first important decisions you will need to make is what type of business structure you want to establish. Different business structures can help you accomplish different objectives, and each type has its own benefits and drawbacks. Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law, recognizes that different business structures bring with them varying levels of personal liability, and he has helped many clients looking to reduce their level of personal liability in their businesses establish business formation types that meet their needs.

According to Quickbooks, just about any type of business exposes you to at least some level of liability, even if the type of business you plan to establish is not in an inherently dangerous industry. In other words, unless you take steps to reduce your level of liability in your business, your personal assets may be at risk in the event that someone files a lawsuit or judgment against your business. So, what types of business structures can help protect you in such circumstances?

When do you need legal help with your business?

Louisiana business owners may need legal help sometimes. That is just the nature of business. Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law, is here and ready to help those who may need any assistance during their business life cycle.

There are a few times in which it is normal for business owners to seek legal help. This typically includes when you are first starting out and need to know all of the legal requirements of a business in your industry in the area. Another common time is if you get involved in a legal dispute with fellow owners, contractors, or employees.

Knowing who can challenge a will

In Louisiana, the law that dictates inheritance and wills can be somewhat complex. Because of this, it is entirely possible that some people may have issues with the will of a deceased loved one. However, only certain ones have the ability to challenge a will.

Heirs are one of them. The Cambridge Dictionary defines an heir as someone who is meant to receive money or property at the time of another person's passing. These people are legal heirs, which means they can inherit even in the event that there is no will. They are also able to challenge existing wills if they feel as though they were given a disproportionate amount of the estate, or if they were unfairly left out of the proceedings.

Do you need to create a trust?

If you choose to leave your instructions for the distribution of your assets in a last will and testament, some of those assets may have to be sold in order to pay debts and taxes during the probate process. However, you may be able to pass them to your beneficiaries without diminishing any of the value by placing the assets in a trust. 

The American Bar Association explains that a trust is an entity that is separate from you. After you create it, you transfer the ownership of your assets to the trust. You can name yourself as the trustee and manage the assets throughout your life as if they are still your own, but when you die, rather than go through probate, the assets go directly to your beneficiaries according to your instructions. 

Legal matters addressed by company policies

There are laws in Louisiana as well as federal laws that relate directly to how local businesses conduct their operations. One of the methods of ensuring compliance with these is through the company's policies and procedures. Chron.com explains that these define the responsibilities of everyone in the company.

Policies may include equal opportunity policies that prevent employers from discrimination when they are interviewing, hiring, managing, promoting or firing someone. For example, a manager cannot ask questions about a person's race or religion during the hiring process or fire someone for having a disability. 

Clearing a title through a quiet title action

Before the legal rights to a property can be passed on to a purchaser in Louisiana, the title must be clear of any encumbrances, liens or other claims to ownership. If a title search reveals a title defect, or cloud, Cornell Law School's Legal Information Institute explains that a person who has an ownership claim on the property has the right to file a quiet title action.

EasyTitleSearch.com explains that typically, all those who may have a claim on the property must be served with a notice of the action. When it is not possible to accomplish notification through service, the person filing the action must publish the notice in a local publication for four consecutive weeks. If no one comes forward to contest the action, then the judgment is in favor of the filer due to default.

What first-time real estate purchasers need to know about titles

When someone purchases property in Louisiana, he or she will receive proof of ownership. Realtor.com explains that the document signed by the seller and the buyer is known as the deed. However, this is not the same as the title. In fact, the title is not a document. It is, instead, the legal rights to the property, including ownership. 

According to FindLaw, a property title can be defective if not all the legal rights to the property are passed on to the new owner. That is why a title search is performed before the buyer signs the deed and other purchase documents. A real estate professional searches through the recorded history of the property, which may be found at the county courthouse.

What is included in a Louisiana living will?

A sudden accident or medical emergency could cause you to become incapacitated to the point that you cannot tell Louisiana health care providers what you want. According to Peoples Health, a living will allows you to decide and communicate ahead of time what life-sustaining medical procedures you want in the event that doctors determine you have a terminal and irreversible condition. 

Keep in mind when you consider the options for life-sustaining procedures that these will go in effect only if there is not a reasonable chance that you will recover, or you are dying of an incurable condition. These procedures may include the following:

  • Providing you with food and water through an invasive feeding tube
  • Keeping you breathing with a ventilator
  • Performing CPR on you to prevent death

The basics of Louisiana advance directives

Not all estate planning tools affect what happens after death. In Louisiana, advance medical directives provide direction regarding health care decisions. 

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, through an advance medical directive, adults can plan for the medical care they need before they need it through a health care power of attorney, living will and a "do not resuscitate" order.

How can you revoke a will?

There are many reasons for which you may decide to revoke your old will and start anew. For instance, you may have added a new member to your family, gone through a divorce or tied the knot. You may also have had a falling out with a beneficiary or decided that one beneficiary could use certain assets more than another. Whatever the reason for wanting to change or revoke your will in Louisiana, you need to go about doing so in a legally satisfying manner. Failure to rescind or modify your will in a proper fashion could lead to misunderstanding and costly probate upon your death.

According to FindLaw, you can revoke your will in one of three ways: you can destroy the old document, make changes to an existing will or create a new document. Doing either or all of these three things is likely to render an old will invalid. You may be able to even give away all of your assets and property before you pass away to achieve the same effect.

Dale M. Maas, Attorney at Law
11777 Justice Avenue
Baton Rouge, LA 70816

Toll Free: 888-680-3843
Phone: 225-754-9864
Fax: 225-296-5778
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