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Atlantic County Personal Injury Law Blog

Planning for a partner to leave the business

When you and your partners start a new business here in New Jersey, you probably think that you will work together well into the future. You form your partnership, draft a partnership agreement and open your doors, but what happens if one of your partners leaves the business at some point?

Now is the time to prepare for that eventuality even though none of you think it will happen at this point in time. A buyout agreement, also called a buy sell agreement, may be the solution. You might consider it as sort of a prenuptial agreement for your partnership.

Should you have a revocable living trust?

Estate planning may not be at the top of most New Jersey residents' to-do lists. Contemplating mortality doesn't make for lively dinner conversation. However, you should consider it sooner rather than later, since no one knows what could happen in the future.

As you sit down to discuss the type of plan that will best express your goals and wishes, you may have heard a question you didn't anticipate: "Have you considered a revocable living trust as part of your plan?" More than likely, you hadn't since you only considered a basic estate plan. Aren't trusts for the rich? Actually, many people could benefit from this type of trust, but understanding both the advantages and disadvantages first can be very important.

EPA regulations regarding underground storage tanks

Are you one of the many small business owners here in New Jersey who owns a convenience store or service station? Do you sell gasoline to the public? Then you probably have an underground storage tank regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. In fact, the vast majority of USTs in the United States hold petroleum.

The EPA regulates these tanks in order to be sure that they do not harm the environment or pose a danger to the people in the area. If at least 10 percent of the combined volume from your tank and any piping is underground, then you fall under the EPA's UST regulations.

Considering a partnership? What type would suit your purposes?

If you are like so many other people who own small businesses with others, you probably aren't fond of paperwork. You would rather be in the trenches doing the work. For this reason, and others, you may have already agreed with your partners that forming a complicated business entity just isn't necessary.

You may be aware of partnerships but don't really understand the differences between a general partnership, a limited partnership and a joint venture. Before deciding which way to go, it would probably help to have some information about each type of partnership so that you can make an informed decision.

Should a life estate be part of your estate plan?

As you consider how to best provide for your loved ones after your death, you may run into a snag. You own a home that you and your current spouse occupy, but you don't want it to become part of your surviving spouse's estate upon his or her death. Instead, you want to be sure that it passes to your child from a prior relationship upon your spouse's death.

You may leave the home to your child in your will, or even put the home into a trust, but that could risk your spouse not having a home upon your death. You may love your child, and he or she may verbally agree to allow your spouse to live in the home after your death, but why take the risk that a falling out could occur that leaves your spouse without a home when you are no longer around?

What does it take to form a corporation?

As New Jersey continues to recover from all of its economic hardships, you may consider starting a new business. After weighing all of the pros and cons of each type of legal entity, you settled on a corporation. You more than likely chose this type of entity, at least in part, due to the significant protections for owners and shareholders when it comes to liability.

This protection also comes with the ability to purchase property, borrow and loan money and enter into contracts, among other things. On the other hand, it comes with taxation of the corporation itself and any dividends paid to shareholders, but you probably felt the pros outweighed the cons. Since forming this type of entity involves the most paperwork and regulation, it may help to have some idea of what you face. 

Cleaning up your act to prevent groundwater contamination

Running a business in New Jersey has its challenges, so if yours is successful, you may have beaten the odds. While you are willing to work within rigid laws and high taxes, you may not be thrilled about more policies that pressure you to make adjustments for environmental protection.

Nevertheless, you understand the importance of clean drinking water. After all, your children and grandchildren drink, bathe in and swim in water, and you would not like to think that your business contributes to the contamination that results in illness or other consequences. On a practical level, if chemicals or other pollutants from your business end up in the groundwater, you may face legal issues, especially if residents near your business blame you for contamination that makes them sick.

The benefits of a franchise business

If you have always wanted to own your own business, you have likely done your homework. Your decision to be a business owner may have taken many turns during your investigation, and you may not be certain you are ready to take on the responsibilities of starting a company from scratch. There is a great deal to consider, not the least of which are the time and expense.

However, if you are looking for a business that offers you the benefits of business ownership, but you desire a support system and more security than a brand-new startup can offer, you may want to consider looking at a franchise. Buying into a franchise offers benefits you may not realize.

HOAs and the CC&Rs that govern them

When you are ready to buy a home, you want it to be perfect. Your home will likely be the single biggest purchase you will make, and aside from it being a warm place to welcome friends and raise a family, it is also an investment.

Like many homebuyers, you may have driven through neighborhoods looking for the right place. Perhaps you saw things in those neighborhoods that made you decide it was worth the extra money to purchase a home in a planned community with a homeowner association. However, understanding the complex laws that govern these communities is important before you make your purchase.

Is the home you rented making you sick?

When you walked through the freshly painted and carpeted home that you ultimately rented, you may not have thought to ask whether it had suffered any water damage. After all, it looks beautiful, and you had no reason to suspect that a danger to your health could be lurking in the walls.

After spending weeks or months in the home, you may not have yet realized that your rental home could be causing your allergies or even the flu that you attributed to the time of year. In some cases, the health issues are much more serious, and could even lead to life-threatening, if not life-altering, health conditions.

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Fitzgerald & McGroarty PA
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Linwood, NJ 08221

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