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What are the Types of Business Structures?

desk with papersBefore you launch a small business, two questions you should consider are: What are the types of business structures, and which one best fits my needs? The main types of business structures in the United States are: sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and limited liability company (LLC). Here we’ll discuss the various types of legal business structure in depth and how they differ in terms of liability and tax implications. Sole Proprietorship. A sole proprietorship is the simplest type of business structure, and it may make sense if you don’t plan to have partners or employees. Partnership. This is a legal structure designed for two or more people who go into business together as equals, or partners (not employees). Corporation. A corporation is the most complex business structure and operates as a separate legal entity from its owners. Limited Liability Company (LLC). An LLC is a hybrid structure that can be formed as a partnership…

What Business Contracts Should (and Shouldn’t) Accomplish

Maryland Business Contract LawyerNo one starts a business because they love paperwork. For most business owners, worrying about things like contracts is simply part of doing business, and it can seem tedious or even boring. For most of us, the contracts we have with employees, clients, contractors and landlords are something we hope to just set and forget. We notice these contracts only if they end up causing us problems. However, a well-drafted contract can save you an unimaginable amount of work and stress, just like a poorly drafted contract can spell doom for a business. Not every contract you sign will be drafted by you or your attorney. Over the course of running a business, many entrepreneurs will be asked to sign things that are given to them by other businesses - and, by the way, you should be asking your attorney to review any contract given to you by someone else…

Legal Considerations for Debt Collection, Explained

You work hard, provide a service, and take pride in what you do. Not only is it frustrating when your invoices go unpaid, it puts your company at risk. As a business owner, there are steps that you can take to maximize the likelihood you’ll be paid in a timely manner and to collect payment from delinquent clients. Rebekah Lusk and her associates are well versed in Maryland law regarding collection of debts. If you are a business owner or landlord who needs help collecting a debt or assistance drafting a payment contract for prospective clients, call Lusk Law, LLC. Understanding Debt Collection Law While you may feel victimized and angry about a client or tenant who refuses to pay you what you’re owed, you have to be careful about how you attempt to collect a debt. Consumers in Maryland are protected by federal law (the Fair Debt Collection Practices…

What is the MD Consumer Protection Act – And How Does it Affect You?

If you live in Maryland and have been the victim of an unscrupulous landlord, service provider, or seller of consumer goods, you have a powerful tool to help you fight back and win restitution: The Maryland Consumer Protection Act (CPA). Created in 1973 to protect citizens against unfair and deceptive business practices and “restore an undermined public confidence in merchants,” the legislation is designed to “set minimum statewide standards for the protection of consumers” with the recognition that existing laws were “inadequate, poorly coordinated and not widely known or adequately enforced.” More specifically, the CPA strives to offer “strong protective and preventive steps to investigate unlawful consumer practices, to assist the public in obtaining relief from these practices, and to prevent these practices from occurring in Maryland.” Realizing you’ve been duped or scammed is frustrating, embarrassing, and can cost you money that you can’t afford to lose. Call the skilled…

Minimum Standards of Care for Animals

Domestic animals are completely dependent on their human caretakers for food, shelter, medical care, and their overall health and happiness. If they are being abused or neglected, they can’t speak up, and they don’t have recourse to improve their quality of life. We understand that as the proprietor of an animal-based enterprise, you face the same challenges as any small business, and then some. Whether you’re a farmer, veterinarian, dog walker, trainer, groomer, or pet boarder, you have to juggle the needs of customers, employees, and the animals in your care — all while watching your bottom line. The well-being of your charges is paramount. In Maryland criminal code 10-604, the state defines the minimum standard of care that every animal is entitled to receive. Attorney Rebekah Lusk not only knows animal and equine law inside and out, she runs a horse farm and boarding facility herself, giving her valuable…

5 Steps Businesses Should Take to Reduce the Threat of a Lawsuit

It’s an unpleasant part of doing business, but it’s an increasingly common one: If you’re a business owner, you may very well find yourself facing a lawsuit. In fact, a recent poll found that 43 percent of small-business owners in the U.S. have been threatened with or involved with a civil lawsuit. And as luck would have it, the U.S. legal system is the world’s most costly. A report by the Small Business Association Office of Advocacy found that the cost of litigation for small firms can range up to $130,000. That’s a big bill for a small business trying to make ends meet. As a business owner, you might be sued by one of your customers, accusing you of providing faulty goods or services or claiming to have been injured on your property. You might also be sued by employees claiming, for example, discrimination or other breaches of HR policy. Prepare Now to…

How Small-Business Owners Can Reduce Slip & Fall Liability

How Small-Business Owners Can Reduce Slip & Fall LiabilityAs a small-business owner, you likely don’t have the deep pockets of a large corporation. If sued, you can’t pay out a hefty settlement and then just move on. One costly lawsuit may have the power to break you and your company. The good news is that Maryland is one of the few states that applies a principle called “contributory negligence” to personal injury claims. As opposed to the “comparative negligence” rule that most states follow, contributory negligence is more favorable to defendants. Basically, it means that in order to win compensation, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant is entirely responsible for the incident that led to injury. In comparative negligence states, the party being sued may be on the hook for some damages even if the plaintiff is found to be partly responsible for the accident. That said, it’s in your and your customers’ best interests to make…

Buying a Business? Consider Getting an Attorney’s Help

Business litigation attorneyIt’s part of the DNA of any business: a desire to expand and take on new challenges. One time-honored way for a business to do that is to simply acquire another business. Or, rather, it may seem simple – but as with many transactions in the business world, there are complexities beneath the surface, and a smart business owner will not tread those waters alone. Know the Different Types of Business Purchases When structuring the sale and purchase of a business, there are two options: an asset purchase or a stock purchase. Both have advantages and disadvantages, and to make the right choice, you need to understand the implications of each type, including what is actually included in the sale under each structure and the tax implications of both. In an asset purchase, the buyer agrees to purchase certain assets from the seller, including things such as fixtures, equipment, licenses,…

Why Is a Business Succession Plan So Important?

Business Succession planning attorneysFor many entrepreneurs, the present day is challenging enough. Starting and managing the day-to-day affairs of a business is a massive effort that can leave even the cleverest owners with little energy left to think about tomorrow. But every small business, sooner or later, will face the reality that its leader won’t be around forever. Planning for what happens after a founder moves on can mean the difference between success or failure for the business. The Second Generation—and Beyond The statistics are inarguable: Family businesses are an enormous part of the American economic landscape. Research has shown that family businesses account for 64 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, generate 62 percent of the country’s employment, and account for 78 percent of all new job creation. But research has also shown that less than one-third of family businesses survive the transition from first- to second-generation ownership. Another 50 percent don’t survive the transition from…

What is the Impact of Low Unemployment on Small Business Owners?

Low unemployment numbers are great for the economy, but not always for small business owners. In late 2018, unemployment numbers in the United States dropped to 3.7 percent. According to a report from NPR, this was the lowest point in nearly 50 years. This means more Americans are working abd putting more money into the local economies. This is beneficial to business owners, because more money in the local economy means customers and clients have more to spend with businesses. But for small business owners considering making a hire, this lower unemployment number also means that the pool of available employees is shrinking. Here is what today’s business owners need to understand about the mixed blessing of low unemployment. Many Small Businesses Concerned About Filling Available Positions A strong economy means growth for small businesses, and with growth comes a need to hire additional employees. In a recent survey, 29 percent of…