As an attorney, Elise Rodriguez helps families prepare their estate plans as well as manage and plan for their small businesses.
(Photo courtesy of Elise Rodriguez)
“I take the approach that I, as many of my clients, am an entrepreneur, thus I take a peer approach in the way I assist my clients with honest and direct advice. With my experience as both an entrepreneur from starting my firm straight out of law school and an attorney for small businesses, I understand what it takes to start a business, grow a business and turn your business into a venture that improves and contributes to the community,” said Rodriguez.
“There is plenty of legal advice to offer small business owners, but the most important recommendation I constantly give business owners is to invest in preventative legal services rather than wait for the need for reactive legal services. Many small business owners are focused on saving as much money as possible when the business is first opened. However, investing in an iron-clad partnership agreement, the right client, vendor and lender agreements, and even trademark or copyrights will save small businesses a lot of headache and money in the future.”
“When business owners don’t invest in these preventative measures, they will sooner or later realize they are in need of these tools when they are served with a lawsuit or when an employee is misbehaving. And by the time these things happen, the expense of reactive legal assistance will far exceed the cost of preventative measures. Not having those agreements can jeopardize everything a small business owner has worked to attain,” Rodriguez said.
If I pass away, what happens to my business?
“If you do not have an estate plan, your passing can cause plenty of undue chaos upon your family. If you also don’t have a partnership agreement or operating agreement, state law will govern how your company will be wound up, and your family might end up without many rights to your business. If you are the sole owner of your business, someone will have to liquidate and close the business on your behalf which could be a problem for specialized and licensed businesses such as law firms and dental practices. If your spouse is the representative for your estate but has never stepped foot in your office, there will be a lot of time and money spent on ensuring everything is done right. Hiring an attorney to work out your business succession plan is a worthy investment to prevent undue stress and expense upon your loved ones and clients or customers when you pass away.”
This article was written by Robin D. Everson for Small Business Pulse