Every business owner should be aware of the numerous laws and regulations that apply to their company. You should also understand any potential legal liability issues you may have with employees or consumers and take steps to avoid them. However, many company owners are surprised when other seemingly unrelated legal issues start affecting their business. The following are only a few examples of legal matters that require consideration for business owners.
In Texas, the law requires that all community property (marital property) is divided equitably between the spouses in a divorce, and business interests are considered to be property. If you own your business alone, you may assume that it will be considered to be your separate property, however, in most cases, the interests and assets you gained during the marriage will be deemed community property.
The last thing you likely want is for your ex-spouse to suddenly have an ownership stake and a say in your company. There are steps you can take to protect the ownership of the company before a divorce ever occurs, such as drafting a buy-sell agreement, as well as ways to divide property equitably while preserving your business interests. Always discuss this matter with an experienced business lawyer.
You should always plan what will happen to your business should you pass away. You worked hard to build your company and you should ensure your hard work will pay off for your loved ones. If you do not have a comprehensive estate plan that addresses your business, your interests may be passed on to your spouse and/or children. This may or may not be a good thing depending on their interest and abilities to run the company. If you have multiple owners, the others may not want your family members suddenly stepping in if something happens to you. Therefore, it is important to consider how buy-sell agreements, trusts, and other legal tools can help you plan ahead.
Real estate is a huge market and can affect many businesses. If you lease a commercial space and ownership changes hands, your lease renewal may be in jeopardy or your lease terms may change upon renewal. If you own commercial property for your company, it could be threatened by easements or eminent domain actions. Your use of the property could be affected by changing zoning and land use regulations in Houston. A new development project nearby may increase competition and reduce your marketability. These are only some examples of the many ways real estate can impact your business. Real estate laws are complicated and it is important to discuss your rights and option in any commercial real estate matter with a knowledgeable attorney.