Your New Year’s Legal Checkup

​The end of the year is often a busy time for business owners and other individuals. It is easy to let some seemingly less pressing business and personal legal updates get pushed aside until the new year. Of course, when the new year starts, different challenges and time commitments can cause people to forget about those basic, yet important, legal matters. So as 2012 begins, perhaps it is time for a legal checkup​

Some key items that should be periodically reviewed and updated include:

Corporate filings/meetings- Corporations and limited liability companies are required to file annual reports with the Secretary of State each year. The failure to make this simple filing probably causes more administrative suspensions and dissolutions than any other mistake. In addition, each corporate entity needs to hold an annual meeting, and minutes should be recorded and added to the corporate record book. Taking the time to make sure these items have been done will ensure that your corporation or limited liability company maintains its effectiveness and protects you from personal liability.

Wills/estate planning- A surprisingly substantial number of individuals have never had a will prepared or have one that is decades old and outdated. If there have been substantial changes in your income, assets or marital status, if you have added children, or if your children have reached adulthood, it is time to have your estate planning documents reviewed and updated. Otherwise, if something happens to you, the distribution of your estate, the disposition of your assets and even the custody of your children could be something other than you desire.

Other issues- Perhaps some of your company’s contracts are unfavorable or have expired. This may be an opportunity for you to negotiate in order to obtain more beneficial terms. Maybe your corporation has never adopted bylaws or your limited liability company has never adopted an operating agreement. If you have business partners, you may need a buy-sell agreement. The new year is an excellent time to make sure you are getting the most out of your business endeavors.

Making sure your legal matters are in order can help you position yourself and your business for a profitable 2012.