Business legal services in Silicon Valley

Medical Partnerships, Leases and Entity Formations

If you are planning to open your own medical practice in California, it is critical to understand how California law affects your ability to choose a business structure for your medical practice and to enter into business with other healthcare professionals. Generally speaking, California law allows physicians to operate medical practices as sole proprietorships, partnerships with other physicians, and as professional medical corporations. Other types of common business structures are not permitted under California law for healthcare businesses. Beyond entity formation, physicians and other healthcare providers who are considering the possibility of starting a new practice will also have to consider specific issues when it comes to leasing commercial space for a healthcare business.

Our experienced California business formation lawyer can help. Attorney Lynnette Ariathurai serves business owners throughout Northern California.

Forming a Medical Partnership

If you are thinking about opening a new medical practice and want to keep the structure of your business relatively simple, California law allows you to form a partnership (or to operate your healthcare practice as a sole proprietorship). However, any physician or other healthcare professional in California should learn more about the limitations of medical partnerships in relation to personal liability and taxation as well as the benefits of creating different business structures for the assets of the business versus the medical practice. Many healthcare providers and medical professionals who open new or are expanding practices find benefits in forming a professional medical corporation. 

Professional Corporations for Medical Practices

Under California law, healthcare practices cannot form traditional certain business structures such as a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation when forming a business. Instead, professional healthcare providers, including licensed physicians, surgeons, nurses, chiropractors, psychologists, optometrists, clinical social workers, and many other professionals must create a professional medical corporation. There are many benefits to forming a professional medical corporation, including limiting liability (some limitations arising out of medical malpractice), as well as tax benefits similar to those of an S-Corporation.

The Moscone-Knox Professional Corporation Act explicitly outlines the types of professional services that are provided in a professional medical corporation, and what kinds of healthcare providers or medical professionals can be officers, directors, and own shares in these types of corporations.

Commercial Lease Considerations for Healthcare Practices

In addition to the complicated issues surrounding entity formation for healthcare practices and businesses, it is important to work with a California business lawyer on any commercial lease for a healthcare practice. There are a variety of issues that you should consider in your lease beyond those that might appear in another kind of commercial lease, such as:

  • Tenant and landlord responsibilities concerning HIPAA and patient files stored on the premises
  • Medical waste and removal
  • Use of medical devices and storage of medical materials on the premises
  • CAM or NNN expense distribution between landlord and tenant
  • Parking space for patients

Contact a California Entity Formation Lawyer

If you are a healthcare provider and are considering your options for starting a new practice, it is critical to seek advice from a California entity formation attorney about the nuances of entity formation for medical partnerships and corporations, as well as the complexities of medical commercial real estate leases.

Attorney Lynnette Ariathurai is committed to representing business owners in Northern California and can speak with you today about medical entity formation. We serve business owners in Fremont, Hayward, San Leandro, Gilroy, Milpitas, Union City, East Bay, San Jose, Santa Clara, and Newark. Contact us for more information about how we can assist you with your new medical practice.

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Business legal services in Silicon Valley

California Consumer Privacy Acts for Commercial Websites

Consumer Privacy Acts for Commercial Websites

Recent changes to California consumer privacy laws affect most e-commerce websites in the state, and it is critical for business owners who run e-commerce websites to understand consumer rights and business responsibilities. Whether you are currently running an e-commerce website or considering the possibility of launching one soon, you should seek advice from an experienced California business lawyer about the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 and Prop 24. Both laws expand consumer privacy rights, and it is important for companies to comply with these laws. Attorney Lynnette Ariathurai can assist you in drafting and updating business privacy policies to ensure that your company remains in compliance with current state law.

California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018

The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) took effect on January 1, 2020, and it impacts most e-commerce websites viewed by California residents if the business (i.e., the website owner) collects any information from the consumer either directly or indirectly and then sells the information. The responsibilities of e-commerce sites under the new law extend relatively widely because the definition of the word “sale” is defined broadly.

What this means for your business is that, if you have a website where you conduct any kind of e-commerce and you collect information from consumers who visit the site, it is critical to seek advice from a California business law attorney about your company’s privacy policy. Most company privacy policies drafted prior to January 1, 2020—when the new law took effect—will not be in compliance. It may be necessary to completely redraft your company’s privacy policy in order to comply, or at the very least, to revise the policy accordingly.

As a business owner, you should know that this law specifically lays out format requirements and provides detailed information to California residents about their privacy rights and how to exercise their rights. As such, businesses could face claims from informed consumers if they do not take steps to ensure that their privacy policies are in compliance.

Prop 24 Further Expands Consumer Privacy Rights

Beyond the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, Prop 24 also expands consumer privacy rights in the state. This law passed in November 2020. It amends the CCPA with a “more comprehensive privacy scheme,” according to Brookings, creating the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA).

The new law requires businesses to protect personal information collected from consumers by “reasonably minimizing data collection, limiting data retention, and protecting data security.” It also requires businesses in California to “conduct privacy risk assessments and cybersecurity audits, and regularly submit them to regulators.” Consumers may also opt out of the sale or sharing of their personal data.

Contact a California Business Law Attorney for Assistance

Website owners and companies that engage in e-commerce need to work with an experienced California business lawyer to draft new policies or to update existing policies to guarantee compliance with new consumer privacy laws in California. Attorney Lynnette Ariathurai has years of experience representing business owners in Fremont, Hayward, San Leandro, Gilroy, Milpitas, Union City, East Bay, San Jose, Santa Clara, and Newark and can talk with you today about reviewing, drafting, and updating privacy policies for your website. Contact us to learn more.

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Business legal services in Silicon Valley

Things to Consider for Commercial Real Estate Leases – for Landlords

Lynnette Ariathurai, Bay Area Business Attorney, Fremont, Hayward, CA

Owning commercial property in California can be lucrative, especially when that property is located in an area that is highly trafficked and desirable for businesses in the region. At the same time, it is important to recognize that the value of a commercial property investment depends on having a strong, well-drafted lease agreement.

The lease is the basis of your relationship with a commercial tenant. It is crucial that a lease effectively protects your interests in all possible scenarios. Here, our Fremont commercial real estate lawyer highlights six important issues that landlords should consider when negotiating and drafting a commercial lease in California.

Commercial Rent (Base Rate, Utilities, Percentage Leases)

It is no secret that the most important thing for landlords is collecting rent. Rental payments are the lifeblood of commercial real estate investment. A well-drafted commercial lease will help you ensure that you are in the best position to get full and fair market value rent for your property and that you can actually collect the rent.

A commercial lease should clarify exactly who is responsible for all costs—it should specify the amount of base rate, the date it is due, and payment of utilities. In some cases, commercial rent is based, in part, on business revenue. Often referred to as a “percentage lease”, it may be a good option for some California landlords.

Duration of the Lease (Early Termination/Renewal Rights)

A commercial lease should always have a well-defined duration. Both parties need to know exactly how long their current obligations will last. Beyond that, commercial landlords should also consider including provisions that clarify what will happen at the end of the lease. Among other things, you may want to consider:

  • Automatic renewal rights (first refusal rights);
  • The ability to extend the lease; and
  • Early termination options.

At the end of the current commercial lease term, the landlord-tenant relationship will either be extended or it will terminate. It is useful to operate under an initial commercial lease that helps facilitate a smooth transition, whatever the parties decide to do.

Alterations, Improvements, and Maintenance During the Tenancy

Commercial leases should have clear information about the commercial tenant’s ability to make any alterations to the premises during the terms of the lease, as well as information about whether you or the commercial tenant will be responsible for necessary improvements or maintenance during the tenancy.

Insurance and Indemnity

A commercial lease should always prepare for the possibility of unexpected loss—whether because of property damages or a lawsuit from a third party. This starts with insurance. While a commercial landlord will typically maintain their own insurance policy, it is important to consider whether a commercial tenant will be required to have a liability policy or another type of insurance policy as well. Additionally, commercial landlords may also want to consider some type of indemnity clause. As defined by the Cornell Legal Information Institute, an indemnification clause is a contract provision that shifts a liability risk from one party to another.

Collection of Overdue Rent and Evictions for Non-Payment

Unfortunately, not all commercial tenants live up to their responsibilities. You may run into a problem collecting rent. If so, you have the right to take immediate action against the business, potentially including initiating eviction proceedings. Your commercial lease is the basis of your ability to collect rent and evict a tenant for non-payment. A properly drafted commercial lease will ensure that you are in the best position to collect, even if a commercial tenant files for bankruptcy.

Termination of the Lease for Other Types of Contract Breaches

As a tenant, the primary obligation a business owes to its commercial landlord is a timely rental payment. Of course, that is not typically the only obligation. Landlords also need a commercial tenant who will treat their property well. In a commercial lease, you should strongly consider including a clear definition of what constitutes a breach of contract sufficient to justify termination of the lease and removal of the tenant. For instance, a commercial tenant may be removed for creating a nuisance or engaging in unlawful activity on the property.

Contact Our California Commercial Real Estate Attorney Today

Are you planning to rent commercial property to a new business tenant? You should seek advice about your commercial real estate lease from an experienced Fremont business law attorney. Attorney Lynnette Ariathurai is committed to serving commercial real estate landlords in California and can discuss the issues you should be considering in your commercial lease. Contact us to learn more about the services we provide. We serve clients in Fremont, Hayward, Milpitas, Union City, Newark, and throughout the East Bay.

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Business legal services in Silicon Valley

Obtaining Your Professional License

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When you are starting your own business or entering into a new professional field, you may be required to have a professional license according to California law. Indeed, there are many kinds of businesses and professions that require proper licensing, and it can be complicated to determine on your own what steps you must take to obtain and to maintain your professional license. California has various licensing boards, and they each have their own sets of requirements for seeking a professional license and ensuring that the license remains current.

California professional license laws may require legal assistance for individuals, corporations, partnerships, and other business entities seeking to obtain a professional license for their business. For professionals in healthcare fields or those with fiduciary duties like accountants veterinarians, and doctors, it is critical to begin working with a California professional license lawyer as soon as possible.

Working with a Lawyer to Obtain Your Professional License

As a business owner or professional in California you may need to obtain a professional license in order to perform your work or services in the state. Some of the professions that require licenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Pharmacists
  • Physical therapists
  • Veterinarians
  • Acupuncturists
  • Chiropractors
  • Dentists
  • Attorneys
  • Real estate agents
  • Certified public accountants (CPAs)
  • Insurance agents
  • Private investigators
  • Construction Contractors

Depending upon your specific profession and the license you are seeking, you may need to apply for your professional license with the California Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), or the boards (state government agencies) for your profession.  Navigating the professional licensing process in California can be extremely complicated. As such, it is important to work with a lawyer who can help.

What You Need to Do

The specific process for seeking a professional license in California will depend upon the license you are seeking, but generally speaking, you will be required to submit an application for the professional license along with a completed application package. While the contents of the application package will vary depending upon the type of license, in most cases will include:

  • The completed application forms
  • Fees
  • References
  • Official education transcripts
  • Examination results, and
  • Fingerprints

The timing for your professional license will also vary depending upon the type of license.  The websites might publish estimated turn-around time.

Professional Licensing Challenges

Without assistance from a lawyer, you may run into a variety of challenges while trying to obtain a professional license in California. You may not meet the eligibility or experience requirements for the license you are seeking, you may not have passed a required examination, your application could contain errors, your application package could be missing required documents, or you may not have submitted the appropriate fees.

In short, the application package for a professional license is substantial, and there is significant room for error.

Contact a California Professional License Attorney Today

If you need to obtain a professional license in California, it is essential to have an experienced California professional license lawyer on your side. Get advice from a lawyer who can ensure that the process goes smoothly.

Attorney Lynnette Ariathurai has years of experience serving businesses and professionals in Fremont, East Bay, Hayward, Milpitas, Union City, San Leandro, Gilroy, San Jose, Santa Clara and Newark. Contact us today for more information about obtaining your professional license.

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Business legal services in Silicon Valley

Common Mistakes Made in Contract Agreements

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Contract agreements are the basis of most commercial transactions in California. Whether you are starting a business, buying or selling a company, entering an agreement with a vendor/distributor, or hiring a new employee, you will benefit from a professionally drafted agreement that establishes and protects your rights and interests.

A proper contract is all about the small details. Even a relatively minor error could cause serious headaches for you or your business. With guidance and support from a local contract attorney, you can help avoid the most common mistakes. Here are four common mistakes made in contract agreements to watch out for:

1.      Failing to Draft a Written Contract

You can enter a contract agreement without writing anything down. Oral contracts are (often) enforceable in California. Under Cal. Civ. Code § 1622, “all contracts may be oral, except such as are specially required by statute to be in writing.” That being said, it is almost always a mistake to rely on an oral agreement. Not only does a written agreement clarify expectations and avoid misunderstanding, but it will make it much easier to protect your rights should a dispute arise. 

2.      Copying and Pasting a Template Agreement from the Internet

It does not take much internet research to find some basic contract templates. The ‘copy and paste’ approach to contract drafting is not good enough for you or your business. When parties rely on a pre-built template agreement, they frequently run into problems. A proper contract is one that is customized to meet your specific agreement. Copy/paste language is often inapplicable and inadequate.

3.      Signing an Agreement that You Do Not Fully Understand

Do not sign a business or employment contract unless you fully understand the terms. In far too many cases, people run into problems because they signed an agreement they simply did not understand. Before you finalize an agreement, take the time to carefully read it over. Pay close attention to all the specific terms. 

4.      Not Working with a Local Business Contract Lawyer

Contracts are complicated. You do not need to negotiate and draft an agreement alone. Professionals and business owners can benefit from the guidance of an experienced California business contract lawyer. Among other things, your business attorney will:

  • Understand your purpose and objectives
  • Review the specific terms and conditions of the agreement
  • Fix any ambiguities or errors in the contract, and
  • Negotiate any terms that are unfavorable

It is important to remember that business contracts are fundamentally negotiable. You have the right and ability to seek better terms. Do not finalize an agreement until you are satisfied with the contract. 

Contact Our California Business Contract Attorney for Help 

Attorney Lynette Ariathurai is an experienced, reliable contract lawyer. If you have any questions or concerns about business or employment contracts, our team can help. Contact us now for a completely confidential initial consultation. From our office in Fremont, we serve communities throughout the East Bay, including Hayward, Milpitas, Union City, San Leandro, and Newark.

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Business legal services in Silicon Valley

Common Legal Documents Needed for a California Business

business formation

Starting a business in California has many complex requirements, including a wide variety of legal documents. As you decide on the appropriate structure for your business, you may need to file articles of incorporations or organization, and you will need to draft and execute contracts for commercial leases and for hiring employees. Yet business owners continue to require many kinds of legal documents while running a company, from purchase and lease contracts to new employee and client contracts. Attorney Lynnette Ariathurai regularly assists businesses in Northern California with the varied legal documents necessary to start and to run a business. Our firm wants to provide you with more information about some of the common legal documents needed for a California business.

Filing Documents to Get Your Business Started

Depending upon the type of business you are planning to start, you may be required to fill out and file certain legal documents with the state of California. If you are planning to form a limited liability company (LLC), for example, you will need to file Articles of Organization with the California Secretary of State. If you are planning to form a corporation, you will need to file Articles of Incorporation with the California Secretary of State. Before you file Articles of Organization or Articles of Incorporation, you will need to check that your business has a unique name that is not currently being used by a company in California.

Depending upon the size and type of business, you also may need to register a “Doing Business As” or DBA. To register a DBA, you may need to file a fictitious business name (FBN) statement with the County Clerk or Register-Recorded in the county where your business will be located. If your business will not be in California but will do business in California, you may need to register with the Clerk of Sacramento County.

Business Contracts in California

There are many different kinds of businesses in California, and the specific types of business contracts you will need to have in place will depend upon a variety of factors, including the type of business you are operating and the type of workers you will hire. In general, the following are common contracts that are used in California businesses:

  • Leasing contracts;
  • Employee contracts;
  • Equipment purchase and lease contracts;
  • Client contracts;
  • Sales contracts;
  • Warranties and extended warranties; and
  • Service contracts.

How a Fremont-area Business Lawyer Can Help

A local business lawyer can assist you with the different elements of drafting, reviewing, filing, and defending legal documents in a California business. When it comes to the documents you need to file to form your business, we can assist you in creating and filing those necessary materials. With business contracts, attorney Lynnette Ariathurai can assist you with the development of contracts and review of contracts your business receives, as well as subsequent issues like breach of contract claims.

Working with a local attorney can be much more beneficial to your business than an online service that offers legal document drafting and review since a local attorney will have experience working with businesses governed by California law and handling filings in the specific county where your business is located.

Contact a Business Law Attorney in the Fremont Area

If you are planning to start a new business, it is essential to work with an experienced California business law attorney who can assist you in drafting and filing the varied legal documents you will need to run a successful company. Attorney Lynnette Ariathurai has been assisting businesses in Northern California for years and can begin working with you today. Our firm regularly assists businesses and entrepreneurs in Fremont, Hayward, Union City, Milpitas, and Newark.

Contracts, documents, forms

Business legal services in Silicon Valley

How Proposition 22 Affects Independent Contractors in California

independent contractor

On November 4, 2020, California voters passed Proposition 22 (“Prop 22”), which CNN describes as a “costly and controversial ballot measure to exempt firms like Uber and Lyft from having to classify their gig workers in the state as employees rather than as independent contractors.” Numerous businesses that will benefit from Prop 22 supported the measure, including Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart, and Postmates. In total, those companies put $200 million into the ballot measure, according to CNN, making it the “costliest ballot measure in California’s history.”

What do California business owners need to know about Prop 22 and how it will affect independent contractors in California?

What is Prop 22?

Prop 22 was known more formally as the App-Based Drivers as Contractors and Labor Policies Initiative, and it was designed to allow companies operating in the gig economy to avoid the “ABC test” in California. The ABC test, also known as Assembly Bill 5 (AB-5), took effect on January 1, 2020. That recent law, as you may know, makes it more difficult for a gig economy company to classify a worker as an independent contractor as opposed to an employee.

According to the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency, an employer must treat a worker as an employee (and not as an independent contractor) unless the employer can satisfy prongs A, B, and C of the test. The ABC test meant that many Uber and Lyft drivers, for example, would need to be treated as employees as opposed to independent contractors.

With the passage of Prop 22, both ride-hail (i.e., Uber. Lyft) and delivery drivers can be exempt from the ABC test requirements in order to be classified as independent contractors. Prop 22 does provide some employee-like protections to gig economy drivers who will be classified as independent contractors, such as a minimum wage guarantee., overtime pay, access to workers’ compensation, union rights, family and sick leave, or employer related benefits.

Can My Independent Contractors Remain in this Classification?

Businesses that have independent contractors and that operate through an app platform should consult with an attorney about whether their independent contractors can remain independent contractors in light of the new law. Many businesses still have independent contractors and do not currently comply with AB-5. Under AB-5, most of those independent contractors should be classified as employees.

Prop 22, voted in by Californians, shows hope for the gig economy. Many people like to operate businesses for themselves and to use independent contractors to provide services in California. Gig economy business owners, as well as other business owners in California, will need to wait and see if the legislature makes changes to AB-5 in light of Prop 22.

Contact a California Business Law Attorney

Do you have questions about how Prop 22 will affect the classification of your business’s employees or independent contractors? An experienced California business law attorney can speak with you today. Attorney Lynnette Ariathurai has been serving the Northern California business community for years and can provide you with the information you need. Our firm serves clients in Fremont, Hayward, Union City, Milpitas, and Newark.

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Business legal services in Silicon Valley

Avoiding Wrongful Termination Lawsuits

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In the course of running a business, an employer can face many kinds of complaints from employees. As stressful and frustrating as this can be, you can go a long way towards reducing your liability risk with proper preparation. Among other things, you should be prepared for employee complaints and the possibility of wrongful termination allegations. Here, our California employer defense attorney highlights four steps that businesses and organizations can take to help avoid wrongful termination lawsuits, thereby saving the time, stress, and money associated with litigation.

  • Create Clear Grounds for Discipline and a Termination Policy

Your business or organization should have a clear policy in place regarding discipline and removal of employees. The termination policy should be clearly communicated to workers. Simply defined, a termination policy should set grounds for “discipline up to and including termination”. You should also get the termination policy down in writing. Although even a well-crafted termination policy cannot prevent every claim, an effective policy will help you avoid facing legal liability.

  • Set Expectations for Employees and Conduct Annual Performance Reviews

Every employee should understand what is expected from them in the workplace. Beyond ensuring that workers know what they need to do, it is imperative that your company conducts regular performance reviews. For most companies, an annual performance review is sufficient. To be clear, California law does not require annual performance appraisals.

Nonetheless, reviews are an excellent tool for employers because they can help the employee understand the workplace expectations and what they need to do to improve. Further, a performance review can serve as a form of documentary proof of an employee’s lacking performance and disciplinary issues should termination be necessary.

Caveat: Employers should beware of the fact that a performance review could potentially be used against them in a wrongful termination claim. If an employee has a history of glowing, positive reviews and is suddenly terminated, there may be a dispute.

  • Follow California’s Supervisor Training Requirements

Under California law, employers with 5 or more employees must provide 1 hour of sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to nonsupervisory employees and 2 hours of sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to supervisors and managers once every two years.  The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing provides the required training free on their website. As a business owner, it is crucial that you make sure that all supervisors and all employees meet the state’s training requirements.

  • Follow State and Federal Employment Laws

Finally, employers should have a strong understanding of the federal and state laws designed to protect workers. This includes everything from the laws barring discrimination to laws protecting employees from unfair wage and hour law practices. Most federal and state employment laws also prohibit retaliation from an employer when the employee exercises their rights under the law.

Contact a Fremont, CA Business Law Attorney for Immediate Help

Attorney Lynette Ariathurai is a skilled, experienced advocate for clients. Our law firm will help you develop effective methods for responding to wrongful termination claims and defending against these claims in court.

If you have any questions about avoiding wrongful termination lawsuits, we are more than ready to help. Contact us today for a strictly confidential initial consultation. We represent employers in Fremont, CA and near Newark, Hayward, East Bay, Milpitas, Union City, San Leandro, Gilroy, San Jose, and Santa Clara.

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Business legal services in Silicon Valley

Steps to Purchase a Business in California

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Are you thinking about buying a business in California? While purchasing an existing business can be exciting, it can also come with complications. If you already own a business and are looking for a new acquisition, you might have a clear idea of the type of business you want to buy. However, if you are just starting out, you should seek advice about choosing the best business in which to invest. You will also want to consider due diligence, and all the steps you will need to take to ensure that you do not end up buying a business that will cause significant problems in the long run. By working with an experienced business law attorney throughout the process, you can feel secure in knowing that you have legal representation to help minimize the risks and to guide you through the business buying process.

When you are considering a business purchase or acquisition, you should consider the following steps.

1. Decide on a Business You Want to Buy

Once you know you want to invest in a new business, the process of identifying the best company can be complicated. For anyone who is seeking to acquire a second (or third, or fourth) company, the process might be a bit easier—you already know your own strengths as a business owner, and you know the industries in which you feel comfortable doing business. If you are new to the business world, you should work with a lawyer who can help you to determine the types of industries that meet your needs, and the specific businesses that you may be interested in purchasing given your previous experience and industry knowledge.

2. Consider Your Financing Options

Most business purchasers need to secure financing to buy a business. Whether you have been involved in a specific industry for years or you are just starting out, your business law attorney can help you to determine the type and amount of financing you might be able to access.

3. Draft an Agreement to Buy the Business

Once you know the business you want to purchase and have a good sense of your financing options, you will work with your lawyer to draft a purchase agreement. The purchase agreement does not bind you to the purchase if there are significant legal issues—uncovering any financial or legal problems with the business can result in the purchase agreement being voided. How will you determine whether there are any major issues that need to be resolved? That is what the next step is for: due diligence.

4. Do Your Due Diligence

According to Score.org and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), doing due diligence is how you will learn about any potential legal or financial problems with the business you want to buy. In performing due diligence, you can ask for a wide variety of materials related to the business, including financial documents, contracts, business equipment, assets, trade secrets, and other intellectual property. This step is also when you will make difficult inquiries about current legal obligations, and any potential legal obligations in the future. Before you buy a business, you need to have clarity about liens, judgments, licenses, permits, zoning issues, debts, and any pending lawsuits.

Your business lawyer will play an important role in the due diligence process and can help you to assess the types of risks you are facing in buying the business. Attorney Lynnette Ariathurai can determine whether the risks and liabilities linked to the business are acceptable and can clarify your options for minimizing future risks if you move forward with the purchase.

5. Closing

If you decide to move forward with the business purchase, you will work with your business lawyer to take all necessary legal steps prior to the closing, at which point you will review and sign the purchase agreement, along with any financial documents.

Contact a Business Lawyer When Buying a Business

Do you have questions about buying a business, or do you need representation for a specific business purchase? Our law firm can assist you from start to finish when it comes to purchasing a business in California. Contact attorney Lynnette Ariathurai today to get started.  We support businesses legal needs in the East Bay area including Fremont, Newark, Hayward, Milpitas, and Union City.

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Business legal services in Silicon Valley

Attorney for Buying a Business

Lynnette Ariathurai, Bay Area Business Attorney

If you are considering a purchase of an existing business, it is important to work with an attorney for buying a business. Purchasing a business can be a complex process, and many legal issues can arise in the process of looking for a business to buy, securing financing for the purchase, and getting the business running again. If you are in the market for a business, you should know that an experienced Fremont business lawyer can provide you with the services you need. As you consider your options for buying a business, the following are issues and concerns that you should consider.

Looking for a Business to Buy: Selection and Marketplace

Seeking out a business to buy can be a complicated process in and of itself. How do you select the type of business to buy? Generally speaking, you should seek out businesses that have ties to your own professional work and expertise. If you do not have experience in a particular industry, buying a business in that field can be much more difficult than buying a business in a field with which you have some familiarity.

Once you decide on the type of business you should be selecting, it will be time to locate the business that you want to purchase. You should work with a lawyer to understand the marketplace and your options for selecting an appropriate business.

Due Diligence Prior to Purchasing a Business

Prior to buying, you should develop a due diligence checklist that includes a variety of tasks you will need to complete with assistance from an experienced business law attorney.

You will also need to secure financing for the purchase. In order to secure financing, you will need to provide a significant amount of information to the lender about the business, which you will gather in the process of conducting due diligence. An article in Reuters discusses key elements of due diligence. Generally speaking, due diligence should include the following for most types of business purchases:

  • Researching the business’s financial information, including any existing liens, debts, tax returns, expenses, profit margins, and inventory;
  • Gather information about the structure of the business and the business formation of the company, which will provide you with information about the business’s bylaws or articles of incorporation, shareholders or investors, and compliance filings;
  • Determine the business’s assets, including commercial real estate, equipment, furniture, and products;
  • Learn about existing employee and customer data, including any existing disputes or litigation;
  • Review existing business contracts, including employment contracts, restrictive covenants, mortgages, leases, stock purchase agreements, and existing agreements with suppliers or vendors;
  • Determine whether there are any existing legal issues or disputes involving the business; and
  • Investigate existing intellectual property, such as existing trademarks or service marks.

Guidance on Liability and Minimization of Risk

If you or your company is considering purchasing a business, it is imperative that you carefully assess all of the potential risks. The absolute last thing you want to deal with is an unanticipated issue that could expose you to legal liability. Among other things, these debts could include employee wages, contractual obligations, loans, state or federal taxes, commercial leases, and other financial responsibilities.

Hiring a Knowledgeable Business Attorney is Important

Given extensive experience practicing business law, your attorney will review all relevant purchase documents, offer guidance on liability, and help you minimize the risks. It may be important to send a bulk sale notice to all affected creditors, including state and federal tax authorities. By doing so, you will notify creditors that assets are being transferred and impose a time limit for them to bring any claim. A well-drafted asset purchase agreement will help to ensure that your company is not subject to unknown liabilities.

With a full understanding of the risks as presented by your business attorney, you and your business partners can better protect your financial interests. In some cases, it may be advisable to buy the company’s individual assets instead of the entire business. In other cases, purchasing an ownership stake in the company may be the best path forward. There are additional ways to obtain protection in a purchase, such as temporarily holding back a portion of the purchase price, including comprehensive indemnification provisions, and obtaining insurance.

Business Law Matters After Your Purchase

Depending upon the type of business you bought, it may be necessary to change the business structure, and you may need legal assistance with business formation questions. New businesses, and new business owners, will also need to draft enforceable contracts for employees, vendors, suppliers, and other parties. Business contracts can be complex, and you should always work with an experienced business lawyer who can ensure that your contracts are likely to be enforceable in the event of a dispute.

The attorney you hire for buying a business can also assist with other outstanding legal items that are likely to arise in the early stages of buying a business.

Contact a Business Lawyer in Fremont

Buying a business can be a complex endeavor, but an experienced California business and corporate attorney can assist you. At The Law Office of Lynnette Ariathurai, we serve clients in Fremont, Hayward, Union City, Milpitas, and Newark, California. Contact attorney Lynnette Ariathurai today for assistance with buying a business.

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Serving Businesses and Start Ups in the Greater Bay Area including Fremont, Hayward, Union City, Castro Valley, Milpitas, and Newark, CA.

The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship.