Whether you are starting a new business or planning the future for an existing business venture, the advice of an experienced business law attorney can be invaluable. The Judy-Ann Smith Law Firm in Jacksonville helps Florida entrepreneurs and business owners make informed decisions about their businesses and provides tailored recommendations and assistance with business formation and business succession matters.
Choice of Entity Decisions
When you start a new Florida business, one of the most important decisions you will face is what type of business entity you should form. There is not a one-size-fits-all answer, or a one “best” way to create your new business; the best choice for you will depend on a number of factors, including your goals, whether your business will have one or more employees, the potential tax impact to you, and the level of business formalities you are comfortable maintaining.
- Corporations. Forming a corporation in Florida can benefit business owners who want protection against personal legal liability. To receive this protection, the business must adhere to certain corporate formalities, including holding periodic meetings, formally documenting decisions, and more. By default, corporations are separate legal entities that are responsible for reporting and paying taxes on earnings at the corporate level. Owners, called “shareholders,” are taxed on their share of earnings as personal income tax.
- Limited Liability Companies. LLCs are a popular choice for many Florida business owners. LLCs offer business owners protection against being held personally liable for the business’ financial obligations, without the formalities required of corporations. That liability protection can provide valuable peace of mind for entrepreneurs. From a tax standpoint, LLCs are “pass-through” business entities by default. This means the business’ profits and losses are passed through to the owners who, in turn, must report and pay individual income tax on their share of profits.
- Partnerships. Forming a partnership is another option if your business will have more than one owner. Just like LLCs, partnerships provide some legal protection. One partner is not liable for another partner’s individual actions, and limited partners are only personally liable to the extent of their share of partnership assets. Partnerships are also pass-through business entities for tax purposes.
- Sole Proprietorships. Individuals starting small businesses may want to consider forming sole proprietorships. This type of business entity is generally the easiest and least expensive option. However, the owner faces potentially unlimited legal liability for the business’ debts and obligations.
The Judy-Ann Smith Law Firm can help you understand the potential benefits and drawbacks of these various business types. When you’ve decided on a specific type of entity, we can help you file the necessary documents and put legal agreements in place to officially establish and govern your new business.
Planning for What Comes Next
When you have spent years or even a lifetime building your business, it’s important to plan for what will happen when you want to retire. Similarly, it’s also important to plan for what would happen to your business interests if you died prematurely, or if you became incapacitated and could not manage your business affairs.
The Judy-Ann Smith Law Firm helps business owners plan for orderly business succession in a variety of ways. We can help you determine whether a contract, a buy/sell agreement, a trust instrument, durable powers of attorney, or other business succession tools would best help you meet your goals. We’ll also help by professionally drafting and tailoring legal documents to accomplish those goals.
Choose The Judy-Ann Smith Law Firm to Help With Your Business Formation and Business Succession Needs
It’s important to get your business started on the right foot. It’s just as important to plan for the orderly succession of your business interests. To learn more about how The Judy-Ann Smith Law Firm can help, contact us in our Jacksonville, Florida office today.