Gainesville Business And Real Estate Law Blog

Four types of companies for the way you want to conduct business

Starting a business in Georgia can be scary, but it is exciting too. It can also be confusing and more than a little frustrating to wade through the paperwork that comes with such a venture. There are many decisions to make before you even open the doors, decisions that will impact your business and how it operates. The team at the Roberts Law Firm often helps people understand the pros and cons of these choices so they can make informed decisions and get their business started on the right foot.

The University of Georgia Small Business Development Center explains that small businesses are defined as those that are owned and operated independently. They must have fewer than 300 workers or less than $30 million in annual revenue. There are four types of businesses to consider. You can form a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or limited liability company.

  1. Limited liability company: This form has features of both a partnership and a corporation. It can be a complicated process to form an LLC, and it is best considered after discussions with an attorney. You will need an employer identification number, and if you plan to work out of your home, you likely will need a business license too.
  2. Corporation: There are many steps involved in forming a corporation. Along with reserving a name and filing incorporation papers, you will need to advertise your intention, elect officers and directors, adopt by-laws and issue stock. You must keep records of meetings and decisions made by directors and register annually with the state.
  3. Partnership: Two or more people can form a partnership in order to conduct a business or trade. Each partner adds their own time, talents and money, and each one shares in the ups and downs of the company. It is a good idea to make the partnership a formal agreement and put it in writing.
  4. Sole proprietorship: If you want to work as a sole proprietorship, you can form the business in your own name. You need to register your business with county officials where you live. There is no separation between business and personal activities, so you have more flexibility with this type of business.

Challenging zoning restrictions in Georgia

As any real estate development expert in Gainesville will tell you, one of the primary keys to success in such ventures is "location, location, location." Several past clients have come to us here at The Roberts Law Firm, P.C. convinced that they had found the prime location for their development projects, only to then see their efforts thwarted due to zoning issues. If you are encountering the same difficulties, what are you to do? Is it possible to challenge zoning restrictions? 

In the state of Georgia, the answer to that question is yes. In rulings handed down by the state's Supreme Court, the validity of zoning laws as being debatable has been recognized. The standard for successfully challenging such restrictions has been established at you being able to prove two points: That your proposed reclassification of zoning ordinances is insubstantially related to the health, safety, morality and welfare of the general public, and that current restrictions impose a significant detriment to you. If your challenge is deemed to be valid, the local government must then respond by showing its evidence as to why the land is best zoned as is. 

Handling business disputes between partners

Starting a partnership can be a great way to get your business idea up and running. Working with a partner gives you the advantage of having someone else helping out and contributing to the costs and efforts involved in running a business.

Business partnerships are breeding grounds for conflict, even if your partner is your best friend. Having a game plan for handling conflict and disputes over a business partnership will make the situation more manageable.

How does foreclosure work in Georgia?

Home should be a place of security, but when you are facing foreclosure it can feel like you are no longer safe in your own home.

Georgia is a non-judicial foreclosure state. Mortgage agreements in Georgia have a power of sale clause that allows lenders to foreclose on the property by itself. This means the lender can foreclose on your home without filing a suit or appearing in court before a judge. If you are facing a foreclosure, this is what happens during the process.

Looking for the light at the end of the foreclosure tunnel

It is no secret that budgeting can be difficult; throw the holidays into the mix, and that task can easily become a nightmare. Yet unemployment -- especially after the holiday season -- can top these pitfalls in its ability to affect both daily pursuits and overall quality of life. It is natural for any Georgia worker who has lost a job to fear the worst in regards to mortgage payments, but there are often many ways to look at this difficult conundrum. 

Most could agree that there is never an ideal time to get fired from a job. GOBankingRates, a personal finance resource, recognizes this concern by listing various approaches one can take to avoid home foreclosure. According to the list posted last October, reviewing insurance is one way to tackle a looming foreclosure threat. In fact, some policies can actually work with customers' mortgage payments if that individual becomes unemployed. There are many different choices one can make when planning mortgage protection insurance. Another option could be the seeking of government assistance; for example, Fannie Mae and the Federal Housing Administration are some of many places to start. 

Forming an LLC

Starting up a business can be a scary venture, even when you have the assistance of friends and associates in Gainesville. All of the excitement that you and your potential partners may feel about charting your own professional course is often tempered by the hesitancy to stake your own personal assets on what is (at least at this point) an unknown commodity. Many have seen this same concern deter them from ever branching out on their own. Several of our past clients have come to us here at The Roberts Law Firm, P.C. asking what is better: To enjoy the protection offered by a corporate structure or the control afforded by a business partnership? Our response: Why not have both? 

A limited liability company allows you to do just that. It allows you to create your business as a stand-alone entity, absolving you of liability for its debts and assets. At the same time, it does not require you and your managing partners to observe the formalities inherent with a corporation. You can choose to elect corporate officers or simply operate as a partnership. What is more, your company can elect to be taxed either as a corporation or a partnership. This tax status flexibility makes LLC's a popular business formation choice for smaller start-ups. 

When does your business need a lawyer?

Most small businesses start out, well, small. Not much for assets or employees, but there’s most definitely sweat equity from the owner. Most owners, as the company grows, put dollars earned right back into the business. Costs need to be managed and minimized. But, at some point, you’ll need a lawyer.

It’s been said that a good business attorney is worth his or her weight in widgets. Whether it’s structuring the business, commercial leases, contracts, disputes or litigation, an experienced lawyer can not only help you grow your business, but help keep it afloat.

When can a client walk away from a contract?

The security that comes with working contractually in Gainesville is knowing that your contracted partner cannot just walk away from your agreement. There are, however, certain methods through which your partner can choose to seek an end to your contract: Either "for cause" or "for convenience." Understanding the difference between the two is vital given that the reason cited affects how much you may be entitled to collect. 

A client may be able to terminate your contract for cause if it believes you have defaulted in meeting its terms. To cite breach of contract as reason for ending your agreement, your partner must first show that the supposed breach was material, or a failure to perform an essential element of it. When determining whether your supposed breach qualifies as such, the court considers factors such as: 

  • Did it affect a vital element of the essence or your agreement? 
  • Did it result in your partner receiving less than it bargained to recover? 
  • Did it defeat the general purpose of the contract? 

What Is the Best Formation for Your Small Business?

If you’re considering starting a business in Georgia, you’ve chosen a great state to conduct business in. Advantageous taxation rates and job creation incentives are just two of the reasons why Georgia is widely considered one of the best states for small business owners.

There are many things to consider that will have a major impact on your new business. Choosing a business entity designation is one of the most important elements of establishing any business. Different entity designations have particular requirements and advantages. Here are some business formation questions and answers that can help you decide which incorporation type is right for you.

How can you avoid foreclosure rescue schemes?

When facing foreclosure, you are likely willing to do anything to keep your home in Gainesville. That may include taking the advice of so-called "experts" who claim they know of easy, low-cost ways of saving your home from foreclosure. Oftentimes, these are people involved is what has become known as "foreclosure rescue" schemes. They may come to you telling you they can get you a mortgage modification, or that by transferring your home's title to them (or a third party), you can continue living in it while paying rent (with, of course, the promise of being able to buy it back at a later date). Yet behind the scenes, they are trying to cash out your equity or arrange to sell your home out from under you. 

Fortunately, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency of the U.S Treasury Department has provided some tips on helping to spot such schemes. These include: 

  • Avoid people telling you that they will let you live in the home once you sign it over: Once ownership is transferred, the schemer can evict you, charge you insanely high rent or just sell the home. 
  • Don't believe people who cite little-known laws: Some fraudsters will try to win your trust by claiming your lender has no legal right to foreclose. 
  • Don't listen to any advice telling you to stop contacting your lender: Schemers want to prey on your ignorance, and thus will tell you to avoid default or foreclosure notices and that they are handling everything. 
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The Roberts Law Firm, P.C.

The Roberts Law Firm, P.C.
604 Green Street
Gainesville, GA 30501

Toll Free: 866-594-7535
Phone: 404-537-2796
Fax: 404-841-0775
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