Hand Ponist’s experienced business lawyers can help your business or nonprofit organization through personal service and bold advocacy. We will get to know your business or organization and you. Our attorneys understand both the challenges and the rewards of running a business or nonprofit organization.
Our business attorneys have years of experience in advising, representing, and counseling businesses and their owners, as well as nonprofit organizations. Most legal problems have many different solutions that are all technically correct. We work to find a solution to your problem that is not only correct but also practical. We recognize that a solution to a legal matter that is cost-effective is better than a solution that is not. We also recognize that you have concerns and priorities that go beyond a strictly legal analysis. For example, while you want a contract with your customer that protects your interests, you do not want a contract that is so one-sided that your customer decides to go elsewhere. Finally, we recognize that thoughtful analysis and wise decisions when a business is formed, when a contract is negotiated, and when the purchase and sale of a business is consummated can prevent much more expense and disruption to the business or organization down the road.
The business structure that you choose can have a big impact on the business’ taxes and liability, as well as its success down the road. Many businesses are organized as corporations or limited liability companies, which protects company owners by restricting their liability. However, neither corporations nor limited liability companies provide total protection, and both require you to follow certain formalities to receive protection. There are certain situations in which a court will pierce the corporate veil and hold either the shareholders of a corporation or the members of an LLC personally liable for business obligations. We can help you avoid the pitfalls that lead to that result. Our Indiana business attorneys also represent many startups. We are familiar with the satisfaction associated with being your own boss and the issues that small business owners confront.Business and Commercial Transactions
Our firm advises and represents clients in business and commercial transactions, including those involving mergers, acquisitions, business sales, franchise purchases, equipment leases, and office leases. Often, business and commercial transactions must be carefully memorialized through written contracts. These contracts must meet certain requirements to be enforceable in Indiana. Noncompetition and nonsolicitation agreements, intellectual property licenses, and indemnification agreements are require particular care to ensure that the contract works as intended. We have drafted many kinds of contracts, including employment contracts, construction contracts, confidentiality agreements, software contracts, publishing contracts, and outsourcing arrangements. We help our clients protect their interests with security agreements and personal guarantees. Also, we represent clients in resolving disputes through informal settlement negotiations, mediation, arbitration, or litigation.Business Litigation
Nobody starts a business relationship with the expectation that it will wind up in litigation. Unfortunately, even when skilled business lawyers draft your documents, disputes can come up that you may not have expected. If you are sued, or if you believe that you need to sue to enforce your rights, the business attorneys at our Indiana firm can help. One common dispute that can give rise to litigation involves a breach of a contract. This is a party’s failure to live up to its contractual responsibilities without a legally valid excuse. It can occur when one of the parties to a valid contract did not perform its obligations, one party made clear that it had no intention to perform under the contract, or one party acted such that it became impossible for the other party to perform. A party to a valid contract can be held accountable for damages that arise out of a breach. Disputes among the owners of closely held corporations or LLCs are another source of business litigation that can have high stakes for those involved.Nonprofit Organizations
Most nonprofits [link to nonprofit organizations page] are 501(c)(3) organizations. This means that they are formed for literary, scientific, charitable, or religious purposes. They are eligible for state and federal tax exemptions. To create a 501(c)(3) organization, it is necessary to first form an Indiana nonprofit corporation, and then apply for tax-exempt status both from the State of Indiana and from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Our firm advises and represents nonprofit organizations at all stages of development. We assist new organizations in incorporating and qualifying for tax-exempt status, including filing and preparing a Form 1023 for charitable organizations that qualify for an exemption under section 501(c)(3). Our Indiana business lawyers also assist other kinds of tax-exempt organizations, such as civic leagues and social welfare organizations under section 501(c)(4), and social or recreational clubs under section 501(c)(7).Securities Law
Securities law is fraught with complexity. Whether you are starting a new business or bringing new owners into your business, you must consider the possibility that your corporation or limited liability company will need to comply with securities laws. Securities sold or offered for sale must be registered with the Indiana Secretary of State or the United States Securities Exchange Commission unless they qualify for an exemption. Securities are more than stocks and bonds; they can include investment contracts, promissory notes, and interests in limited liability companies. It can be a very fine line between a legal sale of an exempt security and an illegal sale of an unregistered security. If you knowingly violate the Indiana Securities Act, you can be charged with a class C felony that is punished by imprisonment for a fixed term of 2-8 years, with an advisory sentence of four years and a fine of up to $10,000. A violation of this law is also a predicate offense under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations statute, which is a class C felony.Business Succession Planning
The business attorneys at our Indiana firm advise clients on arrangements to transfer their businesses and assets after they die. It may be possible to transfer property through a simple will, along with a form of ownership that automatically transfers on death. However, this is not the best solution for everyone or for every type of business. Often, owners of family businesses wish to ensure that a business stays intact and within the family for generations after the founders are gone. A business should be organized in such a way that ownership will be shared among members of future generations without the division of assets. It may be appropriate to create a trust as part of business succession planning. Some business owners use a living trust, also called a grantor trust, that allows the grantor making the trust to place assets, including a family business, in trust during his or her lifetime. After the grantor’s death, the trustee distributes the assets to the named beneficiaries. Another useful business succession planning technique is to designate a beneficiary of stock in a corporation or interest in a limited liability company under the Indiana Transfer on Death Act.Consult a Knowledgeable Business Lawyer in Indiana
We furnish a broad range of legal services required by businesses and nonprofit organizations. For thoughtful guidance in growing and protecting your entity, or for fierce advocacy in a dispute, you should consult the attorneys at Hand Ponist Horvath Smith & Rayl. We represent clients statewide. Call us at (317) 964-6000 or contact us via our online form.