Show Your Family and Even Your Business the Love This Month!

February 16, 2021

Main Video

For this month’s main video, I want to talk with you about the best failsafe I know for business owners to save relationships with workers and vendors when the inevitable bump in the road is being crossed. I hope this video will give you reason toRethink Your Relationship With Legal Agreements because Legal Agreements Help You Make Better Hires and Find Better Partners

When it comes to onboarding a new team member, whether an employee or an independent contractor, it’s fairly common to have the relationship not turn out quite the way you had hoped it would. This occurs because the individual either doesn’t provide the services you thought they would, or they fail to live up to your expectations in some other way.

One Common Cause is A Failure of Process
The cost of team turnover can be among the biggest expenses for your business, not just financially, but in terms of time and energy, too. In many cases, changing your agreement process can ensure you hire the right people, who will be with you for a long time and grow alongside your business.

Most small business owners have a standard employment agreement signed by all team members or no agreement at all. In either case, you are setting yourself up for loss.

Every person you hire—contractors and employees— should sign an agreement. Doing so will save you from big losses down the road.

Your agreement should specify your expectations for the relationship, establish metrics for success, and include time frames for objectives to be achieved. When you share these expectations, you are setting the new hire up to succeed from the start. And you are giving them an opportunity to clarify whether the expectations are clear and can be met.

Rather than using a generic online agreement, you should work with a business lawyer like us, who can create agreements that are specific to your business. Then, you should have a solid agreement template all ready to go whenever you onboard someone new.

Clarifying Your Expectations Is Essential to a healthy business relationship.
An experienced employment or business lawyer can customize your agreements to make them cater to your needs, style, and way of doing business. Having customizable agreements helps you make better hires because it forces you to think through your expectations for the relationship ahead of time.

The more important the hire is, the more time you should take to negotiate the terms of the relationship. You can provide the template, or base agreement, and then give the new hire time to review it and ask questions.

Every long term business relationship will have its challenging moments.
For example, if you are bringing on a business partner or high-level team member, I can promise you this: There will be times when you do NOT want to be in business with that person. I can’t tell you exactly what will happen or when, but inevitably something will come up.

And if you don’t have a sound agreement that provides you with a reason to not just run away, you might do just that. But running away is not good for you or your business.

It’s vital to create agreements when you love each other and have high hopes for the relationship. You can tailor the agreements to address future outcomes that may be off the charts bad or even just less than ideal, and that’s what’s going to keep you invested in the relationship when it reaches the breaking point. Conversely, there may be times when the right call is to run, and a good agreement can provide you with a way out.

Here’s the key to getting a good agreement: It’s First About The Process, Not The Paper. Use your lawyer early so that you don’t need them when it’s too late.

As your Family Business Lawyer™, I have been creating comprehensive employment agreements and partnership agreements for small businesses like yours for more than 25 years. So if you need help with a new business relationship, please contact me now.

Monthly Offer

In the last couple of years, I have grown to deeply appreciate the value of having a personal coach. Or in my case, coaches. Today, I had a particularly interesting coaching session with my business coach. We talked about the importance of vulnerability as an element of business success.

See, the ironic thing about the lawyering business is that I have spent my entire legal career protecting my clients from vulnerability. And yet, I know that I can do that most effectively when they have shared with me their vulnerabilities. More to the point, sharing vulnerability is not usually a one-way street, but as a protector of vulnerability, I have practiced first protecting myself against being vulnerable. Until recently, I did not recognize how putting up shields can prevent me from being my most effective as a professional.

Maybe you use shields too much too. So I am using this space now to do two things: One, make a public declaration of my intent to be more open and share my own vulnerabilities with people I trust and people who I want to trust me. Two, urge you to look closely at what your own vulnerabilities are and assess how sharing them appropriately might result in life successes for you.

As a lawyer dedicated to helping my clients avoid conflicts that will be impediments to their goals whether for themselves in business or their loved ones receiving the gifts and legacies that my clients want to leave, I have come to appreciate even more how important our personal connections are to achieving our goals and how our connections are strengthened through our shared vulnerabilities.

Perhaps the biggest change I have seen since I began practicing law in 1994 is the devaluation of legal documents. Contracts, trusts, wills that took hours of research and writing by lawyers then can now be produced literally with a few clicks and a few minutes by anyone on an internet site. That’s not to say that the cyber documents will be the same as the kind that can be created following real human interaction and connection with an experienced lawyer. It is to say, the paper is not worth that much. In contrast, the human interaction, the understanding, the insight that I can gain from you, for you, cannot be duplicated by clicks on an internet site. It is that exchange of information – and yes, vulnerability – where the real value of today’s great lawyers come from and the real reward of being a lawyer is experienced.

And for that, I am so grateful to those of you have honored me with the opportunity to serve you and continue to serve you. I have come to know how much more satisfying that is than winning any court argument or even contract negotiation.

Enjoy this month’s videos – and don’t miss our Spotlight Feature on Bill Fayne. He’s got some great stories to tell about his long career and fascinating perspective on being an artist living through and surviving the Covid pandemic. I want to especially thank Nolan Dall for his superb interview of Bill and sharing it with the Gordillo Law Firm and you.

Featured Video

For this month’s Featured Video, I want to talk with those of you who might be considering a move to a new state. If that’s you, don’t forget to update your estate plan.

Although you likely won’t need to create an entirely new estate plan when moving to another state, you should definitely have your documents reviewed by a lawyer who is familiar with your new home state’s laws. Each state has its own laws, and those laws can differ significantly from one location to another.

You’ll want to make sure your documents comply with the new state’s laws and the terms of those documents still work as intended. So here’s how differing state laws can affect common planning documents, and the steps you might want to take to ensure these documents are properly updated.

First is the most common estate planning document: Your Last Will and Testament

Most states will accept a will that was executed properly under another state’s laws. But your new state’s laws might have some differences that make certain provisions in your will invalid. So here are a few of the things you should review in your will when moving:

Your will should include naming an executor, this is the person who will administer your will after you die: Consider whether the executor or administrator you’ve chosen will be able to serve in your new location. Every state will allow an out-of-state executor to serve, but some states have special requirements that those executors must meet, such as requiring them to post a bond. Other states require non-resident executors to appoint an agent who lives within the state to accept legal documents on behalf of the estate.

Next, if you are married, consider how your new state treats marital property. A common-law state, like Ohio, might treat the property you own in your name alone as yours, but in community-property states, like Nevada, treats all of your property as owned jointly with your spouse. If your new state treats marital property differently than your old one, you might need to draft a new will to ensure your wishes are honored.

If you have a Revocable Living Trust,
A valid revocable living trust from one state should continue to be valid in your new state. But you need to make certain that you transfer any new assets you acquire, such as a new home, to your trust, so that those assets can avoid the need to go through probate.

A good estate plan also includes a Financial Power of Attorney and a Medical Power of Attorney
A valid power of attorney document created in one state may be valid in your new state. But you shouldn’t just assume it will be accepted, and you should check with a lawyer like us to make certain your document will work 100% as intended.

Likewise, a good estate plan will include an Advanced Directive as it is called in Nevada or a Living Will as it is called in Ohio. These documents set forth your wishes regarding how you want medical decisions made for you for if you become incapacitated.

Advance directives, such as a living will and medical power of attorney, created in one state should be accepted in other states, but this isn’t guaranteed. Some states, for example, don’t even have laws governing these matters, so medical professionals may be hesitant to accept unfamiliar documents.

Furthermore, the provisions, forms, and language used in advance directives can vary widely between states. For these reasons, you should enlist a lawyer’s guidance to make sure your advance directives will be honored in your new locale.

Moving to a new state is a clear example of when your estate plan should be reviewed, but everyone has life changes at some point. That means everyone needs to Keep Their Plan Current

As with other big life events, like births, deaths, and divorce, moving to a new state is the ideal time to have your plan reviewed by a professional. With us, as your Family Business Lawyer™, we’ll not only help you create the documents that are best suited for your situation, we also have systems in place to ensure your documents stay updated throughout your lifetime.

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