Trusts and Estates

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Buy-Sell Agreements: The #1 Must-Have for Your Business Partnership

Elena Volkova on February 3, 2015

When you go into business with a partner, you have shared dreams and (hopefully) a great working relationship. In many cases, the business partnership flourishes and remains intact for years. That’s the hope, anyway. But what happens when the partnership needs to end? Even if it ends on friendly terms, untangling a business partnership is difficult. There’s usually a cost involved in separation – and if you don’t have a written agreement about who owns what, you may also experience some fighting and emotional pain. How can you avoid a messy end to a partnership? By having a well-drafted buy-sell Read More…

Do You Have a Corporate Governance Checklist?

Volkova Law PLLC on November 17, 2014

As 2014 draws to an end, we’ve begun to go through our corporate compliance checklist for our clients. The end of year is also the time when I dust off my corporate formalities soap box. Forming a corporation is not a “set it and forget it” type of activity. If you want effective protection of your personal assets — from the risks and potential claims of your business activities — you need to mind your corporate formalities. What does that mean? The legal standard is set in the New York Limited Liability Company Law or New York Business Corporation Read More…

Loans from Friends & Family: How to Borrow (or Lend) Money without Hurting Your Relationships – Part 2 of 2

Volkova Law PLLC on October 3, 2014

By Elena Volkova, Esq. To see Part 1, click here. Talking to Potential Lenders The next step is to start talking to your potential lenders. Explain to them what is happening in the business, and why you need the money. Explain to them that you are comfortable keeping business and personal separate, and that you’re willing to stand by your commitments to pay. And then ask if they might be willing to lend you money. That’s it. All you have to do is ask. Some people will say “no,” and some people will say “yes” or “maybe.” Read More…

Loans from Friends & Family: How to Borrow (or Lend) Money without Hurting Your Relationships – Part 1 of 2

Volkova Law PLLC on October 3, 2014

By Elena Volkova, Esq. If you’re in business, I’m willing to bet that you want that business not only to do well, but to grow. And growing a business means that you’ll need to finance that growth. For most people, the easiest source of money is family and friends… And for most people, asking for money from family and friends is scary. We’ve all heard stories of relationships gone bad because somebody lent money to a relative and the relative never paid it back. This does happen sometimes. But it does not have to happen to you. What happens Read More…

Turning Your Business Over to the Next Generation: 10 Tips for Your Family Business

Elena Volkova on September 5, 2014

Passing the torch to the next generation can be one of the most emotional and difficult business deals you may ever take on. What makes a family business unique is also what makes these business transitions the hardest. Business owners are less likely to wear their ‘business hat’ and more likely to wear the hat of ‘dad’ or ‘aunt’, when family is involved. Which means sometimes, the business depends more on trust, care, and family dynamics than on solid legal structures. And that’s lovely, but if you don’t have the same legal structures in place that other businesses have, your Read More…

Legal Checklist for Expecting Parents

Volkova Law Group PLLC on August 21, 2014

Picking out names, books and tiny clothes in preparation for bringing a baby into your life is exciting and joyful. However, welcoming a new addition to your family can also be overwhelming and stressful. Not only do you have to think about the ways in which this new member of your family will affect your work, your income, your social life and your family dynamic, there are also very important financial and legal implications of child-rearing and parenting that need to be addressed. So as not to feel overwhelmed once your baby is here, we have set up a legal Read More…

Why Your Website’s Privacy Policy is More Important Than You Think

Sasha Herzig on August 7, 2014

If I were to ask you how many times in the last month you’ve used the internet to shop, research, or communicate, you might laugh and say, “Too many times to count!” Now, if I were to tell you that all those websites have collected data on you, would you be surprised? Most business owners who derive revenue from a company website wouldn’t be surprised. They know how important it is to collect certain data on the people who come to their website. Your list of current and prospective clients holds the greatest value in your business. And your collection Read More…

How a Well Drafted Client Service Agreement Can Help Your Business Grow

Elena Volkova on July 17, 2014

Are you a service professional looking to kick your revenue up a notch this year? Allow me to introduce to you a legal document that can help your growth… but that many entrepreneurs overlook during their first few years of business. That document is a well drafted service agreement. You may be thinking: But a service agreement comes after you and the client have already agreed to work together. So how can an agreement actually help your business grow? For starters, when a client sees an agreement that was carefully prepared, yet is easy to read and understand, she knows Read More…

Terms and Conditions: The Surprising Mistakes That Even Smart Entrepreneurs Make On Their Websites

Sasha Herzig on July 1, 2014

We’ve all done it. Without giving it a second thought. Maybe you’ve done it when buying goods or services, or simply entering a website. I’m talking about all the times we see a little check box on a website that says, “I have read and agreed to the Terms and Conditions,” and then we check that box without actually reading the Terms and Conditions. I’ve heard people say, “Those terms aren’t enforceable because no one reads them.” I’ve also heard, “All websites use the same terms and conditions.” Unfortunately, both of those statements are false. These terms ARE enforceable, and Read More…

Estate Planning For Your Long Term Care Needs: How a Financial Advisor Can Help

Volkova Law Group PLLC on June 24, 2014

Do you know how I spend a good deal of my time? I meet and talk to financial advisors. And not because I have millions of dollars to invest. I talk to them because we share a common goal: protecting the financial future of our clients. In addition to having a solid estate plan, it is absolutely essential that you have a financial planner on your advisory team. You will run into so many blind spots in financial planning if you try to do it yourself. It really does take years of training and experience to be able to advise Read More…

A Lesson from Fargo on Dividing Wealth & Power in Your Family Business

Elena Volkova on June 9, 2014

“And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper? And those three people [dead] in Brainerd. And for what? For a little bit of money. There’s more to life than a little money, you know.” These famous words are spoken by Marge Gunderson in the closing scene of Fargo, a 1996 film classic by the Coen Brothers. Fargo is the cautionary tale of succession planning gone wrong for one family business, in which an employee at a car dealership gets no respect from the owner, his father-in-law. Harboring ambitions beyond his sales job, the son-in-law proposes a new Read More…

Taking Care of Your Elders and How to Avoid Guardianship

Volkova Law Group PLLC on May 29, 2014

This last week has been a bit of whirlwind for me. I taught a continuing legal education class at Pace Law School, funded a trust, and tackled a complicated estate plan for a busy professional. Most importantly, I got appointed as a guardian to a mentally ill elderly person. This is a professional and personal milestone for me: I know I can do it, and I feel grateful that we live in a state that has decent safeguards in place to protect the interests of those who can’t make competent decisions for themselves. The system is by no means perfect. Read More…

Why Every Entrepreneur Should Have A Business Coach

Elena Volkova on May 8, 2014

Hi there! I’ve been wanting to share something with you for a while now, but I keep hesitating. It’s something that I say in private conversations with anyone who will listen. I just wasn’t sure how the message would be received if I broadcast it to all of our readers. But the truth is, I feel so strongly about this, that I believe I would be doing you a disservice if I did not say it. So, here it is… If you are starting a business by yourself, please get a business coach. You’re a professional and an expert at Read More…

What the New York Non-Profit Revitalization Act Means for Your Organization

Sasha Herzig on April 9, 2014

Have a non-profit? Then you’ve got some big changes coming up in just a few short months. (And you can’t afford to ignore these changes.) Effective July 1, 2014, the New York Non-Profit Revitalization Act will apply to New York non-profits, organizations that solicit charitable contributions in New York State (regardless of state of incorporation), and New York State charitable trusts. Governor Cuomo signed the Act in an effort to reduce outdated burdens on non-profits and to strengthen governance and accountability by streamlining the formation process, easing the burden of regulatory obligations, and simplifying corporate transaction standards. (To Read More…

Why Single & Divorced Parents Need an Estate Plan

Volkova Law Group PLLC on March 7, 2014

My 4-year-old son is trying to figure out who he wants to be when he grows up. Artist is currently at the top of his list – which is perfect for the tiny budding painter. In the meantime, he is also grappling with what Mommy does. I explained to him that as a lawyer I help people solve problems. And one problem I would prefer for my clients to never have is the problem of not having an estate plan, which includes… a Will a Health Care Proxy a Durable Power of Attorney a Living Will An estate plan is Read More…

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