Brooks, Tarulis & Tibble Blog

Latest from Brooks, Tarulis & Tibble Blog

A Special Needs Trust can be established for a person with disabilities from birth, afflicted during their lives or resulting from an injury, in order to provide for their supplemental needs without forfeiting benefits provided by Social Security, Medicaid or other sources that may be need based. The disabled person can receive gifts, inheritances and personal injury settlements into a trust without loss of entitlement to other benefits. The funds must come from third parties and be subject to the control of a trustee capable of properly investing the funds and administering the trust for the benefit of the disabled…
As business returns from a closed or remote environment the big question employers have is can you ask your employees if they are vaccinated for COVID-19? While the short answer is yes, as always there is more to it, including: Did your business opt to require vaccines, and if so, for all or for which types of employees? Did you tell employees your requirements about vaccination? You may obtain a copy of affected employees vaccine card, but do not ask more. Keep all information obtained confidential. You may be required to provide time-off for vaccinations or to recover from any side…
Even after a resolution of the Covid-19 pandemic, your business will probably not return to its pre-Covid-19 normal, especially since your business may have accommodated or adjusted to a remote work force.  This decentralization means you may have to devote more time and resources in protecting your business’ intellectual, confidential and proprietary property and information.  In order to enhance your protection, your business should: Build and maintain strong and secure IT and communication systems that include your employees’ remote locations. Educate, instruct and empower employees to identify and report threats, avoid unsecure situations and be protective of your business property.…
The death, disability and isolation caused by COVID-19 highlighted the need for parents and children to assess whether they have appropriate authority to care for the other’s  financial and other needs if one is suffering from a medical disability or following their death. As parents age they often need financial and legal protection and advice, and want the comfort of knowing that their affairs are in order on their death. Parents need to clearly convey their wishes regarding their care and their estate, especially if there are children with special needs. Your family’s lawyer should be able to address your…
Once a business owner decides to liquidate his or her business for financial or other reasons, there are choices to be made as to the method of liquidation, including supervised liquidations: bankruptcy (Chapter 7), an assignment for the benefit of creditors (ABC) or a receivership, and self-managed liquidations: ranging from asset or business sales to mere abandonment. Supervised liquidations transfer the responsibility for the liquidation to a third party leaving the owner without control, while a self-managed liquidation allows the owner to control the liquidation as much as possible but retaining responsibility.  Each has its own risks and benefits, including:…
As parents grow older and perhaps lose a spouse, children, other family members or even friends are often called on to help with financial and other decisions.  In more drastic instances a legal guardian may have to be appointed by a Court, often causing unneeded expense and family stress. Just adding another person on an elderly person’s accounts or property titles puts the elderly person’s estate at risk of loss, even by an honest and well-intentioned helper, and risks lawsuits about her intentions after her death.  A better alternative is to have a Power of Attorney for Property and other…
In these financially troubled times many owners are confronted with the dire choice of saving their businesses or their personal assets. Saving a business can include a reorganization. Your business can reorganize with a bankruptcy (Chapter 11) or a creditor workout. In deciding how to reorganize your business, you should consider the differences between a Chapter 11 bankruptcy and a creditor workout, including: Timing. A workout can be faster as a bankruptcy has many notice and timing requirements. Scope. While a bankruptcy involves all creditors, a workout need only involve those parties necessary to reorganize your business. Cost. Workout costs are…
One of the greatest threats to your business’ electronic data is not closing the door when offboarding employees, contractors or third parties. Not terminating their access may expose your business to hacking, phishing, ransom attacks and other cyber threats. Your offboarding process should include HR and IT, and should be routinized and documented, including: Creating and maintaining an inventory of the party’s digital life, including company and personal devices, accounts, access, administrative permissions, licenses and responsibilities. Setting a deadline for terminating all access, taking into account time or access needed to finish up or transfer work. Auditing for former employees’…
While operating your business as a corporation or other authorized business entity provides owners, officers, directors, and employees with limited liability protection, once the business is suffering from financial distress or becomes insolvent, that protection is in jeopardy, and business owners need to act with caution to preserve that protection. Some steps to protect your distressed businesses’ limited liability include: Ensuring that all representations are truthful and not misleading. Conducting regular and appropriate meetings to ensure that directors, officers, and managers are aware of the business situation. Retaining counsel to advise not only the business, but its officers and directors…
The start of the new year it is a great time to check your employment practices, policies and procedures, and some to look at include: Reassess your operating during COVID plan to see if it is up to date. Consider whether to require employee COVID-19 vaccination. Make sure anti-harassment training is on your calendar or completed. Evaluate D&I initiatives and update EEO policies. Be aware of minimum wage salary increases. Re-consider classification of independent contractors. Monitor use of biometrics. Update sick and family leave policies. Determine if the fluctuating workweek method is right for your workplace. Update processes to comply…
When confronted with overwhelming financial difficulties, owners often consider whether it is better to reorganize or liquidate their business. In making that decision, owners have many factors to consider, including: Nature of the Economy. Is there a place for your business in the current or future economy? Nature of the Business. Is there still a market for the business’ products and services, and does it still have profitable employees and customers? Assets. What assets does your business have and how can they be utilized or their value maximized? Liabilities. What liabilities can be shed or reduced, if any, to enable…
It is with great sadness that we report our dear friend and partner David Wentz passed away suddenly on January 4, 2021. His passing is not only devastating to his wife Tonya and their three children, but a tremendous loss to our entire community. His tireless and enthusiastic involvement with many community groups and charities will be missed, as well as the numerous charitable, service and community events he initiated. David’s commitment to his clients and his dedication to our firm and the practice of law will be greatly missed. While no one can replace David, our firm will continue…
The value of many businesses is often dependent on its employees. Retaining good employees, particularly key employees, is important to a business, as is avoiding the substantial time and cost commitment required to recruit and hire replacement employees. Some of the factors that enable you to keep top employees include: Compensation. Be competitive and consistent with the employees’ value to your business. Benefits. Packages should be updated frequently to meet employee needs and the market. Technology. Provide employees with the best technology to enhance their performance. Mobility. Acknowledge and accommodate mobility and working at home. Policies. Periodically review to align…
For aging baby boomers there are a plethora of living options from senior communities to assisted care facilities to skilled nursing homes. Each has its own benefits, costs and amenities, and are all subject to a written contract. As the services and purposes of each vary, so do their contracts, such that analysis and comparison can be difficult. While each community has its counselors (salespersons) to promote their facilities, potential residents and their families should have their own independent counsel to advise and guide them, particularly as these facilities require a substantial and sometimes lifetime financial commitment. Your attorney and…
The COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden increase of the number of employees working at home puts even more pressure on your business to protect its proprietary, confidential and trade secret information. Some concerns you should address to protect confidential information include: • Discuss at-home security of your business information with your employees. • Limit what can be printed or downloaded and ensure safe disposal. • Have your employees keep business conversations confidential. • Have employees use only business equipment, not their personal/family devices. • Have employees use only secure networks (your VPN). • Educate at-home employees to identify, avoid and…
Whether the property damaged is personal or business related, you could lose insurance coverage or protection by failing to give timely or proper notice of the claim. Some issues to consider in submitting your claim to your insurance carrier include: Contact your carrier or broker quickly as notice periods may be short. Follow all notice of claim procedures exactly as required. Retain proof of the receipt of your claim and copies of all documents submitted. If coverage or claim procedures are on a website, take screen shots. Preserve all policies and documents relating to your insurance and the claim. Preserve…