As we wave goodbye to 2005 and charge into 2006, it is time to get your house in order. This is particularly true for the legal issues in your life.
As drab as it may seem, legal planning can help you avoid disasters in your life. With the turn of the calendar, now is the time to give your life and business some thought.
On the family front, you should be thinking about changes you experienced in 2005 and if any of them require you to take some steps. If you got married, you need to jump through a few loopholes related to changing names, addresses with relevant companies and so on. If you had a new family addition, have you give consideration to updating your will or family trust? On a less enjoyable subject, are there any steps you need to make with parents who are growing older. Elder abuse, particularly financially, can be a problem and you may want to provide assistance to elder parents so they aren’t taken advantage of.
On the business front, now is the time to take a step back and reflect upon how things are going. Did you meet your goals in 2005? If you didn’t, how do you plan to make 2006 a better year? In making this determination, you need to be honest with yourself and make sure you evaluate your week points. From a legal perspective, are all of your relevant business documents up to date? Have annual minutes been filed for your corporation or LLC?
A particular area where businesses fail to follow up are changes in contracts. When entering a contract, both parties tend to see great success in the future. Inevitably, they discover the agreement needs to be tweaked to allow for circumstances and so on. When this occurs, the parties will often reach an oral agreement or just shake hands on it. Such agreements are not binding on the parties. If a dispute occurs, the business relationship will be evaluated using the original agreement. That can lead to a nightmare of circumstances. If you’ve tweaked an agreement with another party, now is the time to get such an amendment in writing!
April 15th sounds a long way off, but it will come faster than you can imagine. Yep, I’m talking about taxes. Do you feel you pay too much in taxes? Of course you do. This is a god given right of every American. Well, now is the time to do something about it. You should contact your CPA and do some tax planning for 2006. Saving taxes often comes down to how you collect revenues and distribute them. Slight changes can save you tens of thousands of dollars, but you must implement them early in the calendar year.
As the calendar flipped to 2006, you undoubtedly made a resolution to do something. Getting your legal house in order probably wasn’t what you had in mind, but it is something you should do!
Richard A. Chapo is a San Diego business lawyer with San Diego Business Law Firm providing legal services and legal advice for businesses. Visit SanDiegoBusinessLawFirm.com to read business law articles.