Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Business Owner FAQs

Q: I am a sole proprietor and I have liability insurance coverage, why do I need to worry about incorporating or organizing a company?

Liability insurance coverage is certainly an important part of protecting yourself and your business; however, your protection only extends as far as the coverage limits on your policy. If any claim exceeds your coverage limits and you are operating your business only as a sole proprietorship, your personal assets can be exposed … [Read More]

Q: I own five residential rental properties. Should I set up just one limited liability company to own these properties?

You should certainly have the real property titled in a company to avoid any personal liability issues. It is a good idea to have the real property owned by a separate company from your existing company. Setting up a new company to own the real property will insulate the interest in the building from any claims arising from … [Read More]

Q: My company is expanding and we are buying a building to move into. Since I am already incorporated, should I just have my existing corporation own the building?

You should certainly have the real property titled in a company to avoid any personal liability issues. It is a good idea to have the real property owned by a separate company from your existing company. Setting up a new company to own the real property will insulate the interest in the building from any claims arising from … [Read More]

Q: My co-shareholder and I are concerned about what happens to our interest in the company if one of us should die unexpectedly. Anything we can do?

You can have a Shareholder (or Buy-Sell) Agreement prepared that will address what happens to your shares in the company if you die unexpectedly. Generally, these Agreements will provide for the deceased shareholder's shares to be redeemed by the company or purchased by the other surviving shareholders, thus keeping the shares … [Read More]

Q: Can you tell me some things to avoid when firing an employee?

A: You can fire anyone at any time for any reason or no reason. This is what employment-at-will is all about. Most employers, however, try to take the easiest course. And usually, that is no action – avoidance. They hope things will improve. If things do not improve, here are five things to keep in mind … [Read More]

Q: What are my rights as an employer when I fire an employee and deal with his/her final pay?

When an employee is fired or unexpectedly quits, many managers and owners let their emotions get the best of them and take their frustrations out on the employee who was fired/quit by deducting as much as they can from his/her final paycheck. Handling a situation in this manner can be very risky, and the following information … [Read More]

Q: We have an employee who is requesting leave as an accommodation for a disability. Do I have to grant this leave?

The purpose of the ADA's reasonable accommodation rule is to require employers to change the way things are done so employee with disability can work. Leave as a reasonable accommodation is consistent with this purpose. This is to allow an employee to return to work following the leave period. An employer must consider … [Read More]

Q: How long are commercial lease terms?

Most landlords would like to lock you into long-term leases with periodic escalations in rent — but how you structure your lease might have a lot to do with how long you have been in business or whether you are just starting out. You might want a shorter initial term and several renewal options. You might need to anticipate … [Read More]

Q: What Is a Triple Net Lease?

Many landlords like to have tenants sign a "triple net lease" — meaning that the tenant, not the landlord, pays for the real property taxes, the insurance and the maintenance of the property as well as the common areas shared by other tenants. There are many pitfalls in negotiating triple net leases — like what your share of … [Read More]

Q: Can I get out of my commercial lease before it expires?

That depends on the facts surrounding your lease as well as the lease itself. What is important to understand is whether you have signed a "personal guaranty" for the payment of the lease. If you have, and you break your lease, your landlord may be able to sue your personally for the performance of the lease — including all … [Read More]

Q: What is Ransomware and should I be afraid of it?

Ransomware is used by cybercriminal to require payment from a practice by demanding quick and direct payment to release information that has been encrypted. Ransomware attacks have quadruped this year, averaging 4,000 per day, according to the Justice Department. HHS has put out a "Fact Sheet" on "Ransomware and HIPAA" which … [Read More]

Intellectual Property FAQs

Q: Do I have to register my trademark?

No. Using a trademark in commerce will establish some trademark rights, but registering a trademark on the USPTO's Principal Register gives you important benefits. … [Read More]

Q: Can I get a refund if my trademark doesn't get registered?

No. The USPTO does not issue refunds when a trademark application is refused, so research and evaluate a potential trademark before applying for registration. … [Read More]

Q: What about state trademark registration?

If you don't plan to use your trademark outside your state, consider registering on the state level. With a state registration, you can stop others from using the trademark within your state only. Costs vary state to state, so consult with a local trademark attorney to determine whether a state registration is best for … [Read More]