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 Spring 2000

Rent Your Basement?
Paying Canada Pension
Seeking Legal Advice
Breaking Up

 When Should You Seek Legal Advice?

MANY SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS wait until they are knee-deep into a crisis before seeking legal assistance and this is when it will cost them the most. Here is a list of situations in the day-to-day life of the entrepreneur where a lawyer should be consulted:

  1. at start-up: most owner/managers need guidance on the exact structure that their venture should take, perhaps not realizing that it may very well change over time. At least iniitially, the typical options are sole proprietor ship, partnership or limited company and much the same advice will be secured by consulting either an accountant or a lawyer;
  2. as circumstances change: if the company’s owners bring on new partners or shareholders (or dissolve a relationship that has gone sour), a lawyer should be hired to review the paperwork. He or she should also be consulted over the terms of any partnership or shareholder agreements that are drawn up among existing owners;
  3. when facing financial woes: if the company develops money troubles that are so serious that an accountant cannot help, a good lawyer will outline what options may available. This could include advice concerning what should be done prior to filing for bankruptcy, how best to file and how to protect future interests. This advice could be secured at about the same time that a Trustee in Bankruptcy has been approached;
  4. when you are suing someone else: whether the company is attempting to collect an overdue debt or complaining about shoddy work from one of its suppliers, conversations with the parties involved, correspondence and informal negotiation should be attempted before legal action is initiated. But sometimes the other party simply refuses to "play ball" and legal action is necessary;
  5. when you are being sued: in these situations find out exactly what the other side is offering and determine if it might be better for all concerned if the matter was settled out of court. If, however, the offer is unacceptable, legal assistance is justified and necessary;
  6. when a contract, lease or any business agreement is beyond your expertise or involves significant risk: this might include transactions involving large sums of money, when the company’s survival is threatened should an agreement not work out as intended or when the language between the parties must be worded so that all are clear as to terms that have been agreed.

SPRING 2000 ARTICLES : Rent Your Basement? | Paying Canada Pension | Seeking Legal Advice | Breaking Up

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