child with sparkler and lighter

Andy Taylor’s seven-year-old son, Opie, discovers the fireworks that his father had purchased for Independence Day. He begins shooting them in a field behind their house. But Opie fails to extinguish one of the matches, which sets fire to the arid grass. Opie attempts to stomp it out but is unsuccessful. Terrified, he flees. The blaze continues to grow, spreading across the field to a nearby lumber yard. The fire consumes—and destroys—the lumber yard. Its owner looks to hold someone responsible, but is keenly aware that little boys lack the assets necessary to satisfy any judgment rendered against them. So the lumber yard’s owner considers suing Andy instead. Is Andy liable for his son’s negligence?
Continue Reading Blame the Parents: Liability for Children’s Torts

Female legs with 2 arrows and question mark, painted on the asphalt.On Father’s Day, Morgan Bux celebrated with her dad Big Daddy Bux and asked him to team up with her to buy the fast-growing Green Earth Air Conditioning and Heating, LLC in Buda from the Green Earth retiring owner Gaia. Morgan suggested to Big Daddy that he invest her inheritance in Green Earth and work with her to grow the business as part of his own retirement and estate planning. Big Daddy’s tax and estate planning lawyers outlined a plan. Morgan’s business consultant recommended the formation of a Green Earth advisory team to support her after the purchase and developed a long-term plan for management growth and business expansion. To complete the purchase, should Morgan buy the assets or Gaia’s membership interest in the Green Earth limited liability company? Often buyers would rather purchase the company’s asset while sellers prefer to sell the stock / membership interest in the entire company. Why is that? What would Morgan and Big Daddy prefer?
Continue Reading Buying Daughter a Business – Assets or Stock?

Yellow metal sign.Angelica Bux and her son Duke own a fast-growing, family business Blue Skies Air Conditioning and Heating, LLC in Cotulla Texas. Angelica plans to retire by selling Blue Skies to Duke to fund her retirement.  Their business consultant developed their near-term plan to expand and maximize their business’ value. More recently, their tax and estate planning lawyers outlined an effective tax transition plan and the formation of a Blue Skies’ advisory team to support Duke’s management after the sale. To complete the purchase, should Duke buy the assets or Angelica’s membership interest in the Blue Skies’ limited liability company? Often buyers prefer to purchase the company’s assets, and sellers would rather sell the entire company. Why is that? Does an inter-family sale affect their decision?
Continue Reading Selling Mom’s Business – Asset or Stock Sale?

Great concept of divorce in quarantine due to the 2019 coronavirus pandemic. Face mask cut in half with wedding rings.Jack Bux and his high school sweetheart, Diane, have been married a few years, but the pandemic has taken its toll on their relationship, and they could soon be parting ways. Going into the marriage, Jack had a number of property interests – a home with a mortgage, a retirement account and a small part of the family business – and now he’s concerned that Diane will be able to walk away with half of what he’s been building over the years. Like most Texans, Jack is aware that when it comes to marital property, Texas is a “community property state.” What does this really mean for Jack’s home, retirement account and business?
Continue Reading Texas Community Property Law: An Intro for Business Owners

Welcome to Texas State Sign

Last month we focused on the legal considerations for moving your company to Texas. This month our focus is on your personal checklist – legal issues affecting you personally that will need your attention this year.

But first, a quick note about immigration. Together with his kind comments about our last Moving to Texas? article, my good friend and erstwhile immigration attorney Rick Gump urged me to remind both the company management and their employees to ensure that, when moving to Texas, legacy employees are treated as new employees for I-9 verification purposes. He advises that it is important to clean up the company files and take care of company employees by cleaning up their files as they might become subject to an I-9 audit.

After you settle in to your new Texas home and while you are unpacking, it’s time to make your own personal checklists. You might start with these.
Continue Reading Moving to Texas? Your Personal Checklist for your Move to the Lone Star State

Ernest “Big Daddy” Bux’s great Auntie Heidi Loper moved to a retirement community when her husband Sam retired years go. A short time later, Sam died. Over the years Heidi’s handyman Don Meetdirts and his wife Ada befriended Heidi. They persuaded her to leave them millions of dollars in cash and other items. Prior Wills would have left Heidi’s property to her family of whom she was very proud – both of the Bux family name and of the assets she and Sam had acquired. When the Wills were changed, Heidi had failing eyesight, deteriorating health and a delicate mental condition. When Big Daddy and the Bux family learned at Auntie Loper’s death that the Meetdirts were the only beneficiaries under the last Will, they asked their favorite attorney if they have a claim of undue influence to deny the Meetdirts any inheritance. Do they?
Continue Reading Grandma Left the Money to Whom? Legal Options for Undue Influence and Changing of Wills

an elderly person has mental problems. The President of First Bank of Buxboro Ernest “Big Daddy” Bux is growing older, and he’s showing it. Despite tightening bank regulations on lending and credit documentation, Big Daddy seems to be getting even more lax. Moreover, just last week – during important loan renewal negotiations with the Bank’s largest customer – Big Daddy could not remember the name of the company or the name of its principal. Do the directors of First State Bank owe any legal responsibility to the FDIC as the insurer? Do the Bank directors have any legal responsibilities to the Bank?  What about Big Daddy, personally, does he have rights?
Continue Reading Can your Company be Protected from the Risk of an “Unfit to Work” Partner?

Years ago, Quicey Morris’s father bought the family ranch near Amarillo from Jonathan and Mina Harker. Having not heard from either until last week, Quicey was surprised when Mina showed up with a small urn and an unusual request. Mina explained that Jonathan’s last wish was for his ashes to be buried at the tree he planted on the ranch- his happiest years were spent there. Are private cemeteries legal in Texas? How would an urn affect Morris and his family ranch?
Continue Reading Dying to Get In: Cemeteries on Private Property

Struggling these last several months with the family dynamics and dilemmas of transitioning his family business to the next generation, Big Daddy Ernest Bux, 65, now turns to ordinary, practical considerations. What are Big Daddy’s businesses worth, and do they have sufficient value/cash flow to accomplish his plans? Will Big Daddy’s estate planning cover the estate taxes and transfer estate assets consistent with his plans and goals?

Continue Reading Family Matters: Can a Family Business Succeed Without Maximum Valuation and Sound Estate Planning?

Continuing to deliberate about when and how to exit from his family business, Big Daddy Ernest Bux, 65, considers yet another task on his checklist: Determine Exit Strategy. He’s already Identified Successors and Decision Makers, and Planned for Contingencies. Yet to be tackled are Establish Goals, Plan Entity Structure and Transfer, Complete Estate Planning, and Implement Document Maintenance and Control. Asking his banker last week about a new loan to expand his business, Big Daddy learned that his banker cannot give him a business loan without seeing a complete exit plan. How is an exit strategy different from last month’s thoughts on identifying successors?
Continue Reading Family Matters: Can a Family Business Succeed Without a Written Exit Plan?