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3 ways to reduce the risk of probate court in Louisiana

Creating a will or estate plan gives you control over the legacy you leave behind when you die. You may have specific wishes regarding who gets which assets from your estate. Sadly, no matter how carefully you plan, your wishes could always wind up subverted by a family member or heir who does not agree with the terms that you put in your will.

Louisiana law allows people to bring challenges against an estate if there are potential issues with it, such as lack of testamentary capacity at the time of the will's creation, undue influence of a third party or concerns about fraud. People can also bring challenges if a will is outdated or is full of mistakes.

5 mistakes you do not want in a business contract

Almost no business runs completely independently of anyone or anything else. Whether it be sales deals, vendor agreements, contractor terms or a real estate lease, a business frequently comes into contact with other entities. All of these points of contact need a written contract so each party knows what it will get, and what is expected of them.

Yet it’s easy for busy business owners to overlook this key step – even though a subpar contract can lead to significant challenges and unpleasant surprises down the line. So, with that in mind, here are five issues you want to avoid in a business contract.

Acquiring a business can be less risky than a startup

Some business entrepreneurs have a vision of what they want to create from the earliest and most basic of concepts. For them, the journey is well worth the time and struggles, and the dream is fulfilled with a successful enterprise. However, this can be a risky way to develop a business. For many Louisiana entrepreneurs, acquiring an existing business is a better and safer way to find success.

Despite all the rigors of planning, business analysts recognize that a primary reason for the failure of startups is the lack of a sustainable and scalable market for the product or service. This could be a reflection of insufficient market research or the result of some shift in the particular business between the beginning stages of development and actually getting to market. However, this problem is far less of a factor when an existing business is acquired.

How a nontraditional family may change estate planning

Many Louisiana families are different from the traditional model of a mother, a father and their children living in one house together. They are far more likely to include stepchildren or adopted children, an unmarried cohabiting couple, single parents or to differ in some other way. This has implications for estate planning.

For example, a person might inadvertently leave adopted children or stepchildren out of an estate plan. An unmarried partner might be shut out by a dead partner's family. Legal definitions could cause complications in which people not intended as beneficiaries are defined as such and vice versa. A trust may help address some of these potential issues, but traditional trusts may need to be altered as well.

Strategy is key when buying or selling a business in Louisiana

For many Louisiana business owners, creating a viable service or product and constructing it into a thriving enterprise is a life-long process. Eventually, however, the owner may want to move on. That could be to retire, start a different business or move in a new direction. When assessing options, having legal assistance with buying or selling a business is key.

There are many factors to consider with a business. The ideal time to sell a business depends on the owner's goals, economic factors and analysis for the future. The same holds true for buying a business. Since these issues can be complex, it's wise to be fully prepared long before the final decision has been made.

Walmart sues Tesla over solar panel fires

Media outlets in Louisiana and around the country ran stories in 2018 about a series of rooftop fires at Walmart stores. The fires have been blamed on faulty solar panels supplied and installed by Tesla, and Walmart has responded by filing a breach of contract lawsuit against the Palo Alto-based electric car manufacturer. The lawsuit accuses Tesla of systemic negligence and failing to adhere to generally accepted industry safety standards.

Walmart says that the faulty solar panels caused fires at seven of its stores, and the Arkansas-based retailer has asked Tesla to remove equipment at 240 of its other locations. Several of the fires were quite serious and caused millions of dollars of damage to real estate and merchandise. A fire at a California Walmart injured two firefighters and an employee. The fires prompted inspections at Walmart stores that allegedly revealed hazardous conditions including ungrounded electrical connections and dangerous wiring. Problems at 48 Walmart locations were considered so severe that they endangered shoppers according to court documents.

Childless couples can still benefit from estate planning

Financial concerns, fertility issues or other problems may keep individuals in Louisiana or anywhere else from having children. However, it is still generally a good idea for all adults to have an estate plan even if they don't have kids. It is also important to have a plan that accounts for the possibility that both spouses could pass at nearly the same time. It is considered a best practice to have a will as part of an estate plan.

A will gives a person greater control over where money or other assets go after he or she dies. For instance, property could be gifted to a charity, a school or a favorite relative through this document. Without a will, assets could pass to a spouse, parent or another family member even if that party wasn't the intended beneficiary. The use of beneficiary designations can also make it easier to control who gets money or other assets.

Best practices for those looking to buy or sell a company

In many cases, buying or selling a Louisiana business is an attempt for individuals to provide for themselves and their families. Those who are selling their companies are generally looking to lock in their profits and prepare for retirement or some other stage in their lives. Buyers are also looking to strengthen their long-term financial futures by purchasing an asset that can grow in value over a period of time.

Ideally, buyers will conduct as much due diligence as needed to ensure that they are spending their money wisely. Due diligence could include analyzing a company's tax returns or looking over other financial documents. It is also a good idea to take a closer look at how the company is structured to determine if it can be successful in the long-term. Business owners who are looking to sell their companies will need to organize their financial statements and tax records.

Including wills and trusts in an estate plan

Wills and trusts are both important types of estate documents that can help people in Louisiana to plan for the future and provide for their loved ones after they pass away. A full estate plan will often include a will as well as one or several trusts. While one of these documents may be the major backbone of the estate, both can play a major role in properly ensuring that a person's assets are distributed correctly. There are different reasons why people may choose to focus primarily on a will or on a trust to pass on funds and property.

Wills are public documents that go through the probate process. This means that they are open to the public and can be challenged in court. There may also be additional delays associated with probate, and court costs can sometimes eat up a significant chunk of the estate. On the other hand, wills can be simpler and easier for the person passing on an estate. When there are smaller sums involved and little conflict, the probate process may be largely routine.

Benefits of a limited liability company

You’ve reached the point where you’re able to start your own business. Now you must decide what type of business entity you should create. One option you have is to form a limited liability company, or LLC.

A limited liability company can be a great choice for small businesses. However, each business entity has its own benefits to take into consideration. Here are some benefits a LLC can offer:

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