Important Notes When Creating a Severance Package

Important Notes When Creating a Severance Package

On the topic of worker benefits, employers are understandably more interested in discussing the advantages of working for their company rather than the benefits provided when employment ends. However, a well-designed severance package can produce long-term gains for businesses in terms of retaining employees, boosting worker morale, and enhancing the company brand even through difficult economic times.  The following are some actions that will help ensure you a successful severance package to fulfill your needs and provide equitable treatment for your workers.

1. Plan as Far in Advance as You Can

Avoid waiting until layoffs are about to happen.  Proactive planning will give you more time to make sure your severance policies line up with overall company goals; enlist legal guidance; and convey your policy so that workers know what to anticipate if layoffs occur.

2. Assess the Benefits of Your Present Severance Package

Consider what your current package offers.  According to a recent survey, only about half of employers have formal severance policies. In general, companies stress employee morale and invest a great deal of time and energy in ensuring that worker spirits remain high. To aid in this effort, starting or enhancing a severance package will convey an upbeat message to the workforce and thus improve morale.

3. Identify Your Company’s Goals in Having a Severance Policy

What factors are important to your company regarding a severance package?  Do they involve employee welfare; worker retention for possible rehire; having an appealing package to attract top-notch talent; or limiting your liability?  Severance packages come in many forms, and your company’s policy should be in line with your expected returns.

4. Construct an Official Severance Package Document

Generate a formal severance policy agreement that aligns with your company’s goals.  Severance packages can vary for individual employees based on seniority, job description, or management rank, but it’s essential to plainly convey the specific requirements for each type of package and guarantee they can be easily understood.

5. Be Consistent in Applying Your Policy’s Conditions

After the policy is created, avoid deviating from its conditions.  Workers talk to others who are either leaving the company or staying on, and opinions about unfairness can detract from the policy’s positive impact, possibly even leading to litigation.

6. Clearly Convey Your Severance Package to Employees

Avoid keeping your severance package hidden away in a file cabinet or in an obscure company computer folder; instead, publicize and promote it. Include it in materials for new hires and make it accessible on your intranet system.  You may even advertise your severance policy as a benefit or a form of compensation that reflects the company’s appreciation for service and its readiness to support workers transitioning to other jobs.

If you’re interested in developing a new severance package or in enhancing your current version, get in touch with us at Bell & Shaw Law, LLC today for a free consultation. Our knowledgeable business attorneys can assist you in creating a severance package that addresses the needs of both you and your workers.

What to Consider Before Owning a Business with a Spouse

What to Consider Before Owning a Business with a Spouse

There are several things a successful marriage has in common with a successful business. Both take a lot of hard work paired with a commitment. Operating a business as a couple can have some challenges, but it can also be a great option in the right situation. If you can balance your personal and work lives, it could make both more rewarding.

Choosing the Right Business Entity

There are tons of family-owned businesses across the United States. About one and a half million businesses in the nation are run by married couples. You may already know how your skillsets work together, which can play into the right structure for a business.

If both people are going to be owners and take part in the management of the business, a corporation, limited liability company (LLC), or a partnership are all solid choices. One person can take on more of the work if that’s what works best for you as business owners and a couple.

Tax Implications of Owning a Business

S corporations, LLCs, partnerships, and sole proprietorships are all pass-through businesses. That means there is no corporate income tax. The profits pass through the owners to be taxed on an individual level. For joint-owned businesses, each of you pays your share on your normal tax return.

If one of you owns the business and the other works there, the owner handles the business taxes while the other pays income taxes on their salary. Co-owned businesses are considered partnerships unless they are a corporation. However, married couples with a joint business can file the taxes on separate forms.

Business Contracts

It’s important to have a contract in place even with a business between spouses. While you may trust the other person, you never know what may occur in the future. Having everything in writing protects each person moving forward. You should have an agreement that explains the management structure, process for adding new members, ownership percentage, indemnification, and process for leaving or ending the business.

In situations where one person is the owner and the other an employee, a contract should be in place about pay and benefits, job duties, dispute resolution processes, and other employment terms.

The initial stages of opening a business with a partner can be uncomfortable as you are treating a spouse as a business partner. However, the right written rules are put in place to show that each of you is serious about the business. Contact the lawyers at Bell & Shah to assist with the contracts to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Using an Attorney to Set Up Your Small Business

Using an Attorney to Set Up Your Small Business

When you are starting up a small business, you have a lot on your plate. You want things to be as smooth and simple as possible, but we all know that things don’t always work out this way. Issues often arise, and you need to make sure you are handling them the right way. If those problems stem from your product or your messaging, you can probably handle them… but they might involve matters best left to an attorney.

There are countless benefits of using an attorney to help set up your small business. Let’s look at some of the best reasons to work with these lawyers below.

Help Choosing the Right Business Structure

This is one of the most important early steps when you are setting up your business. if you don’t structure properly from the start, it could cause problems for you later. For example, you might be exposed to more liability if you aren’t an LLC. You might not fully understand the tax implications of the different structure options. An attorney can help you with this.

Contract Creation and Review

Even small businesses will be dealing with all manner of contracts and agreements. It might be rental agreements, employee contracts, freelancer contracts, etc. Regardless, you will find that having an attorney go over these agreements and contracts before you sign them or give them to people to sign is essential. It can help to keep you from making a costly mistake.

Reduce the Risk of Lawsuits

Working with an attorney will ensure that your business is legal and that you are following the state and federal employment laws. This will reduce the chance of you making mistakes that could land you in hot legal water.

Protection of Intellectual Property

You need to be sure all of your intellectual property is protected. This includes things like original works, logos, inventions, product designs, etc. Your attorney can ensure you have all of the proper paperwork filed for copyright, trademark, patent, etc. It’s best to do this as soon as possible.

Get in Touch with an Attorney

As you can see, there are some great advantages to using an attorney when you are setting up your small business. Keep in mind that you don’t need to hire a full-time attorney for your business at this stage. Instead, you can simply employ the services of the attorneys at Bell & Shah, when you need them. Contact Bell & Shah today to see how we can help your business with.

How Do Businesses Change Hands After the Death of a Loved One?

How Do Businesses Change Hands After the Death of a Loved One?

Although nobody likes to think about their mortality, it’s important that they do. They have to think about those who are left behind, and this is particularly true when they are the owner of a business.

You Need a Succession Plan

How does it change hands after you pass away? Does it just fade away and no longer exist? Typically, it will end up going to your estate. However, it can depend on how your succession plan was created—or if you had a plan in place. In cases of a family business, it will likely go to whoever you named in your estate. The family member you name should be someone you feel is qualified enough to run the business.

Who this person is might change over time, which means you may need to update the plan when it’s called for. If you haven’t properly prepared a succession plan or updated it, the business may not go to the person you want it to.

What Happens to the business

When a business goes to the estate after you die, your executor will divide the assets according to your wishes. If the estate plan doesn’t address the business, though, it is going to end up creating some confusion, and you can be sure a lot of questions will arise.When a business goes to the estate after you die, your executor will divide the assets according to your wishes. If the estate plan doesn’t address the business, though, it is going to end up creating some confusion, and you can be sure a lot of questions will arise.

One of the options is to set up a trust, which can be overseen by a board of trustees. They can take care of the business until the children are old enough. Of course, you may want your kids to benefit from the business, but you may not feel as though they should operate the company, even if they are 18 or over.

If you have children who are under 18, they may be able to inherit and own the business. However, because of their age, they will not be able to handle certain business activities, such as signing contracts. When creating a succession plan, if you have minor children, you will also have to plan for the day-to-day operations of the company.

Talk with the attornies at Bell & Shah. We Can help get your estate plan in order, and to ensure you are setting your business up for success after you have passed away. Whether you are going to give the business to your children, a spouse, or someone else, take care of the legalities before it’s too late.

Considerations to Make for Investing During the Pandemic Era

Considerations to Make for Investing During the Pandemic Era

The pandemic era has forced most of us to analyze how we approach almost every routine in our lives. No area has been spared – from how we consume, participate in social situations, visit family and friends, even to how we work.

Changes in how we consume directly affect other areas, such as the supply chain, pricing, and – most importantly for shareholders and stock owners – how we invest our money.

The Long and Short of Things

Anyone who’s paid attention to the news for the last two years has almost certainly noticed the impact Covid has made on current stock market trends. Initially, a volatile and unpredictable market destroyed many businesses, taking many misfortunate investors’ portfolios with them.

However, as the world became accustomed to lockdowns and social distancing, clear leaders remained in the form of organizations that were able to adapt. Companies that could restructure their entire business plan and become efficient in operating and providing on a remote basis emerged victoriously.

While this allowed some to recoup and, in some cases, even thrive, an unpredictable global economy must still be approached with caution. But what about long-term investments?

Long-Term Strategies

Global catastrophes and historical events have a tendency to shape the way we approach spending and investing. The Covid pandemic has not altered this trend and, in some ways, has put an exclamation point on these shifts more than any other time in history.

Long-term investors must be acutely aware of these types of shifts or run the risk of losing their nest eggs and the portfolios they’ve worked so hard to construct. The most effective strategy is to put short-term market changes under the microscope and separate the pretenders from the contenders to make efficient predictions for the future.

Consider the following when pressing forward with your investment decisions.

Market Changes

When developing your strategy, pay attention to things that have changed with authority. Industries that have had their entire landscape completely transformed look to be the most solid picks for a long-term win:

  • The medical industry has made huge changes to the way people receive healthcare. Betting big on things such as telehealth could prove to be a smart move.
  • Organizations that allow bending for remote work (cybersecurity, sales, marketing, cloud-based, and etc.) should continue to gain momentum.
  • Any company that allows online retail consumption with either direct or third-party delivery (online grocery, Wal-Mart, Amazon) will be safe for your long-term strategy.

While some companies made temporary changes that made them pretenders, others restructured their entire gameplan to hold on for the long haul. Learning how to discern between these two will be the difference between victory and defeat for your long-term portfolio.

The experienced lawyers here at Bell Shah Law are available when you have any type of legal business need. We will put our experience to work for you and ensure you and your employees are properly represented.

Common Business Transactions Where an Attorney Can Help

Common Business Transactions Where an Attorney Can Help

It doesn’t matter if you own a large multinational business or a small, local business in Chicago. At some point, you are going to need to have the services of an attorney to help you to better protect your business interests. After all, the act of being in business carries with it a certain amount of risk. Having an attorney can help to mitigate the risk and improve your business growth.

Attorneys can help with some of the common types of business transactions that take place in your company. Below are some of the main areas where you could benefit from using a good attorney.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Many companies, particularly those that are looking to grow, will want to merge with or acquire other companies along the way. This can be a complex and difficult process. However, it doesn’t have to be when you work with an attorney that can help with all areas of sales and purchases. A good attorney can help to set up business entities, as well. Of course, there are other areas in business when working with an attorney that can help your company.

Employment Contracts

If you have a business, you likely have employees unless you are doing it all on your own. When you have employees, you need to be sure that you are bringing them onboard correctly, and that you have good, legally binding employment contracts. Attorneys can help to set these up for you.

Non-compete Agreements

You might also need non-compete agreements. These are used to ensure that your employee will not use the information they learned when they were employed with you to start a rival business and compete with you when their employment ends.


If you are a landlord or you lease buildings to other businesses, having an attorney that can handle the leases and contracts is important. Even if you are leasing a building for your company, it’s good to have an attorney look over the lease before you sign. It ensures you understand the lease and that you don’t get into a bad lease that could come back to haunt you later.

These are just some of the types of business activities and transactions when working with the attorneys at Bell & Shah, LLC, that will be beneficial. When you take the time to choose a highly qualified, reputable business attorney, you will find that they can handle these issues, as well as all of the other things you need. Contact us today to get started!

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