The Blog of Hoover Penrod PLC, Attorneys at Law

Serving Harrisonburg, Staunton, Winchester and Nearby Areas of Virginia

Posted Date: Mon, 09/11/2017

business agreement - Harrisonburg business law attorneyIf you are entering into a business venture with multiple people – regardless of whether it is a general partnership, a limited liability company (LLC), a corporation, or another type of entity -- it's important that you have a written, organizational agreement in place that clearly outlines the rights and obligations of each person involved. The agreement should address potential issues and disagreements that may arise down the road and help set the expectations of those involved. A well-crafted agreement will help to ensure that everyone’s expectations are met, minimize the risk of disputes and set your new business on a successful path.

Ideally, you should create your organizational agreement at the time you establish your new business. This will help to ensure that all of the parties involved share a common vision and set of expectations for the business as you embark on your new venture. Organizational agreements are like preventative maintenance on your car. The cost of preventing a dispute by preparing a thoughtful organizational agreement is often minuscule compared to the cost of resolving a dispute that arises where no agreement exists, or where the existing agreement is poorly drafted.

When it comes to organizational agreements, one size does not fit all and it's important to work with an experienced business law attorney who can guide you through the process, make sure important items are addressed and that the agreement meets the specific needs of each of the parties involved.

Some of the important issues that should be covered in your organizational agreement include:

  • Each owner’s individual investment amounts - This may not always be a monetary investment. It may also include the value of labor, the value of providing the building or other real estate used by the business, as well as the value of any equipment required to run the business.
     
  • Division of labor –Will owners take on management duties for the new business, and if so which owners? Determining the role each owner will play in the business is crucial to setting your venture up for success, and it will help reduce the risk of future disputes.
     
  • Profit sharing - Every owner will expect to eventually make a profit once the business has become successful. Your organizational agreement should outline how profits will be distributed among the owners, and whether a percentage of these profits will be reinvested into the business. Your agreement should also spell out whether managing owners receive a salary.
     
  • Financial management - Your agreement should address how financial decisions are to be made and whether special rules should apply to certain financial decisions such as real estate transactions.
     
  • Rules for managing decisions-The terms by which decisions are made is a crucial item to be covered in your organizational agreement, and it can significantly impact the success of your business should a dispute arise.If all of the owners understand and accept the rules for how decisions are made, the likelihood of a costly dispute over business decisions is significantly reduced.
     
  • How to deal with changes to the business ownership - At some point in the future, one of the owners may decide to move on and want to leave the business. Your business may also grow and evolve over time, requiring the addition of new parties. Your organizational agreement should outline how these situations will be handled. This may include the buy-out process for an owner who leaves as well as any potential buy-in required of a new owner.

The business law attorneys at Hoover Penrod have decades of experience crafting organizational agreements for businesses in the Harrisonburg area and throughout the Shenandoah Valley. Our lawyers will help you and your co-owners spot the important issues, suggest ways to deal with those issues, and ensure your final agreement protects each owner’s rights while setting your new business up for long term success.

Please contact Hoover Penrod using the form on this page or call 540-406-4060 today to schedule a consultation with one of our business law attorneys. We serve clients in Harrisonburg, Staunton, Winchester and the surrounding areas of Virginia.

Posted Date: Mon, 07/31/2017

Harrisonburg business law attorneysStarting a small business can be a challenging endeavor. There are many issues you’ll need to deal with during this process in order to get your business up and running. While factors such as hiring the right employees, developing your product or setting up the right business model may occupy most of your attention, it’s important to stay on top of the legal hurdles that can often bring down a small business.

It’s always a good idea to work with an experienced business law attorney when setting up your business in order to ensure that these important issues are addressed properly up front. Regardless of whether you seek legal help, it’s important to carefully address the following 4 legal issues to prevent costly lawsuits and other problems down the road that can potentially sink your business.

  1. Choosing the proper legal structure for your business

    Selecting the right legal structure for your business is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a business owner. The legal structure you choose can impact the amount of money you’re required to pay in taxes, the extent of your personal liability in the event of a lawsuit, and many other important matters.

    There are several different options to choose from, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, S corporations, and C corporations. The experienced business law attorneys at Hoover Penrod can explain the benefits and drawbacks of each option and help you determine the right structure for your business based on your unique needs.
     

  2. Navigating intellectual property and copyright laws

    It’s important to protect your intellectual property so that it’s not stolen by competitors. You can do this by patenting technology used in your product, trademarking your business name and logo, and copyrighting the use of certain phrases which may be crucial to your branding.

    Similarly, you must be aware of the patents and trademarks already existing for the technology you are using and marketing. If you infringe on a patent or trademark previously established by a competitor, you may face a lawsuit that can potentially ruin your business.

    The attorneys at Hoover Penrod can help you research existing patents and trademarks to ensure your business won’t face a patent lawsuit down the road. We can also help you navigate the process of patenting and trademarking your own intellectual property so that other companies can’t steal it from you.
     

  3. Employee law issues

    There are certain issues you’ll need to be aware of when hiring employees for your small business. These include:
     

    1. Correctly determining whether someone is considered an employee or an independent contractor – this distinction impacts whether you need to adhere to minimum wage and overtime laws for an employee, and it also affects whether you must withhold income, Social Security and Medicare taxes for this employee.
       
    2. Knowing whether an employee is covered under the overtime laws set forth by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or is considered exempt from these laws – failure to correctly follow these laws can potentially make you vulnerable to a costly wage and hours lawsuit down the road.
       
    3. Establishing clear and fair human resource policies at your company and hiring a human resources professional to ensure these policies are properly enforced – failure to address this issue can potentially make you vulnerable to harassment and discrimination lawsuits, as well as other employment litigation from disgruntled employees.
       
    4. Carefully documenting the reasons for firing a poorly performing employee in order to avoid a potential wrongful termination lawsuit.
       
    5. Having your employees sign nondisclosure and non-compete agreements, when appropriate, in order to safeguard business information that you want to keep secret and to prevent employees from taking your ideas and secrets to a competitor or from stealing clients after leaving your company.
       
  4. Adhering to business tax laws

    Your business will be subject to certain tax laws based on the legal structure you choose. These tax laws can be very complicated, and it’s important to work with an experienced business accountant or a business law attorney who can help ensure you file your taxes properly and keep all necessary records for documentation in the event of an audit. At Hoover Penrod, we can help you navigate these complex tax laws to ensure you are doing everything properly.

These are just a few of the legal hurdles you may face as a small business owner. There are many other issues that can arise and potentially impact the success of your business. The business law attorneys at Hoover Penrod can provide you with the guidance and legal assistance necessary to ensure you handle all of these issues properly as they arise.

Please contact Hoover Penrod using the form on this page or call 540-406-4060 today to schedule a consultation. We serve clients in Harrisonburg, Staunton, Winchester and the surrounding areas of Virginia.

Posted Date: Fri, 07/07/2017

Harrisonburg divorce lawyerWhen a marriage comes to an end, the best possible scenario is an amicable divorce. When everyone can agree on the terms of separation, property and asset division, child custody, and other issues pertinent to divorce, it may seem unnecessary to hire legal counsel. However, divorce in Virginia is often much more complicated than initial appearances would indicate – and without experienced and tempered legal advice, you may find yourself in an unpreferable situation, even when that was no one's’ intention.

The Harrisonburg family law attorneys at Hoover Penrod, PLC understand the complexities of divorce. We also understand the importance of keeping things cooperative during the preparation and finalization of divorce proceedings. We offer calm and reasoned advice and representation for people looking to avoid contention during their divorce proceedings. We will work directly with you to ensure you remain protected without becoming aggressive, helping ensure relationships remain as free of dispute as possible.

Even the most civil and cooperative negotiation or mediation proceedings can quickly turn frustrating when available resources are not utilized. To help protect yourself and your former partner against unnecessary complications and unwanted legal pitfalls, it is always a good idea to work with a divorce attorney who understands the ins and outs of Virginia family law.

Our firm can represent you during negotiation or mediation to ensure your best interests are protected, and we can continue to represent you in the event that mediation fails. While it is preferable to avoid litigation – and we will make every attempt to do so – it is not always possible. During your initial consultation, we can discuss this and other aspects of amicable divorce in greater detail to make sure you are aware of all possible outcomes.

To schedule your consultation at Hoover Penrod, PLC, please call 540-406-4060 today. We serve families in their time of need in Harrisonburg, Winchester, Staunton, and surrounding areas of Virginia.

Posted Date: Mon, 05/01/2017

Bankruptcy Attorney - Western District, VirginiaFiling for bankruptcy can be an effective way to find relief from crippling debt and get a fresh start financially. If you're married, you'll need to decide whether to file individually or jointly with your spouse. Both options are allowable under law, but the right choice for you will depend on your unique financial circumstances.

Like most states, Virginia is a common law property state. This means that any assets and property in your name alone (called separate property) and your portion of jointly owned assets will be subject to your bankruptcy case if you file alone. In this situation, your spouse's separate property and share of jointly owned assets will not be part of the bankruptcy case.

Keep in mind that if you file bankruptcy without your spouse, it also means that only your debts are discharged as part of the case. If you and your spouse have jointly held debts such as a joint credit card account, car loan or a home mortgage, your spouse will now be responsible for the entire debt.

There are several factors to consider when deciding whether to include your spouse on the bankruptcy filing:

  • All (or most) debts are in one spouse's name -- In this situation, it is often better to file bankruptcy alone since your spouse isn't responsible for the majority of these debts.
     
  • All (or most) debts are comingled -- If you and your spouse own most of these debts together, a joint filing may be the best option.
     
  • Important assets are owned entirely by your spouse -- If your spouse owns property in his or her name only, this property won't become part of the bankruptcy estate if you file alone. This may help you preserve some of these important assets since they won't be subject to liquidation in order to pay off creditors.
     
  • The desire to protect your spouse's credit score -- If you file bankruptcy with your spouse, it will impact both of your credit scores. However, if you file alone, your spouse's credit rating won't be affected. This might be beneficial moving forward since your spouse would still have access to credit on behalf of the household if he or she has a good credit score. This can help you both get back on your feet financially while you rebuild your credit rating over the next few years.

The attorneys at Hoover Penrod PLC have helped many individuals and couples in the Western District of Virginia with bankruptcy cases. We'll review your unique financial circumstances with you in order to determine whether it's better to file jointly or alone.

If you are contemplating bankruptcy, please contact Hoover Penrod PLC using the form on this page or call 540-406-4060 today to schedule a consultation. We serve clients in the Western District of Virginia, which includes the cities of Staunton, Harrisonburg, Winchester and the surrounding counties.

Posted Date: Wed, 03/15/2017

Child Support CasesIn divorce cases involving children, securing the current and future welfare of the children is always of paramount importance.

The guiding principle is to do what’s right for the child. Under Virginia law, child support must adequately provide for a child’s needs, subject to whatever economic constraints his or her parents may face.

Virginia's child-support guidelines take into account:

  • Decision-making authority;
  • Child-care time;
  • Each parent's economic potential;
  • Health insurance costs and other expenses.

At Hoover Penrod PLC, the firm’s family law attorneys are highly skilled at sorting out the multitude of knotty and emotional issues involved in child support. They approach these matters in a spirit of fairness that avoids inflaming the anxieties that can be kindled in any divorce proceeding.

Residents of Harrisonburg, Staunton, Winchester, and neighboring communities in Central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley who need an attorney knowledgeable on child-support issues should call Hoover Penrod PLC at 540-406-4060 for a consultation. 

Posted Date: Wed, 02/15/2017

Preventing Employee LawsuitsExperts in employment law at Hoover Penrod PLC – serving Harrisonburg, Staunton, Winchester, and other communities in Central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley – can assist you in developing workplace policies that prevent costly and time-consuming lawsuits.

The firm’s attorneys have decades of experience helping businesses navigate the increasingly turbulent waters roiling this branch of the law.

A suit filed by an employee can be devastating to a company – especially a small one. This may be true even if the case is eventually resolved in the company’s favor.

Meticulous and transparent handling of employee complaints goes hand-in-hand with business productivity. Employees who have confidence in the fairness of the process are less likely to resort to legal action.

Hoover Penrod PLC helps companies draft handbooks, mission statements, and policies that clarify how:

  • Grievances are dealt with;
  • Disciplinary action is imposed;
  • Appeals are considered.

Allegations of harassment and discrimination are serious matters. Companies are wise to have in place all the tools they may need to address a potential issue before it arises.

If you own a business in Central Virginia or the Shenandoah Valley and want to speak with Hoover Penrod PLC about crafting policies and procedures to avert employee lawsuits, please call the firm at 540-406-4060.

Posted Date: Wed, 01/11/2017

Family Law Hoover Penrod

Practitioners of family law at Hoover Penrod PLC – serving Harrisonburg, Staunton, Winchester, and other communities in Central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley – appreciate how heart-rending a divorce can be.

Typically, the parties are besieged by a welter of strong emotions, and wish to bring the matter to the swiftest possible conclusion.

In the face of these challenges, Hoover Penrod’s family law specialists employ a calm, reasoned approach that considers the unique set of circumstances of each individual household. Our family law attorneys are highly experienced with litigating complex divorces.

While litigation is reserved as an option, negotiation and mediation are their preferred methods for resolving the thorny issues divorce often entails, including:

Coming to agreement on these issues does not have to be an acrimonious process. Hoover Penrod protects the client’s interests, while working diligently with the other spouse to secure a just and equitable outcome.

For experienced counsel in any family law matter, residents of Harrisonburg, Staunton, Winchester, and neighboring areas of Central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley should call Hoover Penrod PLC at 540-406-4060 for a consultation. 

Posted Date: Wed, 12/14/2016

Consumer LitigationConsumer law is in many cases a thicket of overlapping local, state, and federal statutes. For the person weighing possible legal action, as well as for the company trying to defend against a suit, it is often hard to be sure which laws apply and which approach is the correct one.

Hoover Penrod PLC’s consumer litigation attorneys know how to navigate these complex cases. In Harrisonburg, Staunton, Winchester, and neighboring communities in Central Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley, they have represented both individuals and businesses in lawsuits involving:

  • Consumer financing;
  • Credit reporting;
  • False advertising;
  • Lemon laws;
  • Breach of contract;
  • Truth-in-lending claims;
  • Fair Debt Collection Practices.

While fully capable of effectively arguing a case at trial, Hoover Penrod’s consumer litigation attorneys are especially noted for their skill in negotiating mediated settlements.

If you live in Central Virginia or the Shenandoah Valley, and need representation by a tested veteran in the field of consumer litigation, call Hoover Penrod PLC at 540-406-4060 for a consultation.

Posted Date: Mon, 05/25/2015

Whether you're buying your first piece of property or selling a piece of property that was important to your business, real estate transactions are incredibly important and incredibly complicated. They're governed by a series of laws and regulations, and they can be difficult to navigate without help.

At Hoover Penrod PLC, we provide the legal assistance you need to successfully complete a fair real estate transaction. We can help by:

  • Explaining closing documents

  • Answering any questions you have during the process

  • Handling every aspect of the loan and re-financing processes

  • Drafting purchase contracts

You want to get everything right when completing a real estate transaction. And so do we. Our Harrisonburg lawyers are committed to ensuring that your legal and economic rights are protected throughout the process.

We have decades of experience helping our clients with their real estate transactions. We understand the process and all relevant laws and regulations. We'll be happy to answer any questions you might have about our firm.

If you live in the Harrisonburg, Virginia area and you need an experienced lawyer to help with your real estate transaction, please call Hoover Penrod PLC today at 540-406-4060 or contact us online for a consultation.  

Posted Date: Fri, 04/24/2015

When you're making a significant transaction on behalf of your business, you want to ensure that everything goes according to plan. At Hoover Penrod PLC, our business lawyers can craft that plan, then shepherd the transaction through the process from conception to completion.

Business acquisitions are difficult affairs. You have to consider the financial interests of numerous parties, then craft an acquisition agreement that satisfies everyone involved. It's a difficult task, but our business lawyers can make it easier.

Hoover Penrod PLC's Harrisonburg business lawyers have been helping our clients with complicated business acquisitions for decades. We understand the relevant laws and regulations involved and know how to work with financial professionals.

Whether you're acquiring a business or selling your own, you need a business lawyer on your side to ensure that your interests are represented during a complicated and convoluted process. When that lawyer is from Hoover Penrod PLC, you know you'll receive conscientious and ethical representation at all times.

If you live in or around the Harrisonburg, Virginia community and you need an experienced business lawyer to help with your business acquisition needs, please call Hoover Penrod PLC today at 540-406-4060 or contact us online for a consultation.

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