Three Ways to Protect What You Care About Most in 2024

A new year is just around the corner, and as you set your resolutions for 2024, don’t forget to include our top three ways to protect your business, your assets, and your family in 2024.

Protect Your Business by Hiring and Firing Well

Utilizing employment or independent contractor agreements in your business will protect you and your business in several ways. First, having a written agreement between your company and the individuals who work for you clarifies the nature of your business’s legal relationship with those individuals.  Employment contracts also form the basis for the setting of wages and occupational duties and expectations. In addition, written employment contracts can clarify the actions that an employee is permitted to take or not permitted to take after they no longer work for you.  For employers, some of the most valuable provisions in an employment contract relate to noncompete agreements, nonsolicitation of employees, and non-disclosure agreements that extend beyond the term of employment. In addition to utilizing employment agreements when your business hires employees, you should ensure that your business complies with the law when terminating an employment relationship.  Our employment law attorneys can help your business assess whether your grounds for terminating an employee are legal.

Protect Your Assets by Creating a Legal Entity for Your Business

Texas law offers a variety of legal structures to separate the assets and liabilities of your business from your personal assets.  Each business structure has specific pros and cons, and the skilled business attorneys at our firm can help you determine the appropriate entity for your business’s needs.  For example, when a business operates as a general partnership or a sole proprietorship, the owner of the organization is legally responsible for all debts and obligations of the business. Conversely, by operating your business as an LLC (a limited liability company) and observing the necessary corporate formalities, your personal assets are separated and protected from the liabilities of your business. This means that if the LLC defaults on a loan or is caught up in a lawsuit, the owner’s personal savings, homes, and other assets are protected in most cases.

Protect Your Family with a Well-Documented Estate Plan

One of the best gifts you can give your family in 2024 is the peace of mind and certainty that comes with a well-documented estate plan.  In the absence of a specific plan to the contrary, your assets will pass according to the default rules set by Texas law when you die. This could result in certain assets being shifted away from your spouse against your wishes or the transfer of property to family members you would prefer not to include.  As such, proactive estate planning includes the creation of an asset distribution document (such as a Last Will and Testament or a Revocable Living Trust) as well as various other documents to ensure that your wishes are honored in the event you are incapacitated or pass away.  Even the most basic estate plan should include a statutory durable power of attorney, a medical power of attorney, an advance healthcare directive (often referred to as a “living will”), and the nomination of guardians for your children in the event you’re unable to care for them.  By completing your estate plan with a qualified estate planning attorney in 2024, you will protect your assets and provide your family with peace of mind.