Howard & Hardyman LLP

Rockford Illinois Business Law and Estate Planning Legal Blog

The pros and cons of starting a new business

For various reasons, some Illinois entrepreneurs will find it more attractive to buy an existing business than to build a new operation from the ground up. However, there are solid rationales to put your time and resources into forming a new business. If you understand the challenges involved in starting a new business as well as the benefits, you can make an informed decision.

Buying an existing business is beneficial in that you can inherit a qualified workforce and an operation that makes a healthy profit margin. But as Incfile points out, if there are problems with the workforce, such as lazy employees, you may have to root out the bad apples, even if it creates some anxiety among the existing workers who wonder if they are next to go. Also, if the company is not doing well, you will have to invest time and resources to shore the outfit up.

3 life events that mean you should review your estate plan

People work hard to amass various assets through businesses and organize them in estates. As such, it is only right that someone should get to choose what happens to their belongings.

An estate plan helps people gain control over the future of their holdings. To ensure that the strategy aligns with the estate holder's wishes, it is often essential to review and possibly revise plans after certain life events.

Should I buy an existing business?

Many entrepreneurs face a basic question. Should they build a whole new business from the ground up, or is buying an existing company the better option? There are several important benefits to purchasing an Illinois company instead of building a new one. However, buying a company is not free of pitfalls. The key to making the best decision is to know both the upside and downside to a company purchase. explains that generally you are exposing yourself to less risk purchasing an existing company than if you build your own business. An established company already has employees, modes of operation, a client base, and an existing cash flow that ideally is producing profits. If you make a smart buy, you are gaining a company that is already successful in the market.

Safeguarding your family and your assets

You could benefit from having a solid estate plan in place. We are confident in that statement for many reasons, but mostly because we believe planning ahead is a good way for nearly everybody to help their loved ones navigate complex issues. However, there are many ways to deal with estates in Illinois. Many find that the process becomes complicated very quickly. To ease this confusion, we make a point of pairing the right strategies with each client we take on here at Howard and Hardyman LLP.

We found that our individualized method benefits our clients in more ways than one. First, they tend to get the estate plan that maximizes there return and fits their goals. A secondary benefit -- but one that we believe is almost as well appreciated as the first -- is that the best options come first in our discussions, along with solid proposals for action. 

Is estate planning complicated?

Illinois residents will approach estate planning with different levels of knowledge and experience. While planning out the future of their estate is a breeze for some people, for others, the steps and terminology involved will seem daunting to figure out. Fortunately, you can rely on the expertise of a qualified estate planner to get you through the process, but pitfalls may remain if you are not careful.

Forbes explains that a professional estate planner can take you through the process of setting up your plans to pass your estate along to your heirs. Basically, you do not have to come up with each step yourself. The job of the planner is to compose a plan that fulfills all of your needs. When the overall plan is ready, you would then sign off on it.

When and how to form a corporation

It is the same in Illinois as it is anywhere; success in business has the potential to draw some unwanted attention. Businesses that risk lawsuits from competitors or losses from uncertain opportunities often incorporate to reduce this liability. However, there are many significant decisions associated with the process that could affect the future success of an organization.

The process of incorporation is probably unlike anything most small business owners have done before. The simpler types of companies — LLCs and sole proprietorships, for example — may be challenging to operate and organize. Their formation may even be somewhat difficult for those not acquainted with the required steps. Corporations pose all of these issues and more. 

Key designations for estate holders in blended families

An estate plan is a way for people to ensure the proper designation of their property when they pass on. To do this effectively, there are several things to consider when creating an estate plan.

For those in blended families, there are specific, critical designations. To create a quality estate plan, become familiar with these designations.

How do you develop a business succession plan?

You may not intend to retire for many more years, but life can be unpredictable for Illinois business owners. According to FindLaw, a business succession plan can mean the difference between continued success or tragic failure for your company in the event of your unexpected death or incapacitation. If your business is family operated, the lack of a succession plan may spark a feud, and both your business and your family may suffer as a result. 

When planning for the future, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are some ideas to help you formulate a strategy for developing and implementing a business succession plan.

Understanding intestate succession

Despite the repeated suggestions offered by estate planning experts, many in Rockford are ill-prepared in regards to the issue of estate administration. Even something as simple as making a will is often overlooked. Indeed, study data shared by the American Association of Retired Persons shows that only four out of every 10 American adults has a will. Yet many may avoid preparing a will out of fear that their beneficiaries will be angered by their decisions. They may simply think it to be better to allow said beneficiaries to decide amongst themselves who gets what once they are gone. 

Unfortunately, that is not an option. The state has developed intestate succession guidelines that determine how estate assets are to be dispersed when one dies without making a will. According to the Illinois Probate Act, in such a scenario, the entirety of one's estate would go to their surviving spouse if they have no direct descendants. If they do have children or grandchildren still alive (and were also survived by a spouse), then half of the estate goes to the surviving spouse, and the remaining half to the descendants (to be split equally amongst them). If one has no surviving spouse, then their entire estate would go their descendants. 

Business formation types that limit personal liability

Regardless of the nature of the type of business you are looking to establish in Illinois, you will find that there are areas involved in its operations that could potentially expose you to liability. For some types of businesses, such as those involving food service or transportation, the risks are relatively obvious, but virtually every type of business out there has at least a few areas where it might be at risk. At Howard & Hardyman LLP, we recognize that certain business structures can help protect you against personal liability, and we have helped many business owners create business structures well-suited to their needs.

Per QuickBooks, there are two main business structures that can protect you if someone sues or files a judgment against your business. The first is the limited liability company. As its name implies, a limited liability company helps protect your personal assets in the event that your business gets into trouble, and it is a relatively easy business structure to create and operate.

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  • WCBA | Winnebago County | Bar Association | Established 1996
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