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How Fast Can I Get an LLC

LLCStarting a business is an exciting but scary leap for most new entrepreneurs. After years of planning and dreaming, the vision is finally within reach. Before you rush out to get business cards, however, it is important to make decisions regarding your business formation. If you wish to form an LLC ( limited liability company), then there are steps you must take before moving forward. Understanding the process of forming an LLC is key to planning your future and protecting yourself every step of the way. But how quickly can you get an LLC?

Overall, the LLC process is a relatively easy and painless process that usually takes a couple of weeks to complete. You can save money, time, and stress, however, by planning ahead, being thorough when filling out paperwork, and consulting with a business attorney prior to forming your LLC.

To form an LLC, you must prepare and file your company’s Articles of Organization with the Florida Secretary of State’s office. Before filing, you need to choose your business name and determine that this name is available to use. After all, you are not permitted to form an LLC with an identical name as another company in Florida. Prior to filing the Articles of Organization, you will also need to choose and name a registered agent, who will consent to receive lawsuits and other official communications on behalf of your LLC.

You can file your Articles of Organization by mail or you can use the online website to complete the process. Once you’ve filed the articles of organization in Florida, it can take several weeks for your LLC to become approved.

Can You Make the LLC Process Go Quicker?

Florida does not have expedited processing. However, while you may not be able to have your LLC approved faster, you can make the LLC process quicker by being prepared and thorough before filing their Articles of Organization. Make sure all forms are filled out appropriately and that your business name is available before filing. Mistakes will result in your LLC Articles of Organization returned to you to correct errors or provide accurate information. This will increase the LLC processing time drastically.

What Happens Next?

After your LLC has been approved, you will need to obtain a federal tax ID number and set up your business’ LLC bank account. During this process it is important to consult with both a business attorney, as well as an accountant to ensure that you have the best business and tax strategy for your new startup.

Contact Our Florida Business Attorneys

At the Law Offices of Todd M. Kurland, our Florida business lawyers can help you get an LLC quickly and avoid the pitfalls new businesses often face when forming. Our law firm services all of South Florida, from Miami to Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach to Tampa. Contact us today at (561) 693-4524 for a consultation and review of your case. We can help you protect your new venture and your assets by forming an LLC. Call today.

For More Information

Health Care Requirements for Small Businesses in Florida

The 6 Essential Elements of a Business Contract

The Documents Your Startup Needs NOW

Startup Business Law AttorneyDid you know that more than 50% of all small businesses fail in the first four years? Sadly, the leading cause of small business failure is incompetence and lack of experience. When starting a business, entrepreneurs need more than just a great idea and hard work. They need a solid legal structure for their new enterprise in order to avoid lengthy legal battles and other pitfalls that could destroy their business ventures.

Legal Documentation is Key to a Startup’s Success

When starting a new business, there are specific legal documents that all businesses need in order to truly succeed.

  • Business Formation Documents – all business owners need to determine how they will form and operate their business. The right business formation will offer startups flexibility, while limiting personal liability for company obligations. Owners will need to consider the tax liabilities, benefits and disadvantages to operating as a corporation, an LLC, a partnership or a sole proprietorship. Making the wrong choice could be disastrous consequences for startups.
  • Governing Documents – new businesses need to develop operating agreements or bylaws to describe how the business will be managed, the way the profits and losses are to be allocated, and what rights and responsibilities are shared by the various owners, shareholders, and officers.
  • Intellectual Property Assignment Agreements – a large portion of startups are founded with a new idea, patent, or design. This intellectual property must be protected and accounted for. Without an intellectual property assignment agreement, the company may not actually own this intellectual property, increasing the likelihood of entering into lengthy disputes and protracted legal battles in the future.
  • Nondisclosure Agreements – a nondisclosure agreement protects a startup’s confidential information. This could be a secret recipe or a software design and it prevents that information from being released to competitors or to the general public. Anyone who has access to sensitive or confidential business information should be required to sign a nondisclosure agreement, including employees, vendors, and potential investors.
  • Shareholder Agreements – these agreements often include buy-sell clauses that explain what happens when a shareholder decides to leave the company. Oftentimes, original founders must leave the company and move on to other ventures. When this occurs, it is important to have clearly defined rules defining the buying out process.
  • Employee Contracts – Florida is an “at-will” state and employees are allowed to leave at any time and without notice. Employees are often critical to the success of a small business and a high turnover rate can spell doom for new startups. Employment contracts ensure that valuable and key members of the business team are under contract. They can also include noncompete agreements, arbitration clauses, and clearly defined benefit packages.

Contact Our Florida Business Attorneys

At the Law Offices of Todd M. Kurland, our Florida business lawyers have extensive experience helping small businesses protect themselves during the initial phases of business development and gain traction in today’s economy. Our law firm services all of South Florida, from Miami to Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach to Tampa. Contact us today at (561) 693-4524 for a consultation and review of your case. Your business IS our business.

The True Costs of Starting an LLC in Florida

When starting a new business, it is important to consider how you will structure your company. And more specifically, will it be set up as a corporation, a limited liability company (LLC,) a sole proprietorship or a general partnership? Choosing the proper business structure will have a significant impact on your taxes, personal liabilities, and estate plan. As such, before choosing to form a new LLC in the state of Florida, it is important to understand the benefits and costs associated with starting and maintaining one.

What Is an LLC?

LLC in Florida

An limited liability company, also referred to as an LLC or, is a type of business structure that is designed to protect your personal assets in case your business is sued. For most small businesses, LLCs provide owners with the perfect blend of simplicity coupled with maximum personal asset protection. An LLC can be owned by one or more people, and can be small or relatively large. Unlike other business structures, however, LLCs can choose three different ways to pay income taxes, and can also be taxed as an S-corp. The protection, simplicity, and flexibility of an LLC make it an attractive choice for many businesses in the Sunshine State.

One-Time Costs of Starting an LLC in Florida

Business expenses can add up, especially if you’re a relatively new company or a small business owner. Understanding the costs associated with starting an LLC in Florida can help you budget properly, as well as plan for the future.

The costs associated with starting an LLC include:

  • $100 filing fee paid to the Florida Secretary of State’s office for filing Articles of Organization
  • $5 fee for a Certificate of Status
  • $30 optional fee assessed if you need a certified copy of the Articles of Organization
  • $25 fee for having a registered agent
  • Optional $50 to $500 year fee for hiring an outside registered agent
  • $100 filing fee to register your company if you’re an out-of-state business wishing to conduct business in Florida

If you wish to make changes to your LLC, like changing your registered agent or amending the Articles of Organization, you will pay additional filing fees at the time of the change.

Recurring Costs for an LLC in Florida

Once you’ve registered your LLC in Florida, you must pay continuing fees for operating your LLC throughout the year. All LLCs are required to file an annual report and pay the $138.75 filing fee by May 1st of each year. If your annual report is filed after the May 1st deadline, then your filing fee increases to $538.75.

In total, the basic cost for forming and registering an LLC in Florida is $125. Optional expenses, such as hiring an outside registered agent or filing from out-of-state, can increase that fee to between $210 and $660.

Speak with a Florida Business Attorney Today

If you’re thinking about starting an LLC in Florida, it is important to speak to an experienced Florida business attorney before making an decision regarding the structure of your company. At the Law Offices of Todd M. Kurland, our Florida business lawyers have extensive experience in helping small business owners in Florida during the startup and formation process. Contact us today at (561) 693-4524 for a consultation and review of your case. We make your business our top priority – and it shows.

For More Information:

Health Care Requirements for Small Businesses in Florida

What You Need to Know About Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws

Florida Lawsuits Reveal Common Issues Faced by Employees

Employees report a wide range of issues in the workplace, from security risks and assault to privacy violations and harassment. Working with an experienced employment lawyer in Florida can help you stay compliant with federal and state laws, as well as minimize your risk of litigation.

Library Employee Sues FSU After School Shooting

Employee Lawsuits FloridaIn a case that lasted over four years, a Strozier Library employee at Florida State University (FSU) sued the institution after coming face-to-face with a school shooter who injured three during his attack. While the school argued that they could not be held responsible for the actions of the shooter, the library employee claimed that she was not warned of the dangers of working in the 24-hour library. She also alleged that the university did not provide properly trained security to protect against incidents like the shooting. FSU and the employee finally reached a settlement, which reflects the responsibility of Florida employers to protect employees by meeting certain security standards.

Class Action Suit Claims McDonald’s Violated FCRA

A class action lawsuit filed in Florida against McDonald’s claims that the fast food restaurant violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by pulling consumer reports on job applicants. Applicants contend that information regarding the consumer reports was buried in other types of paperwork, and that as a result, they were unaware the reports would be pulled.

Other Common Employee Lawsuits in Florida

Employers face many other types of lawsuits in Florida courtrooms. Here are a few of the most common:

  • Discrimination. On a federal level, employees are protected from discrimination through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Employees may claim discrimination if they fit into protected classes, which include race, sex, religion, nationality, age, disability, or sexual preference. Discriminatory discharge occurs when an employee is fired because they are part of a legally protected group.
  • Harassment. Harassment is one type of lawsuit that is prevalent across many different industries. It includes offensive conduct that targets employees in protected categories, offensive speech and/or pictures, physical assault, threats, and other types of interaction that can negatively impact an employee’s work performance.
  • Retaliation. Employees may claim retaliation if they are fired, lose hours, or are otherwise punished for filing a discrimination claim, reporting FLSA violations or refusing to participate in illegal activity.
  • Hostile Work Environment. While the court sets the standards fairly high for hostile work environment cases, unfortunately these types of cases are still fairly common in Florida. A work environment is considered hostile if it leaves employees unable to carry out their regular job duties due to the actions of a manager or coworker.
  • Wrongful Termination. Wrongful termination is a fairly narrow standard in Florida, since Florida is an at-will state that allows employers to fire employees for almost any reason. Termination may be considered wrongful if it is considered either retaliatory or discriminatory.

Even if a company strictly adheres to employment laws, it can still be put at risk through the actions of their managers and employees. Employment and business lawyers can assess potential legal risks for companies, as well as make recommendations that protect employers from lawsuits.

Keep Your Business Safe from Employee Lawsuits

Employment law is a constantly evolving field, and it can be challenging for business owners to keep up with legal requirements. With the Law Office of Todd M. Kurland, P.A. on your side, you can feel confident knowing that you have a skilled employment attorney to handle contract disputes, employee lawsuits, and other issues. Call us at (561) 693-4514 to schedule an appointment.

For More Information:

The 6 Essential Elements of a Business Contract

What You Need to Know About Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws

Health Care Requirements for Small Businesses in Florida

Health insurance is often considered one of the most important employment benefits. Even when offered a competitive salary, individuals may turn down positions simply because they do not offer health coverage.Health Care Requirements for Small Businesses With the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, it can be difficult to know what is required for your Florida business and what is simply a solid business practice.

Coverage Requirements Based on Number of Employees

Health insurance requirements are determined by federal law in the state of Florida, and there are no state laws that require employers to offer health insurance to workers. As a result of the Affordable Care Act, however, companies with 50 or more full-time employees can be penalized if one or more of their workers get insurance through the Marketplace. If you have 50 or more employees who work an average of 30+ hours per week or 130+ hours per month, you must avoid health insurance to avoid penalties.

If you have 49 or fewer employees, this employer mandate does not apply. While you aren’t required to offer health insurance, you may choose to do so for the benefit of your employees, especially since the Affordable Care Act expanded small business insurance options.

Informing Employees of the Affordable Care Act

In many cases, employers are required to tell their employees about the options available through the Affordable Care Act. If your business is covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, you must tell your employees about the basic provisions available through the ACA. Though there are no penalties for failing to provide this information, it is advisable to stay on the right side of the law.

Tax Credits and Insurance Options

Employers who opt to offer health insurance as an employee benefit have a variety of options available. And since many large employers routinely offer health insurance to employees, you may have to do the same to attract qualified employees to your company.

Companies with 24 or fewer full-time employees can often qualify for tax credits that cushion the financial impact of providing health insurance. The Small Business Health Options Program, also known as SHOP, is the healthcare marketplace for small businesses. If you use this program, you must meet certain requirements.

  • A certain percentage of employees that qualify for coverage must enroll, otherwise the plan may not be available to your company.
  • You must offer your SHOP-purchased plan to all full-time employees.

You can also sign up for coverage through a broker or agent. Regardless of where you choose to get insurance coverage for your employees, insurance companies cannot deny you coverage based on the health status of any of your employees.

Make Sure Your Small Business Is Up to Code

Small businesses are at the heart of Florida’s economy, and as a business owner, it’s important to make sure you meet all state and federal standards. Whether you’re just getting your business off the ground or just want to make sure you’re in compliance with health insurance requirements, contact the Law Office of Todd M. Kurland today at (561) 693-4514.

The 6 Essential Elements of a Business Contract

business contracts lawyersWhile most business owners have signed a contract at some point in their lives, few understand what goes into creating a business contract. With the assistance of a business lawyer, you will be able to draft impressive, airtight agreements that last for years. But first, you must understand the basics.

Here are 6 of the most important elements included in a business contract. 

  1.  The Parties 

In order to have a legal business contract, you must include a declaration of the parties involved. A signature at the bottom will not suffice. Typically, this declaration is included within the first several paragraphs. It will list yourself and whatever entity or person you wish to enter into an agreement with. 

  1.  Legal Purpose 

All business contracts are deemed invalid if they involve illegal activity. It’s essential to note that, even if you remain unaware of illegal activity on the part of another entity, your contract may remain invalid.

For example, should you enter an agreement for products from an entity responsible for stealing those products, you won’t be able to enforce delivery in a court of law. To keep this situation from occurring, it’s important to conduct background checks and call references before entering into a business agreement. 

  1.  Delivery 

In your business contract, you’ll need to outline exactly how services and goods will be delivered and/or shared between the parties. This section of your contract should cover shipping, liability, insurance, and other important details. Remember, a court will not uphold a piece of your agreement that wasn’t explicitly stated in the contract. For this reason, you should be as detailed as possible. 

  1.  Compensation 

Also known as “consideration,” this part of your contract will detail the benefits each party stands to gain from your agreement. If there are deposits required before services or products can be delivered, those fees should be outlined here.

You’ll also want to include a planned payment schedule, as well as specific dates, times, amounts, or percentages that are relevant to the agreement. Again, the more detailed your contract, the more protection the courts can offer. 

  1.  Terms and Conditions 

Often the lengthiest portion of a business contract, this section details the rights and obligations of each party. The content of this section can vary widely depending on the context of your agreement. If you work closely with a business lawyer, you’ll have assistance in determining the exact language you should use here.

For example, you may use this section to:

  • Reserve the right to leave the contract at any time
  • Tie yourself and other entities to the contract until its completion
  • Outline exact payment dates and amounts
  • Describe under what circumstances the contract becomes null and void
  • Detail the circumstances under which a party may leave the contract
  • Define the legal process that may proceed if the contract is broken 
  1.  Consequences 

When a legally-binding business contract is broken, there are consequences for the offending party. This section of the contract should explain what happens if the products or services outlined in the contract are not delivered. It should also detail what happens should the buyer fail to pay, where the matter can be litigated, and how much time the offending party has to correct the problem until legal consequences occur.

Contact a Florida Business Contract Attorney

Regardless of whether you’re just starting out, or have had your business for years, having air tight business contracts in place is critical to the sustainability of your business.  Contact the Law Office of Todd M. Kurland at (561) 693-4514 for assistance in drafting business contracts that will go the distance.

How to Protect Your Business Interests in a Contract Dispute

contract disputesContracts play a vital role in business transactions. They legally bind parties to certain duties, liabilities and responsibilities. Irrespective of the size of your business, the contracts you enter into with clients, partners and vendors are what will help your business thrive and survive. Most contracts, however, are lengthy and complex, and riddled with legalese that is hard to interpret, which frequently results in contract disputes.

Breach of Contract

Not all contract disputes result from a lack of understanding of contractual terms. In fact, often times, one party does not perform their part of the contract as stipulated, or simply refuses to fulfill the contractual promise altogether. This failure to perform is considered a breach of the contract, and can happen in one of two ways:

  • Material Breach– A material breach of contract occurs when one party fails to perform a major part of the contract, which prevents the contract from being completed and deprives the non-breaching party of a substantial benefit. If a material breach of contract occurs, the non-breaching party is no longer obligated to perform their part of the contract, and can sue for damages instead. Some examples of material breach of contract include failure to deliver goods within a time frame and failure to maintain prescribed standards of goods.
  • Minor (or non-material) Breach– A non-material breach occurs where one party fails to perform a minor part or an ancillary term of the contract. In this type of breach, the functionality of the agreement remains intact and both parties are still obligated to fulfill the contract, but the non-breaching party can still also sue for damages. For example, if a home owner contracts for black wires and the contractor installs red wires instead that perform just as well, this would be a non-material breach of contract since the fundamental purpose of the contract was still fulfilled.

Common Types of Contract Disputes

While there are numerous disputes that can arise out of contracts, some of the more common types involve:

  • Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA’s)
  • Non-Compete Agreements (NCA’s)
  • Business contracts for services (which specify deadlines and deliverables)
  • Lease agreements
  • Offer and acceptance disputes

Resolving Contract Disputes 

Contract disputes can be resolved in one of two ways: legally or equitably.

Legal remedies grant relief to aggrieved parties and are typically compensatory in nature. They primarily seek to restore the aggrieved party’s position prior to the breach of contract. Common legal remedies include:

  • Compensatory damages
  • Punitive damages
  • Lost profits
  • Lost wages

Equitable remedies, on the other hand, grant relief when legal remedies and/or monetary compensation cannot adequately rectify the breach. Equitable remedies are:

  • Specific performance
  • Injunction
  • Restitution

There are other options available to aggrieved parties besides these common remedies. For example, if the other party is amenable, you can also try negotiating changes to the contract through mediation, which will avoid a long and drawn out court battle, as well as unnecessary legal expenses.

It’s important to discuss the merits of your case with an attorney who is well-versed in handling contract disputes, so that you know what options are at your disposal and can take proper action to mitigate your losses.

Contract Disputes Attorney Todd M. Kurland Can Help

Whether it’s a total breach of contract, a dispute over vague contractual terms or an oral agreement in a business transaction that was never formally recorded, Todd M. Kurland is a contract disputes attorney who can help you navigate through the complicated maze of business law. And with decades of experience, our team has the skillset and expertise to get you the most favorable outcome for your case. Contact us today at (561) 693-4514 to schedule your free consultation.

4 Reasons to Hire a Business Startup Lawyer

Most start-up founders are excited about taking their dream from a bare idea to concrete reality. In the early stages of business, they’re consumed by discussions about funding, growth, and product development, which means legal matters often wind up at the bottom of the priority list. While seemingly harmless, this exposes their business to unforeseen risks and challenges, which could cause irreparable losses. In fact, several research reports list legal issues as one of the primary reasons why one in ten start-ups fail.

Read More “4 Reasons to Hire a Business Startup Lawyer”

S-Corp or LLC – Which Should You Form?

In the United States, hundreds of men and women decide to become official business owners each year. When this decision is made, another question arises. Will you form an S-Corp or an LLC? According to experts in business law, there are benefits and drawbacks to each option. All businesses differ in their structure and market, and choosing correctly will give you an advantage both legally and professionally.

Read More “S-Corp or LLC – Which Should You Form?”

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