Amie Mendoza’s law firm is focused on helping small business owners with the problems unique to them. “She describes herself as “a personal trainer” for small business owners. Mendoza works with small business clients to get their businesses in shape and their estates properly planned and documented.
Mendoza has found that many small business owners are so busy running the business day to day that they may ignore some important business-related matters. Mendoza will looks at a client’s legal agreements, insurance foundation, along with the client’s financial and tax systems. Getting these things taken care of gives the small business owner a strong foundation on which to build a business.
Tougher economic times may cause some small business owners to focus so much on the business that they neglect some of these important foundational matters. Unfortunately, failure to build the right foundation can end up costing a small business owner a lot more money down the line. Mendoza works to see that these problems are avoided. Small businesses should be set up in such a way as to shield owners from liabilities that might arise down the line. It’s more than just setting up an LLC, Mendoza points out.
The Affordable Care Act has introduced some new complications for small business owners. It’s more important than ever to have solid agreements with independent contractors and part-time employees. Mendoza explains that the independent contractor relationship must be carefully outlined and the relationship properly maintained; otherwise, contractors might be treated as employees.
Mendoza works with a team in her practice, and she likes to meet annually with the CPAs for her clients to bring that team approach to working with clients.
Proper estate planning is another very important thing small business owners should attend to in order to protect their families. “Your family could be left holding the bag” if the estate plan is not set up correctly, including buy-sell agreements, trusts, and instructions on how things should be handled. The probate process is expensive, lengthy, and on the public record. If the estate planning is not done correctly, a small business can be tied up in court for years.
Getting the right agreements made can be important in ways people may not think of. For example, a partnership agreement can get involved in a divorce proceeding, especially if the agreement doesn’t spell out how the business is to be divided if the partnership is dissolved. Another issue can be powers of attorney to specify who should run the business should the principal owner develop a debilitating illness.
“I got into this . . . because I am a small business owner,” Mendoza says. She says she and her family went through a lot of the problems she now tries to shield her clients from. “I’m also a mom,” she adds, so planning ahead for the family is important to her as well.
Amie Mendoza practices law at the Law Offices of Amie Mendoza PLLC, Phoenix, Arizona. She is a seasoned professional with a background of over 12 years as a leader in the technology field. She is a family business lawyer, helping entrepreneurs start and run their businesses, and to develop estate plans that will help small business owners preserve their estates for their families. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.