Business Formation

Helping your business prepare for long-term success

Business Formation Attorneys

It is important to structure your business in a way that aligns with both your short and long term goals. Choosing the wrong structure for your business can have substantial legal, financial and tax consequences. At Lerner & Weiss, our business formation attorneys have more than 60 years of experience helping clients understand their business formation options.

There are advantages and disadvantages for each type of business formation structure. A few important considerations are:

  • Protecting your personal assets from business debts.
  • Maximizing business income and navigating tax implications.
  • Type and frequency of record-keeping requirements.
  • Cost and complexity of compliance with state, federal and local laws.

Our business lawyers will carefully evaluate your unique circumstances and needs, and then guide you in deciding on the business structure that best fits your situation.

Your California Business Formation Options

There are several different ways you can structure your business. The basic ways to form your business are:

  • Sole Proprietorship: This is the most common and easiest way to start a business. You do not have to file any documents with the state. You are the only owner and keep all the profits and suffer through all losses. Your personal assets are not protected from business losses. You file your profits and loss statements along with your personal income tax return.
  • General Partnership: You own the business with one or more other people, all who are called partners. Partners divide the profits and share the losses. Personal assets are at risk and income taxes are filed on personal income tax forms.
  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP): Similar to a general partnership, but limits profits and liabilities to the amount of investment a partner has made into the business.
  • Joint Venture: Like a general partnership but limited in time and to one project.
  • C-Corporation: This formation separates your personal assets from business assets. This means that personal assets cannot be seized to pay corporation debts. Documents are required to be filed with the state and updated periodically.
  • S-Corporation: This is similar to a C-Corporation, but different tax rules apply and the number of shareholders there can be is limited.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC): This has been described as a hybrid, with the best tax advantages and operational benefits of a corporation and partnership. Personal assets are protected from business debts, but the business is taxed as though a partnership. Articles of Organization must be filed with the state.

From Business Formation to Ongoing Business Support

At Lerner & Weiss, our business formation attorneys continue to provide you all the support you need in order to help your business thrive. An overview of our services includes:

  • Drafting, filing and maintaining required operational documents.
  • Keeping minutes of all meetings as required by state law.
  • Preparing employee contracts, handbooks and policy manuals.
  • Preparing specific employment contracts (Ex. confidentiality, non-compete, trade secret).
  • Drafting and reviewing all business contracts.
  • Preventing co-mingling of funds.
  • Advising on wage and hour laws to insure compliance with state and federal labor laws.

Being proactive helps you limit your risk of liability while maximizing your benefits. Our goal is to help you make informed decisions, comply with all legal requirements and minimize the risk of future litigation.