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Austin Business And Probate Law Blog

What an executor should know about his or her role

Texas residents who have been selected to be the executor of an estate must complete several tasks. For instance, it will be necessary to obtain a copy of any existing will and submit it to the proper court. The executor will also need to account for and locate the entirety of the deceased person's estate, and this could mean searching a home for hidden assets.

After business and personal assets have been found, it is the executor's responsibility to safeguard them. It may also be that person's duty to manage any rental properties that the deceased person owned at the time of his or her death. In some cases, assets will also need to be appraised to determine their current value. If claims have been made against the estate, the valid ones will need to be paid while those that are questionable can be defended against in court.

Protecting intellectual property is critical for tech industry business development

Intellectual property can be a major concern for entrepreneurs and inventors in Texas and across the country. This is especially true for anyone developing software or other tech startups, as the technology industry is driven by the value of intellectual property. Well-known disputes over copyrights, trademarks, patents and other IP issues have resulted in long-running business litigation involving major players in the industry. Due to the high value of tech IP, handling the transfer of copyrights and patents as well as assessing their value can be some of the most critical aspects for evaluating a potential merger or acquisition.

When considering an investment or acquisition of a startup, a thorough review of your company's own intellectual property as well as that of any potential partner can be particularly critical. It is important that no gaps in ownership are left that could lead to later disputes, especially after a buyout or merger has driven up the value of the IP involved. Business litigation involving intellectual property has become a hallmark of the modern tech industry as major players like Apple, Samsung and Microsoft have battled with each other over copyrights, patents and trade secrets.

Deciding whether to avoid probate

People in Texas who are creating an estate plan may want to consider whether they want the estate to go through probate. The process can be time-consuming and expensive. It may interfere with the speed with which beneficiaries receive their inheritance. Another potential disadvantage of probate is that it is a public process. Furthermore, if a person owns property in more than one state, there may be a probate process in those states as well.

There are a few ways to avoid probate. One is by using beneficiary designations. These are used for assets such as life insurance and retirement plans. A living trust may also be a way for an estate to avoid probate.

There are times to review your estate plan

Many people assume that once they create an estate plan they can leave well enough alone for the time being. While this may be true for some, depending on age and other circumstances, this isn't the case across the board.

There are times when you need to review your estate plan, with the idea that you may need to make some changes that put you and/or your family in a better position.

More consolidation and mergers expected in medical services

Physicians operating private practices in Texas might become increasingly rare in the future. According to the managing director at an investment bank focused on the health care industry, a trend toward more mergers and acquisitions became clear in 2017 and is expected to accelerate in 2018. Usually hospitals and private equity firms buy multiple medical practices and consolidate them into a single entity, but sometimes independent physicians join forces to create a single clinic.

Office-based medical services such as dermatology, ophthalmology, urology, gastroenterology and primary care represented the bulk of transactions in 2017. As far back as 2015, consolidation had become prevalent, with hospitals owning 25 percent of medical practices. In 2016, physician ownership lost its majority position, and now only 47.1 percent of physicians own their own practices.

Be wary of losing a judgment in bankruptcy

If you are pursuing legal action against an entity, the last thing you want to worry about is the company going under or becoming insolvent due to a hefty judgment against it. This scenario brings about thoughts of Great Benefit Insurance filing for bankruptcy after Matt Damon’s character won a judgment against it in “The Rainmaker.”

While that was a movie, it is arguably an example of art imitating life. It is not unheard of for a company to lose a legitimate judgment to a bankruptcy filing. After all, the U.S. Bankruptcy Code allows for companies to seek protection from judgments owed against them. When this happens, the judgment is worth less than the paper it is printed on. However, there are ways to protect against this scenario. 

Contract law & the Super Bowl

There is a football player that currently stands to make more money than Tom Brady if the New England Patriots win this weekend’s Super Bowl. A contract provision situates this player to make a profit without even stepping out onto the field. The whole story provides an example of the power of contracts.

Who is this player? Jimmy Garoppolo, a former quarterback for the New England Patriots. He began the season with the Patriots and was later traded to the San Francisco 49ers.  

Choose a guardian for your children: These tips will help

As you create an estate plan, you need to think about the future well-being of your children. Unfortunately, this means thinking about a situation in which you may pass on before your children reach the age of 18.

Even though you don't want this to happen, you need to protect your children accordingly. This means naming a guardian for your minor children in your estate plan.

How to choose the right trustee or executor

It doesn't matter if you're creating a will or trust, there are sure to be a number of high level decisions you need to make during the estate planning process.

With a will, it's up to you to choose an executor. With any type of trust, you'll be asked to choose a trustee.

Common disputes for commercial tenants

Location, location, location. You hear it all the time when it comes to real estate. It is no different when it comes to finding the right place to start your business. If you open up a restaurant in a spot that is impossible to reach, you could drive away your clients before you ever get a chance to open your doors.

Once you select the right place to open your new entity, you will have to negotiate a lease or purchase the property. For renters, there are several things that you will need to examine closely before you sign a lease, because they may lead to problems down the road. In this post, we discuss some of the most common reasons that disputes arise between commercial tenants and landlords. 

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