Selling or buying a business is one of the most complex endeavors when it comes to the world of entrepreneurship. The never-ending labyrinth of contracts, negotiations, and last-minute changes make it nearly impossible to complete a sale under all the predetermined conditions. Luckily, the vast majority of difficulties can be avoided if one has a qualified lawyer working for them.
1. Preliminary Negotiations
First, every business that is on the market will have to attract a serious buyer. That includes any individual that has a clear intention and the necessary funds to engage in such a purchase. Once the two parties have connected, the preliminary negotiations will begin. This is where the seller discloses what price that they have in mind and the buyer determines if that offer is in the neighborhood of their financial capabilities. So, how can a lawyer help with something that appears seamless? Well, a lawyer has access to many tools that will help with the valuation of the business. Also, if one is to work with seasoned companies like Lawyers of Distinction, per se, they will obtain a professional that has aided dozens of clients in similar situations. Thus, they will be able to recognize any outrageous offers that do not properly reflect the business in question.
2. Legally-Binding Offers
At some point, the preliminary negotiations that have no legal implications will have to evolve into legally-binding contracts. As seen in a popular Supreme Court of Virginia case from 1954, Lucy v. Zehmer, even a signed napkin with the terms of sale is enforceable in court. Although businessmen have no lack of expertise when it comes to management, investments, and finances, they may come short in the area of applicable laws and court-set precedents on contracts. This is one of the most important things that a skillful lawyer can be helpful with. A party that is buying something and has an attorney will avoid making offers that were expressed as jokes. Similarly, sellers absent legal representation could severely undervalue the business and be unable to recoup the true market price after a simple handshake. Thus, a lawyer that has worked with other clients in these situations will know what to look for in order to avoid any malicious intent.
3. Contracts Can Become a Nightmare
When a person decides to draft a contract, there are thousands of minor details that have to be addressed. The most important factor is usually something called “consideration”. In legal waters, it represents anything that a party will receive in return for their payment. Thus, someone receiving a $1,000 for the new iPhone can say that the consideration is the phone itself. Importantly, however, the consideration does not have to be money-based as one can quantify it in services performed or other assets used in exchange. For instance, one party decides to give away a laptop in return for someone doing their taxes. The consideration here would be the laptop and the accounting services performed. So, what happens when a business is being sold with many outstanding liabilities and someone is trying to buy it with stocks or long-term assets? In simple terms, it turns into a contractual nightmare. The easiest way to fix the issue is to look for attorneys that possess credentials like Lawyers of Distinction. These professionals will know everything from simple contract phrasing and signature positions to complicated provisions that have to be separately stated and signed.
4. After-the-Sale Issues
Even when a party has gone through the transaction and established a legally-binding relationship with the seller, their endeavor is still far from over. On the contrary, most court cases arise as a post-sale dispute given birth by undisclosed information. For example, someone finds it unnecessary to mention all the creditors that have claims to the assets of the business due to overdue payments. As a result, there could be foreclosures and repositions after the new owner takes charge of the business. Although that is a fairly simple matter that will lead most courts to give a verdict in favor of the innocent buyer, these proceedings take months. One way to gain protection from such twisted yet common dealings is to hire a lawyer who will follow up on every contract sentence, claim, and everything that might have been left out. Owners often sell companies that are undergoing heavy litigation for malpractices. Usually, a lawyer will find such information a lot faster than an unfamiliar buyer that may not even know where to look. The outcome? One will be able to rely on a Bar-certified professional to guard them against scams.
Finally, an attorney will provide both the seller and the buyer with a peace of mind as they will be assured that everything is within the boundaries of applicable laws.