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Victor Law Firm http://victorlawfirm.com Fri, 16 Dec 2016 15:07:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Feeling Guilty Over Causing My Child's Disability http://victorlawfirm.com/2014/06/12/feeling-guilty-over-causing-my-childs-disability/ http://victorlawfirm.com/2014/06/12/feeling-guilty-over-causing-my-childs-disability/#comments Thu, 12 Jun 2014 17:02:23 +0000 http://longislandspecialneedslawyer.com/?p=679 Recently, I was reading this review of Toni Braxton’s new memoir, and the reviewer appeared shocked that Ms. Braxton attributed her son’s autism to God’s payback for a prior abortion. I don’t want to get into a discussion about God, and whether He would cause a child to suffer over a parent’s alleged mistake, but... Read More »

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Recently, I was reading this review of Toni Braxton’s new memoir, and the reviewer appeared shocked that Ms. Braxton attributed her son’s autism to God’s payback for a prior abortion.

I don’t want to get into a discussion about God, and whether He would cause a child to suffer over a parent’s alleged mistake, but as the parent of a child with many special needs, I blame myself all the time.

I’m intelligent, and educated, and I have done much research and reading on the subject of mental illness. I have spoken to experts. I “know” that the fight I had with her father didn’t cause my daughter’s disability. I “know” that the single cup of tea I had when I was pregnant, didn’t cause it. I “know” that although I wasn’t as good at giving time-outs for bad behavior, an occasional lack of discipline didn’t cause it.

And yet….I can’t help but wonder if there wasn’t something that I did, or that I didn’t do, that made my child suffer. I “know” it is ridiculous, but it is also human nature for parents to blame themselves, despite being blameless.

So, I may not agree with Toni Braxton, but I understand where she is coming from.

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Do I Own a Business, or Do I Own a Job? http://victorlawfirm.com/2014/06/05/do-i-own-a-business-or-do-i-own-a-job/ http://victorlawfirm.com/2014/06/05/do-i-own-a-business-or-do-i-own-a-job/#respond Thu, 05 Jun 2014 14:00:14 +0000 http://longislandbusinesslawyer.com/?p=379 I’d like to draw your attention to the concepts of two authors: Robert Kiyosaki (the author of the famous book Rich Dad, Poor Dad) in his book The Cash Flow Quadrant, and Michael Gerber in his book The E-Myth Revisited. In The Cash Flow Quadrant, Kiyosaki draws a chart with four quadrants, labeled E, S,... Read More »

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I’d like to draw your attention to the concepts of two authors: Robert Kiyosaki (the author of the famous book Rich Dad, Poor Dad) in his book The Cash Flow Quadrant, and Michael Gerber in his book The E-Myth Revisited.

In The Cash Flow Quadrant, Kiyosaki draws a chart with four quadrants, labeled E, S, B, and I. The initials stand for Employee, Self-Employed, Business owner, and Investor.

Teachers golf lessons

Teachers golf lessons (Photo credit: Companygolflessons)

For most of my clients, the crucial distinction is between S and B. Many of my clients are self-employed. They have a particular set of skills — let’s say a graphic designer, or a golf teacher, or even an attorney. And they make a living selling those services to others. The advantages are many. Often they have no employees, little or no overhead, and they love the work. The disadvantage is that the business is entirely dependent on that person.

Michael Gerber, in his books, identifies this sort of person as a “technician” (a hair stylist, an IT specialist, a chef) having “an entrepreneurial seizure” (when they say to themselves “I can do this on my own better than my boss is doing it.”).

At this point, Gerber would say, you don’t own a business, you own a job. Owning a business is different. The business does not depend on your participation.

Here’s an example: you and your wife buy a 7-Eleven convenience store. You hire a manager, who hires employees. You pay a franchise fee and your manager buys supplies from the company. You get all financial reports. But you don’t work in the business. You’re not pulling counter duty.

If your economic model is entirely dependent on your skills and talents, you don’t own a business, you own a job. If so, you are at risk and you’d better have plenty of legal protections and a bunch of disability insurance.

But that’s another blog post.

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The Dangers of Interns, and of Not Paying Your Friends to Help Your Business http://victorlawfirm.com/2014/05/29/the-dangers-of-interns-and-of-not-paying-your-friends-to-help-your-business/ http://victorlawfirm.com/2014/05/29/the-dangers-of-interns-and-of-not-paying-your-friends-to-help-your-business/#respond Thu, 29 May 2014 14:00:35 +0000 http://longislandbusinesslawyer.com/?p=376 Linda has just formed an LLC.  She has a great new idea for a business.  She has no money as she has no clients yet, but her friends love her and want to volunteer their services. She has vaguely promised them some sort of eventual profit or ownership percentage when the company becomes more successful.... Read More »

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Linda has just formed an LLC.  She has a great new idea for a business.  She has no money as she has no clients yet, but her friends love her and want to volunteer their services. She has vaguely promised them some sort of eventual profit or ownership percentage when the company becomes more successful.  Or even better, she has found a college student who wouldn’t mind “interning” (otherwise known as working without pay) who will help her run her errands in return for a line on a resume or a referral letter.

Student

(Photo credit: CollegeDegrees360)

Linda has a problem.  Most unpaid internships are illegal and violate the minimum wage and overtime laws.  The United States Department of Labor has put out a fact sheet that delineates the test for unpaid interns.  Here are two particularly sticky tests for Linda:

  1. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  2. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded.

In other words, Linda should be paying her intern at least minimum wage.  She’s getting all the benefit.  By having an intern, she is able to not hire an employee, and she’s certainly getting an advantage.

The same thing is true for her friends that she has offered some eventual piece of the profits.  First, the terms of the deal should be in writing so that everyone understands exactly what they are giving and what they can expect to get in the end when the business is successful.  Second, without an agreement, this is just another form of unpaid labor that is likely to lead to violations.

How will this end up being a huge problem for Linda?  One of the unpaid workers files a claim against Linda, for unemployment benefits; for worker’s compensation if they get hurt on the job; for another employee harassing them.  Linda is facing huge fines for not properly paying her employees and for not paying the proper taxes.

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Employee or Independent Contractor? You Don't Get to Choose. http://victorlawfirm.com/2014/05/22/employee-or-independent-contractor-you-dont-get-to-choose/ http://victorlawfirm.com/2014/05/22/employee-or-independent-contractor-you-dont-get-to-choose/#respond Thu, 22 May 2014 14:00:00 +0000 http://longislandbusinesslawyer.com/?p=374 My client, Marylou, has just started a small business.  In this case, we formed a corporation for her dry cleaning business.  Marylou is the new president of ABC Startup Dry Cleaning, Inc.  She barely has enough money to pay rent and buy equipment, but she can’t run a dry cleaning business by herself.  Marylou needs... Read More »

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My client, Marylou, has just started a small business.  In this case, we formed a corporation for her dry cleaning business.  Marylou is the new president of ABC Startup Dry Cleaning, Inc.  She barely has enough money to pay rent and buy equipment, but she can’t run a dry cleaning business by herself.  Marylou needs to hire people.  She needs someone to do her bookkeeping and someone to run the machinery.  One of her great new ideas to expand the business she just started is to hire a delivery person to pick up and deliver clothing to busy clients.  Finally, the whole store needs repainting to look fresh and new.

dry^cleaning

(Photo credit: rjs1322)

Marylou calls to ask me if I can draft independent contractor agreements for all these workers—the bookkeeper, the delivery person, the machine operator and the painters.  She would like it if they were independent contractors instead of employees because she does not want to pay all the accompanying taxes and paperwork that are required when hiring an employee.  As an employer, she would have to withhold taxes and her employee’s portion of Social Security and Medicare taxes.  The best way to do that is to hire a payroll service, another expense to add to the list of already long list of expenses her new business has generated.  She’d also have to pay and file for Worker’s Compensation and Unemployment taxes on an employee’s wages.  Independent contractors are responsible for their own taxes.  Additionally, Marylou doesn’t want to be responsible for her driver’s liabilities, in case he gets into an accident.  An employer is legally responsible for the negligence of her employees, but not her independent contractors.

I advise Marylou that while she can certainly hire a painting company as an independent contractor, and a bookkeeping service, she may have more trouble with claiming the workers running the dry cleaning machinery as independent contractors.  Should they get hurt on the job, should she fire them, they will seek Worker’s Compensation or Unemployment Insurance and a Department of Labor audit will carry very heavy fines and penalties.  This is true for administrative staff too.  While the advantages of claiming the people who work with you are independent contractors instead of employees can be great, the penalties for being wrong are harsh.

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The Best Way to Buy a Small Business http://victorlawfirm.com/2014/05/20/the-best-way-to-buy-a-small-business/ http://victorlawfirm.com/2014/05/20/the-best-way-to-buy-a-small-business/#respond Tue, 20 May 2014 15:00:48 +0000 http://longislandbusinesslawyer.com/?p=370 Bob, one of my business clients, wants to own a coffee shop. He calls me and tells me he has found one for sale—and in the perfect location.  That coffee shop is owned by a corporation.  The corporation is really just the owner and his wife, but the corporation is the legal owner of the... Read More »

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Bob, one of my business clients, wants to own a coffee shop. He calls me and tells me he has found one for sale—and in the perfect location.  That coffee shop is owned by a corporation.  The corporation is really just the owner and his wife, but the corporation is the legal owner of the coffee shop.

English: Smokey Coffee Shop in Amsterdam

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I suggest to Bob that we are best off structuring the small business purchase as an “asset purchase sale”, as opposed to a stock purchase.  That means we are not purchasing the business itself, but only the assets of the business.  For example:  Bob wants to buy the chairs, table, the coffeemakers, the goodwill, the recipes.  By making his purchase this way, he will avoid most of the liabilities of the coffee shop he is buying.  The current coffee shop may owe money to suppliers, taxes,  a lawsuit for food poisoning suit or a former employee suing the coffee shop. There are some tax advantages to structuring the deal this way too.  Win-win for Bob, right?

So why would anyone want to do a stock purchase (buying the coffee shop itself or the entire corporation)?  I tell Bob that if he wants ease in transferring title, there’s a certain expense in starting fresh, and if Bob needs to save a few thousand bucks, then buying the stock would be the way to go.  It might eliminate the need to transfer permits, employee agreements and leases, although even with a stock purchase, there might be costs.  I warned Bob, permits are often personal to the owner and not the business. If the coffee shop Bob is buying has a liquor license. Bob would not be able to just take that over, he would have to be personally vetted by the liquor authority here in New York.  Despite a corporation owning the coffee shop, the current owner probably has a personal guarantee clause in his lease, and the lease would have to be renegotiated anyway.

Bob agrees an asset purchase is the best alternative, the coffee shop owner understands that any purchaser will only want assets and not stock, and we are off and running on the first step to making Bob’s dream a reality.

 

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Would You Like to be Partners with your Partner's Spouse? http://victorlawfirm.com/2014/05/15/would-you-like-to-be-partners-with-your-partners-spouse/ http://victorlawfirm.com/2014/05/15/would-you-like-to-be-partners-with-your-partners-spouse/#respond Thu, 15 May 2014 20:04:21 +0000 http://longislandbusinesslawyer.com/?p=372 I have a business acquaintance named Fred, and Fred has a partner named Janet. They make a great team. Fred is a classic entrepreneur type, ready to go off in six directions at once as soon as an idea hits him. Janet keeps his feet on the ground. She’s great at systems, finances, and Fred... Read More »

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I have a business acquaintance named Fred, and Fred has a partner named Janet. They make a great team. Fred is a classic entrepreneur type, ready to go off in six directions at once as soon as an idea hits him. Janet keeps his feet on the ground. She’s great at systems, finances, and Fred loves having her as a partner. Together they have built a successful business.

Husband Wife Friends

(Photo credit: GoodNCrazy)

As far as Fred is concerned, Janet is perfect, except for one thing. She has a husband, Albert, who is a jerk. Over the years, he has held one job after another and doesn’t succeed at any. Fred suspects there may be a drinking problem. Occasionally, not often, Fred has overhead Janet crying in the bathroom. He has never talked to her about it, not wanting to intrude on a family matter.

Then one day, the unthinkable happened. Janet was returning from lunch on a rainy day. As she stepped into the crosswalk, a speeding car slammed on the brakes, skidded, and…Janet was killed in the accident.

Fred, meet your new partner, Albert. It was a real mess. Fred didn’t have the cash to buy-out Albert and pay Albert 50 percent of what the firm was worth. In any case, without Janet, it wasn’t clear at all what that value might be. At the same time, Fred felt he could not work with Albert. Fred visited a few banks, but nobody wanted to lend him the money to get rid of Albert.

All this could have been avoided if Fred and Janet had a “buy-sell agreement” as part of their partnership.  They could have purchased insurance on each other’s lives so they wouldn’t have to be partners with the other one’s spouse, or even worse, their partner’s children.  An agreement would have valued their business properly, so there was no long court battle as to what the business was worth to each of them.

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Now Playing: Kings Park: Stories from an American Mental Institution http://victorlawfirm.com/2014/03/05/now-playing-kings-park-stories-from-an-american-mental-institution/ http://victorlawfirm.com/2014/03/05/now-playing-kings-park-stories-from-an-american-mental-institution/#respond Wed, 05 Mar 2014 16:12:12 +0000 http://longislandspecialneedslawyer.com/?p=671 Description: A powerful and very personal documentary about the history and legacy of the Kings Park State Mental Hospital by Filmmaker and former patient Lucy Winer will be playing in Huntington at the Cinema Arts Theater, March 23rd, 2014 at 1PM.

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Description: A powerful and very personal documentary about the history and legacy of the Kings Park State Mental Hospital by Filmmaker and former patient Lucy Winer will be playing in Huntington at the Cinema Arts Theater, March 23rd, 2014 at 1PM.

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There is a Special Place in Hell http://victorlawfirm.com/2014/02/06/there-is-a-special-place-in-hell/ http://victorlawfirm.com/2014/02/06/there-is-a-special-place-in-hell/#respond Thu, 06 Feb 2014 17:43:29 +0000 http://longislandspecialneedslawyer.com/?p=668 Four employees of a Long Island group home have been fired and charged with endangerment for pitting two disabled individuals against each other, according to Newsday and News 12 Long Island. Cellphone video of the fight shows the four workers laughing. I think there is a special place in hell for those who are cruel... Read More »

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Four employees of a Long Island group home have been fired and charged with endangerment for pitting two disabled individuals against each other, according to Newsday and News 12 Long Island.

Cellphone video of the fight shows the four workers laughing.

I think there is a special place in hell for those who are cruel to the helpless — to children, or animals, or, in this case, the developmentally disabled. No doubt that is where these “aides” are headed. They won’t get any sympathy from me.

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Autism Speaks Celebrates 10 Amazing Individuals http://victorlawfirm.com/2014/02/01/autism-speaks-celebrates-10-amazing-individuals/ http://victorlawfirm.com/2014/02/01/autism-speaks-celebrates-10-amazing-individuals/#respond Sat, 01 Feb 2014 17:13:05 +0000 http://longislandspecialneedslawyer.com/?p=663 Recently, Autism Speaks wrote about ten individuals with autism who excelled last year, as taken from their most popular posts. This performance by Christopher, a young boy on the autism spectrum does a great rendition of Lean on Me: and here is another, of 6-year old piano prodigy Jacob, in concert: Enjoy!

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Recently, Autism Speaks wrote about ten individuals with autism who excelled last year, as taken from their most popular posts.

This performance by Christopher, a young boy on the autism spectrum does a great rendition of Lean on Me:

and here is another, of 6-year old piano prodigy Jacob, in concert:

Enjoy!

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You're Never Too Old to be Young (Snow White) http://victorlawfirm.com/2014/01/30/youre-never-too-old-to-be-young-snow-white/ http://victorlawfirm.com/2014/01/30/youre-never-too-old-to-be-young-snow-white/#respond Thu, 30 Jan 2014 20:14:40 +0000 http://www.longislandelderlawblog.com/?p=166 So many of my clients dread the thought of a nursing home.  Staying at home though, can be very isolating.  One German nursing home designed this calendar for loved ones of the residents, and all had a great time with the project! You can find all the great pictures here!

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So many of my clients dread the thought of a nursing home.  Staying at home though, can be very isolating.  One German nursing home designed this calendar for loved ones of the residents, and all had a great time with the project!

You can find all the great pictures here!ku-xlarge

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