In business, some things are easier to let fall by the wayside than others. Debt comes with debtors, who chase unpaid accounts. Employees let you know which matters need your attention. Customers provide constructive feedback that helps you improve your services. But when it comes to the legal protection of your business, there are few people – if any – raising a red flag to get your attention. And while every business has varying legal requirements, there are three essential documents every business owner needs for legal security.
1. An IP Agreement
Intellectual property (IP) refers to a range of different, legally enforceable rights that arise from the productive new ideas you create. It can be an invention, logo, design, brand, or the application of your idea – basically, anything that makes you different from the competition. IP rights exist in many forms, and each type of IP provides different competitive advantages. Once you have legally protected your IP, you can acquire an IP Agreement. This document can be used to show investors and shareholders that you own your IP.
2. A Will & Power of Attorney
Every business owner needs a business-specific version of these documents. A Will takes effect when you die, and can cover things like how your business will be run going forward and how your family will be supported by it. A Will is not a substitute for a business Power of Attorney, because a Will only comes into operation after a person dies. Appointing someone as your business Power of Attorney gives them the legal authority to act on behalf of your business.
3. Contracts for key partnerships
Contracts make interactions and collaborations with others easier and keep your business protected legally. Think about the relationships you and your business has with key people and businesses – such as suppliers, employees, clients, contractors. And consider the type of legal contract that will keep you protected. Common types of contracts include confidentiality agreements, contractor and employee contracts.
Once these important documents are in place, make sure they are reviewed regularly – once a year is a good idea. Use a trusted and professional legal professional to help you develop and maintain these documents.
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