Professional responsibilities of a lawyer when dealing with family business issues

Family argument

Mixing family and business together might sound like a good idea, until it isn’t.

Many people tend to make the mistake of trusting family members completely until they let you down.

However, one of the most common reasons a lawyer is needed in a family business is when more than one family member inherits a business or its shares. To help you understand why hiring a lawyer is essential when you’re facing issues with your family business, let’s take a look at the professional responsibilities of lawyers who specialize in this type of case.

Understand Family Dynamics

It is a lawyer’s responsibility to understand the core values of the family business and try and resolve any conflict that goes against those core values. It is also their duty to consider the future of the business. Because a family lawyer has the grave responsibility of maintaining a civilized relationship between the family members and ensuring that while the best interest of the company is always considered, dealing with family business problems should be done without causing any more disputes or issues.

Resolve Conflicts

One of the major roles of a family lawyer when it comes to businesses is to resolve conflict. However, the conflicts that come up in family businesses can lead to war. One of the main reasons a lawyer may be needed in a family business dispute is when a divorce is happening. If both partners are co-founders, then besides the legal issues concerning their divorce, they also need to figure out how to divide the business, too.

Family laws vary by state, so if your family business is located in Scottsdale, for instance, then your lawyer should be locally-based in Arizona. This way, you can guarantee that the family law firm you hire will be able to give you the best legal guidance possible. In most cases, a lawyer will help one of the partners exit the business or try to come up with a solution that will be acceptable to both parties. However, if the lawyer used to represent the business, then it is important that they highlight the conflict of interest as they will not be able to represent both parties.

Protect Your Interests

If there’s one thing a lawyer should be doing, it’s always putting your interests first. A family lawyer will help you get what you want out of the company and avoid putting it at risk. Protecting your interests and that of the company are two of the main reasons why a family lawyer is essential, especially when things get ugly between family members. It is very easy to act on impulse, emotion, or to take things rather personally with family businesses. However, when the business is at stake, a family lawyer steps up and makes sure that your interests, as well as those of the company, are protected at all times.

Offer Honest Advice

There’s no point in lying or trying to sugarcoat the truth when it comes to family business issues. As a family lawyer, it is their duty to give you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. They should be straightforward about your legal situation and how the family issues you’re dealing with will affect you as well as the business. You’ll be able to get a clear idea of the entire situation, which will allow you to be level-headed and make smart, logical decisions based on the lawyer’s honest advice.

Act as a Mediator

Another reason why you could use a family lawyer is to resolve conflicts that arise when a family member passes away and leaves their enterprise as a form of inheritance.  A lawyer will try to mediate the shareholder dispute, trying to ensure that the company stays along the same path while resolving conflicts of strategy, power, and other family issues that could come up.

Instead of going to court, a family law mediation allows a family or divorced couple to handle a dispute amongst themselves. As an alternative to battling against each other, both parties work together along with the mediator in order to come up with the best possible outcome that both parties agree to. That way, they avoid going to court, saving a whole lot of money on court expenses.

There are many reasons why a family business could need a lawyer, and without one, things could get pretty ugly. To avoid matters getting out of hand and ensure that the business runs smoothly even when unforeseen events occur, having a family lawyer present is always a good idea.