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Tips for dealing with a homeowners association

Homeowners associations (HOAs) are popular because they help preserve property values. A good HOA can genuinely be an asset to your community.

An overly-restrictive or authoritarian HOA, however, can sometimes be a nightmare. Horror stories abound. That's why it's important to have a game plan if you intend to buy property in a development with an HOA.

Factors to consider before signing that commercial lease

Finding the right space for your company can be a complex and stressful process. Once you find the right building with a rent you can afford, it can be tempting to sign the lease as soon as possible, but that may not be the most prudent course of action. It is in your interests to carefully consider the terms of your lease before signing.

If you sign a lease without carefully reviewing the terms of the contract, you could be exposing your company to unnecessary financial loss and complications. Many California businesses find it beneficial to seek legal guidance before they commit to a lease. The well-being of your business is at stake, and it could be prudent to negotiate terms that will pave the way for a prosperous future in your leased space.

How to avoid big mistakes with your employee handbook

Crafting your first employee handbook for your small business can be an intimidating process -- but it's a smart move. A well-written employee handbook can improve communication, set expectations, protect your company legally and avoid major misunderstandings.

With that in mind, however, it's important to avoid certain mistakes:

Want small business success? Learn effective goal setting

Every successful business venture starts with a goal -- or a set of goals. However, effective goal setting is a learned skill -- not something that comes automatically to everyone.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take that make setting effective goals a breeze. They include:

Sweepstakes and contests online: A guideline for business owners

Online sweepstakes and contests are a great way to attract consumer interest and rev up some excitement about your company -- but it's important to understand the legal requirements of each. Otherwise, you could find your business in danger of some significant financial penalties.

Here are some basics about online promotions you should keep in mind:

Parking and reasonable accommodation for employees

What's your obligation, as a business owner, to provide parking for one of your employees with a medical condition that affects his or her mobility?

Like most things in the law: it depends.

Negotiating a severance with your employee

When it comes to letting employees go, some decisions are more difficult than others. Unfortunately, anytime you terminate an employee, you open your company to negative repercussions, including the potential for a lawsuit.

To minimize those consequences, some employers offer severance packages to employees they terminate. While severance packages are not mandatory when you fire a worker, you may find yourself in a situation where offering such a benefit is worth the trouble.

When should you contest a will?

If you disagree with the terms of a will, your first thought may be to mount a legal challenge against it -- but you have to have a valid reason. It isn't enough that you simply disagree with its terms.

Here are the most common reasons that you might contest a will:

Supreme Court declines to hear California real estate case

A California billionaire cannot make a public beach his own.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently refused to hear an appeal by the man, who wanted to gate off access that runs through his property to the small area known as Martins Beach in San Mateo County.

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