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2019 brings legal changes to California businesses

The world of business is always changing -- especially as new laws take effect. In California, 2019 is bringing some important new changes that business owners need to note.

Here are some of the biggest things that could affect your business this year:

How do you protect against a product liability claim?

The moment you put a product on the market, you're exposing yourself to the risk of a product liability lawsuit. That fact is a just a byproduct of being in business in the first place.

What, then, can you do to lower the risk that your company will end up in a lawsuit over one of its products?

Make sure your employment contracts work well for your company

As California business owners know, contracts are an essential part of doing business. Contracts can also be a crucial aspect of maintaining healthy and productive relationships with your employees. It is in your interests to ensure that your business contracts are strong, enforceable and work well for the objectives for your business.

It could be prudent to review what's in your contracts, or if you do not have employee contracts, consider the benefits of these agreements. Having a legally enforceable agreement with your employees can reduce the chance for problems, outline the rights and responsibilities of each party and make it less likely that a legal dispute will arise in the future.

Buying a business: What to know before you sign

Are you contemplating buying an existing business?

Business owners sell perfectly successful enterprises all the time, so there's definitely a possibility that you've found a good deal. Sometimes, owners simply want to retire. Sometimes, an entrepreneur's creative energies just change course. Whatever the reason, you've got a golden opportunity to become your own boss, right?

Get help with the challenges of an international expansion

You don't have to be an industry giant to do business overseas. In fact, many small businesses expand into overseas markets simply because they're trying to lower their production costs or hoping to broaden their markets.

Before you get started on your international enterprises, however, it's smart to consider the top legal challenges you'll face, including:

Monster Energy sued for breach of contract

John John Florence, one of the best surfers in the world, has launched a high-profile lawsuit against the Monster Energy company in California. The celebrity surfer is suing for breach of contract over an verbal agreement that was later confirmed in an email from a company executive to compensate Florence for the use of his likeness.

Despite using Florence's likeness in its advertising since 2017, Monster has allegedly failed to properly compensate the surfer. Florence's representatives claim that the company agreed to retroactive payments but then mailed him a contract for his signature that was substantially different from that upon which they'd already agreed.

Do you need a “protector” on your trust's team?

When you establish a trust as part of your estate plans, you rely on your chosen trustee to follow your wishes and execute his or her duties as expected.

What happens, though, when a trustee doesn't quite work out as expected? Or, alternately, what happens when a beloved trustee dies or passes the reins to a successor trustee and the successor seems to be operating according to his or her own agenda -- not the will of the trust? What happens if the trustee seems to be milking the trust for personal gain through fees or other benefits? What sort of fail-safe can you provide your heirs -- since you won't be around to put a stop to abuses once they start?

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.

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