Kajko, Weisman & Colasanti, LLP

Massachusetts And New Hampshire Law Blog

Tips for successful business succession planning

If you are a Massachusetts small business owner and you want see your business outlive you, there are certain steps you can take to streamline the business succession process and ensure that your desires come to fruition. Though business succession planning can prove relatively complex, you may find that protecting your life's work is well worth the time and effort. At Kajko, Weisman & Colasanti, LLP, we recognize how important crafting solid business succession plans can be, and we have helped many clients facing similar circumstances pursue solutions that fit their needs.

Per CNBC, one of the most common mistakes today's small business owners make when it comes to succession planning involves waiting too long to start the process. The process itself is often timely, so many financial planners recommend starting the process a good 10 years before you plan to retire. This gives you a long time to figure out exactly who you want to leave in charge and make sure they are up to the task.

Do I really have to think about business succession now?

Getting a business started is hard enough. There's so much to think about, plan for and predict that Massachusetts executives wear themselves out in the early days of entrepreneurship. If this sounds like you, and you have finally gotten your business up and running, all you want to think about is enjoying the transition into successful ownership. 

But there's something else you should be planning for. It might seem a little over the top since you have just gotten settled into your leadership role, but successful business owners need to plan ahead for the day when they will no longer be at the company's helm. 

Can you be fired for being pregnant?

If you are a female Massachusetts worker who answered "no" to the above question, thinking such a thing could not possibly happen in this day and age, you may wish to think again based on what recently happened to a pregnant Georgia employee. As reported by CNN, a woman employed in the Walmart Distribution Center in Atlanta developed morning sickness one day last summer while at work. The chain of events that followed is almost unbelievable, but nevertheless took place.

The woman requested permission from her male supervisor to take an early break to recover from her symptoms. Rather than responding in an understanding manner, he told her that her request constituted a "special privilege" requiring a note from her doctor. He also did not grant her permission to call her doctor and set up an appointment. When she finally saw her doctor, he gave her a note stating that she should refrain from doing any heavy lifting at work while pregnant.

When your business partner breaches a contract

Launching or operating a Massachusetts business with someone involves a certain level of trust, but what if your partner breaks that trust? Regrettably, business partners have disagreements and differing opinions all the time, but when your partner acts in such a manner that it breaks the terms of a legal contract, you may be able to hold him or her accountable. At Kajko, Wiseman & Colasanti, LLP, we understand that serious repercussions can result when your business partner breaks a contract, and we have helped many clients facing such circumstances pursue solutions that meet their needs.

Per Smallbusiness.Chron.com, you may have several different options at your disposal after your business partner breaches a contract. If you wish to expel your partner from the partnership, you must, in most cases, dissolve the entire partnership. However, you may be able to avoid doing so if you included language in your partnership agreement that says otherwise.

When health insurance companies shirk obligations: part 2

In a previous post, we discussed how insurance companies sometimes refuse to provide the compensation they promise subscribers. We also mentioned some of the options available for Massachusetts policyholders who feel duped by their health insurance providers. At Kajko, Weisman & Colasanti, LLP., we take contractual obligations seriously and are always willing to discuss how to deal with any possible breach of such.

No matter how large or how wealthy an insurance company becomes, we believe there is still a basic obligation to stay honest. Unfortunately, we see no shortage of clients coming to us with insurance disputes. While many health insurance providers are ethical and thorough with their policies and premiums, some others prey on consumers by offering impossibly low rates-- and then constructing elaborate technicalities allowing the company to avoid paying out any benefits. 

What documents should you have for a health insurance dispute?

One of the initial steps to appealing a rejected claim by your Massachusetts healthcare insurer is to file an internal appeal with the insurer. At this stage, you are appealing the decision to reject your claim with the company itself and are not seeking outside intervention. To assist your chances of prevailing in your appeal, Healthcare.gov details certain documents you should gather.

First, you need to show the insurer in documented form what you have been denied. This can be found in the Explanation of Benefits papers that your insurer provided. You would look for the section that explains either the payment that the insurer offered or the services that the insurer would provide. Additionally, you should keep copies of the internal review request that you sent your insurer.

How to identify and respond to workplace harassment

Enjoying what you do can contribute to your sense of well-being. Unfortunately, not all employers provide a healthy environment for their employees. For some people, going to work means facing unkind comments and inappropriate treatment from their coworkers or bosses. If you face a hostile work environment, you may wonder how to classify the behavior you are experiencing.


Ways to keep your assets safe from a divorce

Do you fear that a divorce may end up taking away a piece of land or a vehicle you love and cherish, or deplete you of much of your financial capital? While some couples may have this concern, even Massachusetts couples who do not even think divorce is a remote possibility have avenues available to protect their assets before a separation actually does occur.  

According to a piece run in Forbes, composing a prenuptial agreement is one way to ensure your assets will be protected. However, not all prenuptials are ironclad. A judge may invalidate a prenuptial agreement if it was signed under duress, or if not all the assets owned by a spouse are disclosed. The Forbes article recommends consulting with a knowledgeable lawyer to make sure the prenup can stand up to court challenges.

Can alimony be deducted on your taxes?

If you are someone who has recently undergone a divorce in Massachusetts and are required to pay alimony under a divorce settlement, one of the important questions you may have is whether you can deduct your alimony payments on your taxes. According to Findlaw, the answer is yes. Alimony can be deducted on the payer’s taxes because the other spouse receives the money as income. However, the payments you deduct on your tax form must actually qualify as alimony, as not all payments involved in a divorce actually can be counted as alimony or can be tax deducted.

The IRS states that payment qualifies as alimony if the payment meets certain conditions. These payments must be made under a divorce arrangement, whether it is a divorce decree, a written agreement of separation or a separation decree separate from the divorce decree. If the payment is made under these conditions, there are further requirements to follow. For example, a payment made under a divorce or separation decree must be made to the divorced or separated spouse, or at least for that person.

Can an ex stop alimony payments after retirement?

Under the new Massachusetts alimony reform laws, your spousal support agreement is likely to be written in such a way that regular payments stop after the supporting spouse retires. There are, however, certain exceptions and special cases.

The first major exception to your ability to execute post-retirement termination of alimony payments under the new law concerns modified judgments. If your divorce happened before 2012, the year the legislature enacted the reforms, then it is unlikely you or your spouse would be able to modify your agreement under the terms of the new law. 

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