Documents for Startup Businesses Nationwide
The 8 Documents You Need to Have in Place When You Go Into Business
Going into business for yourself can be a two-edged sword. On the one hand, you’ll get to be your own boss, with maximum control over your success or failure and your future. On the other hand, it requires attention to many different details, including all the necessary legal steps to optimize your chances of success. Here are what we consider to be the eight most important legal documents you need to execute before or as soon as possible after starting a new business:
- A non-disclosure agreement — If you have any proprietary information—formulas, processes, customers, materials or ways of doing business—it’s essential that you have an attorney prepare a legal document, to be signed by anyone with access to that information, preventing them from disclosing that information without authorization.
- Assignment of intellectual property (IP) rights — If your business relies on patents, trademarks, copyrights or trade secrets, make certain that the company has full ownership of that intellectual property. You’ll want to have essential technology IP assigned before you form the business. You’ll also want it clearly stated that any work product of employees is intellectual property owned by the business.
- A statement of ownership of assets — Particularly if you are using freelance employees to complete some work, it’s critical to be clear about who owns all property.
- By-laws — If you set up a corporation, it’s critical to develop and implement by-laws identifying rights, powers and responsibilities of all parties.
- Operating agreement — If you choose to establish a limited liability company, you’ll want an operating agreement, which serves the same function as by-laws for a corporation.
- Employment contracts — Particularly for key employees, you’ll want an employment contract in place, which clearly specifies the terms of employment, including rights and responsibilities. Without an employment agreement, your workers may be considered to have “employment at will,” which means they can terminate at any time for any reason, provided it’s not in violation of law or public policy.
- Release or waiver of liability — This document states that you are not responsible for certain contingencies that cause harm or injury to others, including employees or customers. They typically vary from business to business.
- Shareholder agreements — If you plan to issue stock, you’ll want documents in place that identify the rights and obligations of those individuals who own stock.
At MCIS Law, PLLC, we advise and can help prepare documents for startup business owners throughout Texas and across the country. For a confidential meeting with an experienced lawyer, contact our office online or call us at 346-297-0121. We accept all major credit cards.
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