Our Services include:
Business law matters:
“The three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense.”
Including appropriate business structures, company formations and business set-up documents, the sale and purchase of businesses, and business leases.
There are a number of different ways to set up and run a small business, such as sole trading, by way of a limited liability company or through a partnership. Each of these vehicles can have different legal and tax consequences. For example, if you are in or intend to enter into business with another person, you must give consideration to capital contributions, profit split, what is to happen if one of you wishes to get out of the business, taking on staff etc.
“A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.”
It is a fact of life now that many businesses are based on a licence or franchise from another party. These contracts always impose obligations on you in terms of fees, ongoing royalties, performance obligations, reporting etc. It is folly to enter into such documents without obtaining legal and, in most cases, accounting advice.
We have extensive experience in advising on, negotiating and drafting many types of commercial business documents, such as licence and royalty agreements, franchise agreements, distribution agreements and joint venture arrangements.
“Employment, sir, and hardships prevent melancholy”
Involving the hiring of staff or redundancies or dismissals, or the wording of employment agreements. In our experience, taking on staff or dismissing them are some of the most difficult areas in business. It is vital to ensure the requirements of the Employment Relations Act, the Holidays Act and other relevant statutes, plus the law interpreting those Acts, are met. The consequences if they are not can be severe.
We are able to provide employment contracts for staff and advice on taking on temporary or part-time employees or employees on trial.
“Don't buy the house, buy the neighbourhood”.
All property transactions, including residential and commercial sales and purchases, mortgages, refinancing, commercial leases, subdivisions. Advice on all types of titles, including fee simple, cross leases and unit titles.
Family Trust Advice and Formation:
“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.”
We recommend this is done in conjunction with your accountant. If you wish to transfer your family home or any other asset which is subject to a mortgage or finance, into the trust, you will need to instruct a lawyer who operates a trust account to complete that part of the transaction.
It is important to ensure that on set-up and thereafter, trust documents are properly drafted, signed and recorded. The most important single reason for setting up a trust is to protect assets (see section on Trusts). If at any time a trust is challenged or questioned, or you need to prove when gifting has been carried out (eg, on application for a rest home subsidy) it is essential to be able to produce documents which prove the dates of all gifting and signed resolutions and other documents.
We recommend legal advice before any significant action involving you in a contractual or financial commitment is made, and this is particularly important in respect of trusts.
Intellectual property protection and advice:
“Intellectual property has the shelf life of a banana.”
New Zealand is a nation of inventive people and it is common to met someone who not only has a great idea but who has developed technology based on that idea. This raises intellectual property issues such as patent, copyright and trade mark protection.
Further, it is often beyond the financial means of an inventor to develop a product. This means that financial assistance must be sought from third parties. This process often involves difficult negotiations and complex documentation, and you are ill-advised to “go it alone” in this process.
Wills and Powers of Attorney:
"Dying is a very dull, dreary affair. And my advice to you is to have nothing whatever to do with it."
W. Somerset Maugham.
Succession planning is an important job for all of us. In our experience, if a person dies without a will or with a will which is not up-to-date, there may be a serious impact on family relationships after the death of the person concerned. Most of these consequences can be avoided by a will which reflects the current circumstances in the testator’s life. Further, there remain in New Zealand statutes which protect the rights of a testator’s immediate family. The consequences of ignoring those can be severe.
If you’re thinking of setting up a family trust, we always advise that your will needs to be redrafted to tie in with the trust.