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5 reasons for contracts when you go into business with family

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2024 | BUSINESS & COMMERCIAL LAW - Business & Commercial Law

It can be profitable to start a business with a family member in Florida. However, it has its risks.

For example, the question of whether contracts are necessary might arise. While it may seem natural to trust family implicitly, clear agreements are still necessary.

1. Offer clarity in business relationships

Clear agreements delineate each party’s roles, responsibilities and expectations within the business. Without such agreements, misunderstandings can easily arise. Contracts provide a written record of the terms all parties agreed on. They cut down on the chances of confusion or disputes.

2. Protect assets and investments

By outlining ownership stakes, financial contributions and profit-sharing arrangements, contracts safeguard everyone’s interests. If disagreements or a change in circumstances occur, a well-drafted contract offers a map for resolving disputes and protecting each party’s investments.

3. Comply with legal requirements

Small businesses make up about 99.8% of Florida businesses. Certain activities these businesses undertake may require specific legal agreements. This ensures compliance with state laws and regulations.

For example, partnerships and joint ventures often require written agreements. They should outline the rights and obligations of each party. Failure to follow legal requirements could result in fines, penalties or even legal action. This jeopardizes the success of the business.

4. Plan for the future

Contracts can address considerations such as succession planning, buyout options and exit strategies. By addressing these issues upfront, family members may ensure a smooth transition in the event of retirement, disability or other circumstances.

5. Build trust and transparency

It may be tempting to rely solely on verbal agreements or trust when doing business with family. However, formal contracts show a commitment to transparency and professionalism. By documenting agreements in writing, family members can build trust and confidence in their business relationships. This fosters a sense of security and stability.

Family members in Florida should consider the benefits of formal contracts to promote the long-term success of their business.