VanAntwerp Attorneys, LLP
Phone: 606-618-0698

Ashland, Kentucky, Legal Blog

Is your company using restrictive employment agreements well?

Employment restrictions such as noncompete and nondisclosure agreements are popular with many employers. While they can limit the loss of important data, proprietary information, and key personnel, however, they do have downsides.

Most employers don't really want to keep employees who aren't happy, but restrictive employment agreements can have that effect. Current and prospective employees may resent or oppose them because they place limitations on their longer-term job prospects.

Estate planning in the digital age includes your digital assets

With effective estate planning, you may be able to transfer assets cost-effectively, reduce estate tax burden and limit the need for probate. It can grant authority to act on your behalf should you become incapacitated. Ideally, it would give access to everything necessary to manage and transfer your assets.

What about your digital assets, though? Emails, social media and online financial accounts are crucial to most people in modern life. Unfortunately, the law has not kept up with the digital age. It's currently not clear that a traditional estate plan grants the legal right to use these accounts.

What you need for a successful unemployment insurance protest

Unnecessary unemployment insurance claims hurt your bottom line. If you believe one of your former workers should be disqualified from receiving UI benefits, you should file a protest with the Division of Unemployment Insurance. If you don't file a protest, your reserve account will be charged.

That said, you must include the right information in your protest or it will be denied. Plus, the information must be fully documented and backed up by specific, uniformly enforced policies.

What constitutes due diligence when buying a business? Part 2

In our last post, we began a list of due diligence questions to ask when purchasing an existing business. Today, we add additional examples of what you should cover to ensure you aren't taken by surprise.

What product and service lines are there? Gain a thorough understanding of existing, developing and legacy products and services offered by the company, along with any warranties, regulatory approvals or disapprovals, tests, studies, surveys or major complaints.

What constitutes due diligence when buying a business? Part 1

When you buy an existing business, you probably know that "due diligence" is your responsibility. That basically means finding out all the relevant information about the business -- everything you would need to know to run the company and to live up to its current obligations, which you will be assuming.

A small business attorney can be an asset in the due diligence process because they have experience performing this crucial obligation. To get you started, however, we will be covering the basics of due diligence over our next two posts. This is not meant as an exhaustive list of everything you should consider during due diligence, but it can give you an idea of what questions to ask and the level of detail required.

What is an advance healthcare directive?

Benjamin Franklin famously claimed that "nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." Estate planning, in fact, addresses both of what this founding father believed to be inevitable. Not only does your estate plan include finances and tax strategy to help your beneficiaries, but it can also determine the events in your final moments.

Your plan could include an Advance Healthcare Directive (also called Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment), which helps your loved ones and doctors make critical decisions about your health. If you were unable to express your own wishes, this document will ensure that you will receive care that matches your requests. Many people find comfort in knowing exactly what will happen ahead of time.

Internal company chat systems raise legal concern

Employers who manage sensitive client information or business strategies want to safeguard data from the public eye. Most companies set security systems in place to prevent leaks, but certain methods could backfire.

We have previously discussed how social media impacts the workplace, but now internal corporate chat systems are also gaining attention in the news. Some of these messaging platforms delete conversations too soon, risking liability for legal issues.

Time spent working via cellphone may be compensable overtime

Are your employees in the habit of checking in after hours via cellphone, instant messenger or email? Are they tracking their hours? They should be. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employees must be paid for all work they perform that the employer knows or should know about.

Surely a few after-hours emails don't add up to enough time to matter, right? Courts have found a "de minimis," exception to the FLSA, which allows very small amounts of time to be ignored when it's impractical to record it due to industrial realities. However, employers may not simply choose to ignore time worked because it occurred in small increments. If the time is more than what would be considered "de minimum," the time may be compensable.

Resolve to complete your estate planning

You may have thought about elements of estate planning in the past year, perhaps after you filed IRA paperwork or received a new life insurance benefit at work, but those thoughts probably got pushed aside by the events of the day.

Estate planning can be intimidating because, in our busy lives, it seems like a huge task to grapple that will take lots of time to accomplish. However, with expert advice, estate planning can be relatively straightforward. There are several reasons that you should resolve to complete your estate planning this year.

New tax law will change treatment of alimony payments

The tax law Congress passed last month will have a direct impact on couples who divorce in 2019 or later. It may also have an indirect impact on negotiations taking place now. The new law ends the 75-year-old tax deduction for alimony, which is called "maintenance" in Kentucky.

Under current law, maintenance payments are tax deductible by the payer and considered taxable income for the recipient. Both of those rules will change for divorces initiated after Dec. 31 of this year, according to the Associated Press. The change treats alimony more like child support, which is neither taxable income to the recipient nor tax deductible by the payer.

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