Business Plans for the Future

Business Plans for the FutureAn important part of business planning is to ensure that a business may continue operating after the owner is gone. This includes a financial cushion that will pay expenses that one should anticipate as part of running a small business.

This type of planning is difficult, however, a small business attorney can help. Planning for a small business takes time, experience and small business owners must ensure that they have the right champion on their corner.

In Kohlenbrener v. North Suburban Clinic, the court faced the issue of whether an agreement between a business owner and his attorney survived the owner’s death. The owner hired the attorney to help with a business dispute. As part of the original attorney-client agreement, the owner agreed to pay $30,000 retainer, with hourly fees kicking in until the parties executed a new fee agreement.  The owner passed away before the litigation was over.

Eventually, the estate of the deceased owner decided to accept an offer to settle all claims for the sum of $100,000. The offer of settlement provided that one-third of the settlement would go to pay plaintiff’s attorney for fees incurred as part of the litigation. While the plaintiff’s estate representative was inclined to accept the terms of the settlement, she argued that the original agreement between the owner and the attorney governed and the attorney fees were limited to the original $30,000 retainer that the owner already paid the attorney.

The attorney argued that the original agreement became void once the owner died, and any new recovery was subject to the customary one-third fee for such cases.

Despite the attorney’s eloquent argument, the judge found that the parties’ agreement covered the litigation of the business dispute and was unrelated to the death. As such, the attorney was not entitled to one-third of the settlement.

Proper business planning takes time, hard work and trust. Do not do it alone; consult a trusted Illinois business attorney.