Austin Start-up Attorney

The decisions you make today will have lasting consequences and will set the course for the future of your business. We help start, purchase, fund, and sell business entities.

We allow you to focus on building and running your business.

“Solid business planning and execution.”

C. Lopez, Manager

Thoughtful legal counsel.

Small business owners need ongoing legal advice throughout the lifespan of their business. We understand your business, provide seamless communication, and ask the right questions to provide experience-driven guidance.

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We have helped business clients in Austin with start-up, acquisition, and restructuring companies. Whether you are seeking to buy an existing business are involved in the start-up of a small privately-held business, we have the experience, knowledge and skill to protect your interests.

“He has the experience, expertise, insight and he just gets it.”

N. Moore, CEO

Our latest articles.

Death of a Co-Founder

Many start-ups have co-founders. The idea is that the co-founder can help with the daily tasks and add needed skills to the team. Co-founders can also help keep each other accountable. They can also create complexities. One such complexity happens when a co-founder dies.

Those of you who know my story, know that I experienced this personally. It changed my life and was something that I was not prepared for and my co-founder’s family wasn’t either. I ended up working with the Austin probate attorneys at Kreig LLC to find a fair solution for all parties and wanted to share a few thoughts on how start-ups can help plan for the death of a co-founder.

Buy-Sell Terms & Agreements in Texas

Like it or not, if your business partner dies, you and your business will have to deal with it.

The starting point is to consider the terms of your business agreements. The agreement will vary depending on how the business is structured.

LLCs and partnerships will generally have buy-sell provisions included in the formation documents. This language is often baked into standard formation documents with little to no thought put into them. We’ll come back to these below since LLCs and partnerships are the default entities when the start-up does not form a corporation.

C corporations will usually have a stand-alone buy-sell document–assuming that the parties took the time to prepare one. Since these documents are not in the formation documents and one has to go somewhat out of their way to prepare them, they are usually custom and negotiated in advance. So we’ll skip these agreements for the purposes of this post.

The Standard Texas Buy-Sell Terms

The standard buy-sell language in Texas LLC and partnership agreements will usually be found in the dissolution section. The agreement may or may not include the death of a co-owner as a dissolution event.

If the term does include death as a triggering event, the language will often go on to say that the surviving owner is to buy out the deceased owner. It may even say how the price is to be determined and when the payments are to be made.

For example, the language may say that the price is book value, the current capital account balance, or even the current fair market value. The payment terms may provide for payment by a company-owned life insurance policy, a promissory note with payments over time, or some other arrangement.

You can see from these terms that, preferably, these are all things that should be negotiated when the parties start the business. Suffice it to say that this often does not happen, as was the case with my start-up. In fact, I’ll admit it, my start-up was like many others. It didn’t have any documents. Our focus was on getting the business going, and legal compliance was put on the back burner.

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