Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Estate Planning for Business Owners – 3 Things to Think About

At Gibbons Law Firm in Lake Ozark, we have a lot of respect for small business owners.  We have helped numerous business owners with legal advice on starting and structuring their businesses and have provided guidance on estate planning for their businesses as well.  There is a lot to consider when it comes to deciding what will happen to your business if you were no longer around to run it. We know when you own a business, you put your heart and soul into it.  Quite possibly, your family’s financial well-being depends on its success. That is why we wanted to dedicate this week’s blog to estate planning for business owners at the Lake of Ozarks.  If you are a business owner and want to know what you should be thinking about in order to determine what will happen to the company you worked so hard to create, keep reading this blog!  

1) Who will own your business

The first thing to think about is who do you want to own your business.  Without an estate plan, it will most likely go to a close relative or spouse.  But if your family is not very involved in the business or would not know how to run it or sell it for a good price, that may be more of a burden for them. You have the option of naming an executor or trustee who is more knowledgeable about how to handle the finances of the business. Or, if you have business partners, you may want them to buy out your part of the business.  If so, it may be advisable for the partners to have life insurance on the other partners to provide funds for such a buy-out if one partner dies.  Either way, it will be important for you to have your wishes legally documented.

2) Who will run your business

If you do not have partners who will buy out your portion of the company, and you do not have a family member who is willing or able to run your business, you will want to choose a potential successor.  You will want to communicate with that person and include them in the decision, of course.  You will also want to create a plan for that person to follow for a smooth transition.  They will need access to important documents and accounts, insurance policies, financial information, access to online accounts, etc. and all that information should be well organized and in a convenient location.  In addition, providing training for that successor will be key to helping them successfully navigate their new role.

3) Probate & Estate Taxes

It is well worth the planning to avoid having your business go through probate.  Many businesses don’t survive the loss of an owner because of the estate tax burden that is incurred when the estate is inherited by a family member.  Sometimes the business must be liquidated to pay that tax liability in time.  With proper tax and legal considerations, there are ways to give the business more time to pay that tax and potentially avoid a quick and pressured sale.

Have the Peace of Mind that a Business Estate Plan Can Bring!

If you are ready to get started creating your business estate plan, then call our Lake Ozark law firm today to schedule your first consultation.  It is free!  Your business has always been a top priority for you, protecting it in the event that something unexpected happens to you should be a priority as well.  Just as you are intimately familiar with running your business, GibbonsLaw Firm is very familiar with how to protect your company with a comprehensive business estate plan.  Let us bring our expertise to the table for you.  Speak with one of our experienced Lake Ozark estate planning attorneys right away!  To stay up to date on our latest announcements, please follow us on our social media channels below.  


Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.


Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049


(573) 348-2211

Follow us on...

Thursday, November 18, 2021

7 Tips for Staying Safe on the Roads During the Holiday Season

As we are approaching the holiday season, more people will be out on the roads traveling to see family or to take care of holiday errands.  As personal injury attorneys at the Lake of the Ozarks, we know how devastating car accidents can be. At Gibbons Law Firm,  we want the 2021 holiday season to be a safe and festive time for you, so we thought we would share a few tips with you to stay safer on the roads as you are traveling.  If you are interested in ways to stay safe this holiday season, keep reading this blog! 

1) Plan Ahead and Slow Down

It is so easy to get into a rush during this time of the year, but it is just not worth it.  Plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time in case you run into construction or other delays.  Avoid the urge to speed as it can not only increase your chances of being in an accident, it can cause the damage from an accident to be exponentially worse.

2) Look Around

It is important to always pay attention when driving. Sometimes you even have to pay attention for the other drivers on the road.  Be aware of your surroundings including blind spots, what’s behind you, and even what's on the sides of the road. Remember to stay out of other drivers’ blind spots as well. 

3) Defensive Driving

Just because you have the right of way does not necessarily mean the other driver knows or will respect that.  So, while you are paying attention and looking around, be thinking about how to react if other drivers don’t do what they are supposed to e.g. signal, yield, stop.  Having that in your mind will allow you to respond more quickly if something unexpected happens.

4) Keep Your Distance

Leaving stopping distance between you and the car ahead of you can give you just enough buffer time to avoid an accident.  It is recommended to leave 3 seconds of time between you and the other car.  While you are driving, pick a tree or sign or another object, and when the car in front of you passes it, start counting.  See how long it takes for you to pass it, and then adjust until you have 3 seconds of distance.

5) No Distractions

Not allowing yourself to be distracted can be extra challenging this time of the year. Everyone knows the dangers of texting or using your phone while driving.  Yet people do it anyway.  It is easy to underestimate the risks of eating or adjusting the radio or heat behind the wheel, but it only takes a few seconds of taking our eye off the road to cause a collision. Even talkative passengers or things going on outside of your vehicle can cause distractions.  Your safety is worth the discipline, so just stay focused.

6) Adjust to Weather Conditions

Weather conditions like rain or snow and ice can cause your car to handle very differently.  You may lose traction on curves or slide when braking more easily in such conditions.  By recognizing changing weather conditions and making mental adjustments you increase your stopping distance and slow your speeds when appropriate.  Also, consider having an emergency kit in case you get stranded in bad weather. 

7) Don’t Drink and Drive

We know this is a festive time and you want to celebrate with your loved ones.  But we cannot overemphasize the importance of drinking responsibly.  If you cannot find a designated driver, opt for an Uber or taxi.  With the days getting shorter, the deer hazards, and the fact that many people will be driving in unfamiliar areas, drinking and driving is a terrible mix.

Have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving from Gibbons Law Firm!

Our Mid-Missouri personal injury attorneys want this to be a happy and safe time for you and your family.  We hope you find these tips helpful as you travel during the holidays.  If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a car accident because of another driver’s negligence, call our attorneys in LakeOzark. We can help them get the compensation they deserve and need to recover.  You can reach Gibbons Law Firm at (573)348-2211 and your initial consultation is free. To keep up with the latest news and tips, be sure to follow us on our social media channels listed below!


Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.


Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049


(573) 348-2211

Follow us on...

Thursday, November 11, 2021

When Should You Consider Getting a Prenup? 3 Examples to Consider

Talking about prenups or prenuptial agreements can be uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to mean that the couple getting married doubts the marriage.  It is more of a way to eliminate the fear of the unknown.  As lawyers in the Lake of the Ozarks, we cannot forget that 50% of marriages end in divorce.  While prenups are not necessary for all situations, there are some specific situations when it might be a good idea to consider them.  If you are engaged to be married and would like to know your options and seek advice for your situation, call Gibbons Law firm today to schedule a free consultation.  If you are interested in learning 5 reasons why someone may want to get a prenuptial agreement, keep reading this blog.

1) Do You Have Children from a Previous Marriage?

It can bring a lot of peace of mind to your kids to know their interests are being protected as well.  You may have preexisting assets or family heirlooms that you want to go to your children, and that may not happen without a prenuptial agreement that specifies what assets will go directly to your children (rather than your spouse e.g.) if you were to pass away.  Our experienced lawyers at Lake of the Ozarks can help guide you in the options you have for looking out for your children with a prenuptial agreement.

2) Will Your Fiance Be Bringing a Lot of Debt to the Marriage?

If your significant other has accumulated a lot of debt prior to you getting together, you might consider a prenup to establish that they are responsible for that debt, and not you.  Without a formal agreement, you may be taking on all the debt that your fiancé has as soon as you are legally married. 

3) Do you Own a Business?

Someone who has spent years of their life creating a business and establishing a livelihood and reputation as a business person may be reluctant to risk losing half of what they have worked for.  A prenup can provide some security in that situation.

4) Do you Expect to Receive a Large Inheritance or Have a Retirement Plan?

If you know that you are likely to receive a valuable inheritance of money or assets, it is likely the person leaving that to you would only include your fiancé in the event you were together.  Getting a prenup is a way to protect their wishes.

5) Do you Earn Significantly More Money Than Your Fiance?

Of course, you are willing to bring your financial assets to the marriage as a partner, but if you were no longer with your fiancé, would you be prepared to give up part of your income to him/her for life if you divorce and are required to pay alimony?  That is another example of how a prenuptial agreement can be used to safeguard your current and future money and/or assets.

Have Questions About Prenups?  

At Gibbons Law Firm, we are here to help.  Our mid-Missouri attorneys can help make the conversation easier and walk you through the process.  When it comes to whether or not to get a prenuptial, it is a personal decision and an important decision that should be made with the proper information. In so many ways in life, we think it is best to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.  If you would like to talk with an attorney at our Lake Ozark Law Firm, call the number below to schedule a free consultation.  


Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.


Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049


(573) 348-2211

Follow us on...

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Estate Planning – A Basic Checklist

While it may seem uncomfortable to think about what will happen when you pass, perhaps it is better to consider the question “In what ways can I still be there for my loved ones even after I am gone?”  At Gibbons Law Firm we know that having a good estate plan in place is an act of love.  But far too many people put it off … not because they think it is not important, they know it is.  But they put it off because they think it is going to be too awkward.  

Our estate planning attorneys at the Lake of the Ozarks are familiar with the estate planning process and skilled at guiding our clients through with comfort and ease.  We are here to help make the idea of estate planning a little less intimidating for you.  So, we want to share a short checklist of things you will need for your estate plan, so you don’t feel overwhelmed, or delay any longer.  If you do not yet have an estate plan, keep reading this blog to learn how to get started gathering the things you will need!



1) Assets

You will want to start a list of your assets.  Think about properties like your house, and car(s), bank accounts, life insurance policies, retirement plans, etc.  Also consider valuables like jewelry, guns, coin collections, and such.  But keep in mind, some families have more conflict over personal items like photographs or sentimental things so it can be good to include those in your estate plan as well.  The less you leave open for debate the more peaceful it may be.



2) Liabilities

Having a list of your liabilities is also helpful.  Include any mortgage(s) or lines of credit, and other loans or debts that you are responsible for.

 

3) Needs

What are the needs of your family now and in the future?  That will be an important question to direct where your assets will go.  For example, how much will be needed to cover your children’s care and educational needs?  Does your life insurance policy reflect those needs?   Who will be a guardian to your children?  You will want to name someone who you have talked to and is in agreement; and have a backup if possible.

 

4) Beneficiaries

Who do you wish to inherit your assets?  Designating who gets what, or how things will be distributed, can save your family a lot of time, money, frustration (and potential conflict). 

 

5) Directives

Outlining your wishes and naming the people who will represent you if you are unable is another key part of estate planning.  Your Mid-Missouri estate planning attorney will help you document your medical wishes with a medical care directive, and help you assign power of attorney or limited power of attorney based on your needs and wishes. Your attorney will know and guide you if there are other directives needed for your personal situation and can advise you as you decide on who these important representatives should be.


Call Gibbons Law Firm to Schedule an Appointment!

Getting an estate plan in place is not as daunting as it may seem.  If you have been avoiding the conversation about what will happen when you pass away, but know it is something you really should get taken care of, Gibbons Law Firm understands.  It is our goal to make the entire experience easy and stress free and we know just how to do it with the right team of legal experts to walk you through the process.    If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact our law firm in Lake Ozark for a free consultation.  Be sure to follow us on our social media channels listed below for more tips and helpful information! 


Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.


Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049


(573) 348-2211

Follow us on...

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Having Fun and Staying Safe This Halloween - 3 Things to Look Out For

Halloween is a fun time for kids of all ages … and adults as well.  Unfortunately, it is also a time of year when accidents happen at a higher rate.  Our Lake of the Ozarks law firm knows that with a little thought and effort, there are many ways to reduce your risk of something bad happening.  We also believe it is well worth the effort.  Gibbons Law Firm has represented clients in various personal injury cases at the Lake of the Ozarks and knows quite well how devastating an accident can be for everyone involved.  This Halloween, there are sure to be some distracted pedestrians out and about.  Likewise, there are likely to be some distracted drivers, or worse, those who are impaired.  So, it is all the more important for you to be extra vigilant to keep yourself and others safe on one of the most fun nights of the year.  If you want to learn what to look out for and how to stay safe this Halloween, keep reading this blog.

1) Distracted Kiddos

As much as parents look out for their kids, teach them to walk on the sidewalks and look both ways before crossing the street … kids tend to forget all these rules when they are excited.  Candy and costumes are just too much of a distraction, and sometimes, kids will dart across an alleyway or a parking lot, or a road.  So, when driving on Halloween night, watch very carefully for children walking on the roadways or curbs.  Even if they are on the sidewalk, be prepared in case they move suddenly into the roadway.  Enter driveways and cross alleys slowly and carefully and be on the lookout for kids in dark clothing or costumes. 

If you are taking your kids out trick or treating, make sure they are carrying flashlights or glow sticks.  It also helps to use reflectors or reflective tape to help them stand out to drivers.  Check your child’s costume to make sure it fits properly and does not create a trip hazard or fire risk. Always opt for non-toxic face paint over masks, when possible, to avoid blocking your child’s vision.  Also, even though you will be with them, it is a great opportunity to teach and remind your kids to never go into someone else’s house unless you know them well and trust them.

2) Distracted Adults

Drivers on Halloween may have their own plans for the evening and may be as focused on those as the kiddos are on trick or treating.  Adults, you too, should make sure your costume does not interfere with your vision or mobility while driving.  Keep your eye on the road AND on the side of the road looking for pedestrians and any other seasonal hazards like deer.  Don’t allow things like your passengers, your cell phone, the radio, or anything else to take your attention away from driving, not even for a few seconds.  It only takes about 4-5 seconds to travel the distance of a football field when driving.  Your diligence can be the key to avoiding a personal injury case at the Lake of the Ozarks this Halloween. 

3) Drunk Drivers

It is sad to say, but around 40% of fatal car accidents occurring on Halloween each year involved at least one drunk driver.  It is a popular night for parties and drinking, to be sure.  But that does NOT mean it is ok to drive after drinking.  Having a designated driver is a must if you plan to drink at a Halloween party.  Otherwise, limiting your alcohol intake or just abstaining entirely is the right choice.

Happy Halloween from Gibbons Law Firm!

At Gibbons Law Firm, we hope you find these reminders helpful as you plan for a fun-filled weekend.  It is our hope that you are never involved in a serious accident, but if you find yourself in that position, please do not hesitate to call our Mid-Missouri Law Firm.  No matter what your involvement may be, you need legal advice and representation.  All you have to do is call our office at the number below.  Your first consultation is always free. We hope you have a SAFE and Happy Halloween from Gibbons Law Firm!


Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.


Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049


(573) 348-2211

Follow us on...

Thursday, October 21, 2021

How to Avoid Distracted Driving – 3 Things to Consider

Distracted driving results in about 3,000 deaths each year in the United States, and sadly, that means 3,000 avoidable deaths.  It only takes about 4.6 seconds to travel the length of a football field at highway speed, and that is the average time it takes to send or read a text. You wouldn’t just close your eyes while driving down the highway and feel safe about it, but effectively that is what you are doing when you take your eyes off the road with any distraction.  As your Lake of the Ozarks lawyer, we know the importance of staying focused when you are behind the wheel.  In this week’s blog, Gibbons Law Firm will talk about some of the most common causes of distracted driving and what you can do to avoid them.  If you are interested in keeping you and your loved ones safer by being aware of distractions while driving, keep reading this blog!

1) What Causes It

Just about anything can be a distraction if we allow it to take our attention away from the road.  But there are some really common ones that cause most distracted driving accidents at the Lake of the Ozarks, and some of them you might not really think about. They include mental distractions, visual distractions, and manual distractions.  

Mental distractions are things that take your mind off the road like talking to passengers on the phone, thinking or daydreaming, being angry or upset, focusing on kids or pets in the car, and of course, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  

Visual Distractions involve things that take your eyes off the road such as adjusting the radio or cabin temperature, looking at your GPS, reaching for items in the car, looking at yourself in the mirror, sightseeing, or looking at a traffic accident.  

Manual distractions are things that take your hands off the wheel such as eating, grooming, reacting to spilling something, smoking, looking in your wallet or purse, and again, using your cell phone or GPS.

2) Consequences

While distracted driving may not always involve something that is technically illegal, there can still be some very serious legal consequences for doing it.  If you injure someone because you are negligent behind the wheel you may face a wide range of penalties including the risk of being sued. Even worse, if it causes a fatal accident you will have to deal with knowing that you have taken someone else’s life and everything that comes with that. On the other hand, if you are the victim of someone else’s distracted driving, it is important for you to know your rights by contacting an experienced personal injury attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks.

3) How to Avoid It

Distracted driving is avoidable.  Just setting some ground rules and developing good habits can help you avoid many of these hazards.  First, plan ahead.  Before you even put your car in gear enter the address in your GPS.  Take care of any texts or phone calls ahead of time and consider using an app that disables your phone from making or receiving calls or texts while you are driving. Once you start down the road, be mindful and stay focused.  Don’t spend your windshield time trying to solve problems or thinking about work or the kids. Avoid getting behind the wheel when you are emotionally upset or angry, and never drive when you are tired.  People that wouldn't think about drinking and driving may drive while tired not realizing it can be as dangerous as driving under the influence.  Overall, the more defensively you drive, the safer it is for you and everyone else on the road with you.  You will be less likely to be distracted, and more able to react if someone else is not paying attention.


Our law firm at the Lake of the Ozarks encourages everyone to stay focused and keep their eyes on the road.  Distracted driving is not worth risking, and with just a firm mindset and good habits, it is completely avoidable.  If you find yourself in an accident due to a distracted driver, Gibbons Law Firm can help guide you through the legal process and present your case.  For a free consultation regarding your personal injury case in mid-Missouri, schedule an appointment with us today!  For more legal news and information follow us on social media using the channels listed below. 


Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.




Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049
(573) 348-2211

Follow us on...

Thursday, October 14, 2021

3 Common Personal Injury Claims and How Gibbons Law Firm Can Help

Personal Injury Law has to do with situations where someone has suffered harm due to the actions of others.  The harm may be physical, emotional, or mental and is usually the result of negligence, meaning the harm was not intended.  But even if it is an accident, when the person who is harmed is facing medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering, they need and deserve compensation from the person or entity that is responsible for the harm.

In the United States, statistics show that accidental injuries and medical errors (medical malpractice) are the third leading cause of death in the nation.  That is an alarming number and means that millions of people are affected by personal injuries each year.  At GibbonsLaw Firm, we advocate for those who have been injured to help them obtain the settlement they are entitled to.  If you would like to learn more about common personal injury cases, how to avoid them and what to do if you are a victim of one, and how a personal injury attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks can help, keep reading this blog!  We are going to talk more specifically about 3 common personal injury claims.

1) Car accident

Technically, this can include accidents involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, pedestrians, or buses, and who is at fault will be a central part of the case.  Sadly, many personal injury cases involving car accidents could have been avoided if the drivers had not been distracted by their phones, their GPS, the radio, eating, or even grooming.  It only takes a fraction of a second to change someone else’s life.  Paying attention is the best prevention.  If you are the victim of a car accident that was not your fault, and an insurance company offers you a quick settlement, it may be well below what you should receive, especially if your injuries are life-changing.  Having an attorney looking out for your best interests can significantly increase your chances of effectively proving who was at fault and being properly compensated by an insurance company.

2) Slip and Fall

When a property owner allows dangerous hazards to exist on their premises and those hazards result in someone getting hurt, the property owner can be considered negligent and be at fault.  It is not assumed that the fall was just clumsiness or not paying attention on the part of the victim.  The fall happened for a reason, maybe it was a slippery surface that should have been cleaned, or a broken handrail, a missing board on a walkway, inadequate lighting, etc.  Unfortunately, slip and fall accidents can be more devastating than some think.  They are actually a common cause of brain injuries and hip fractures as well as other injuries.  It is very important for property owners to pay attention to and correct any and all hazards with an understanding that they are responsible for the safety of others on their property.

3) Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice cases can result when health care professionals fail to provide the appropriate level of care.  Examples include surgical errors, misdiagnosis, incorrect treatment, pharmacy mistakes, birth injuries, and much more.  These types of injuries can have severe and permanent effects on the victims who have to live with them for the rest of their lives.  Medical malpractice suits are often more complex and technical and usually involve larger settlements.  Having an experienced medical malpractice attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks can greatly improve the chance of prevailing and receiving a proper settlement for you.  When it comes to avoiding malpractice, here are a few things you can do:

-Research your medical provider

-Ask questions and take notes

-Keep good records of everything

-Bring someone with you to listen and witness

-Provide the most accurate medical history you can for your medical provider

Gibbons Law Firm Can Help!

If you or someone you love is ever the victim of a devastating personal injury, don’t just accept an offer from the insurance company.  Whoever caused your injury will have professionals on their side to look out for their interests, and you should too.  As soon as you are able, consult a personal injury attorney in Mid-Missouri to find out what your legal rights are.  

Roger Gibbons has the background, experience, and dedication to fight for the compensation you deserve, as he has done for countless of his clients.  Give Gibbons Law Firm a call to schedule a consultation and give yourself the opportunity to achieve a successful outcome on your personal injury case today.  Your first consultation is free.  Just call us at (573) 348-2211.  To learn more helpful information about common legal issues, be sure to follow us on social media using the channels listed below! 


Remember, your initial consultation with Gibbons Law Firm is always free.



Your Trusted Legal Resource

Gibbons Law Firm
2820 Bagnell Dam Blvd, Suite B4
Lake Ozark, MO 65049

(573) 348-2211

Follow us on...