The Importance of Requesting a Home Inspection Before Signing On the Dotted Line


The Importance of Requesting a Home Inspection Before Signing On the Dotted Line

Buying a house is very often the most important and expensive purchase in someone’s life. As such, it is crucial for a buyer to approach the sale process armed with as much information about the house as possible.

Only when a buyer is fully satisfied that all material information about the house has been identified, located, and made available, can the buyer make a truly informed decision about how to proceed.

The Home Inspection: It May Be a Deal Breaker

The Home Inspection (and any generated reports) is one of the primary sources of information relied upon by the buyer (and the lender who plans on financing the buyer’s mortgage).

Depending on the results of the Inspection, the buyer has a few options regarding how to move forward:

  • Proceed with the sale without making any adjustments to the sales price

  • Proceed with the sale, but with an adjusted sales price

    • For example, a buyer made an offer on a house based on the assumption that the house’s electrical system was up-to-code. The Home Inspection, however, revealed that the electrical system was actually not up-to-code. Research reveals that it will cost $10,000 to repair.

    • The buyer may still want to purchase the house, but for a reduced sales price that takes into account the $10,000 expense the buyer will now have to absorb in order to repair the electrical system

  • Rescind the offer altogether

Home Inspections: Worth the Expense

There are many benefits to Home Inspections, and these inspections have benefits that far outweigh the minimal cost of paying for the Inspection.

  • Buying a Home

    • Save Money Later By Identifying Problems Today

      • Identifying any problems with the property before the sale closes allows the buyer to request from the seller some or all remedial or replacement costs.

      • Moreover, an inspection may identify a problem that will be much less expensive to repair if fixed now, rather than after the problem erupts into a full-blown disaster.

  • Selling a Home

    • Commissioning an inspection of the home before listing it for sale provides valuable information for how best to list the house. An inspection will identify problem areas to the seller, who can then remedy the issues, reduce the selling price, or partake of other options to compensate for the flaw.


CKB VIENNA LLP: Experienced Real Estate Attorneys Who Can Help. Contact Us Today

We help clients navigate the home inspection process. We also work with clients to challenge the results of any inaccurate reports that may be negatively effecting the sale price of their home. Our real estate team understands the nuances of California’s real estate industry.  We have offices in Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles. Contact us by telephone at 909.980.1040 or complete our online form.



California’s Probate Code: Basic Requirements Regarding Executors & Personal Representatives


California’s Probate Code: Basic Requirements Regarding Executors & Personal Representatives

Wills, Trusts, and Estates: these are important components of a much larger, comprehensive, and complex area of the law that encompasses estate planning & administration, elder law, wealth management, Medicaid planning, estate taxes, advance healthcare directives, probate law, probate procedure, and more.

As a result, there are rarely one-size-fits-all solutions or approaches to issues that may arise out of the vastness that is estate law. That being said, there are some aspects of probate and estate law that may be addressed and/or resolved more readily than others.

In California, Who Can Serve as an Executor of a Will, And More Specifically, a Personal Representative?

Choosing an Executor of your will, who in turn, likely will serve as your Personal Representative, is a very important decision that should not be made lightly. It should involve the consideration of a number of factors, such as trustworthiness, common sense, honesty, etc.

However, once the hard (or easy) part is done and you feel you have the perfect candidate to serve as the Executor of your Will and your Personal Representative, you must determine whether he or she is eligible to serve in this capacity pursuant to the California Probate Code. If eligible, the Probate Court must appoint your chosen person as the Executor of your Estate, and thereafter, your Personal Representative.

In fact, Cal. Prob. Code § 8402 provides that, “The person named as executor in the decedent’s will has the right to appointment as personal representative.”

The Basics

In the State of California, the Probate Code specifically sets forth mandates/limitations regarding the appointment of an executor, and more specifically, a personal representative, including the following:

  • The personal representative must be at least 18 years old, which is the age of majority in California.

  • The personal representative must be of competent and sound mind and competent as judged by the court (i.e., not incapacitated).

  • An individual may not serve as a personal representative if that person is subject to a conservatorship of the estate or is otherwise incapable of executing, or is otherwise unfit to execute, the duties of the office.

  • An individual may not serve as a personal representative if there are specific grounds for removal of the individual from appointment.

  • A non-resident of the U.S. may not serve as a personal representative - UNLESS the non-resident is specifically named as executor in the will.

  • A surviving business partner of the deceased individual cannot serve as a personal representative if there is an objection by someone (with an interest) in the will - UNLESS the business partner is specifically named as executor in the will.


In addition to these statutorily-imposed directives, there are other factors that warrant consideration by you (and ultimately the court) when nominating an executor and personal representative, including the following:  

  • Whether the nominee has a conflict of interest with any other party that has an interest in the will, including the deceased individual’s heirs.

  • Whether the nominee had a business or personal relationship with the decedent or decedent’s family before the decedent’s death.

  • Whether the nominee is engaged in or acting on behalf of an individual, a business, or other entity that solicits heirs to obtain the person’s nomination for appointment as administrator.

  • Whether the nominee has been appointed as a personal representative in any other estate.

(See generally, Division 7, Part 2, Chapter 4 of the California Probate Code).

Contact Us Today to Help you With your Estate Planning Needs

If you wish to choose an executor of your will and personal representative of your estate, or if you are an executor and need guidance, the experienced estate planning attorneys at CKB VIENNA LLP can help. To learn more, contact us today at 909.980.1040, or fill out our online form.


The California Marijuana Excise Tax: How MAUCRSA Changes Things


The California Marijuana Excise Tax: How MAUCRSA Changes Things

After all of the discussion and debate (and voting) that went into California’s “Prop. 64” (i.e., the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, or “MCRSA”), the California legislature has since repealed said Act and signed into law S.B. 94, (i.e., the Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, or “MAUCRSA”). Lawmakers enacted MAUCRSA at the end of June; and it has an effective date of January 1, 2018.

The new law integrates California’s rules and regulations for adult-use cannabis and medicinal cannabis.  

Among other things, one of the significant differences between MAUCRSA and the former law is with respect to the structure of California’s Marijuana Excise Tax, which is basically a tax on a tax. This is because the amount of the excise tax (see below) is added to the taxpayer’s gross receipts before California’s state and local sales and use taxes are calculated.

Important Considerations Regarding Excise Tax Calculations

MAUCRSA changes the method of calculating California’s 15% cannabis excise tax. The 15% tax now applies to the “average market price” of any retail sale of cannabis by a retailer as opposed to the “gross receipts” of the retail sale.  This change in taxation structure directly affects all dispensaries and other persons licensed to sell cannabis and cannabis products.

What is the Average Market Price of a Retail Sale?

With respect to a retail sale of cannabis, the newly-enacted law provides two definitions of an average market price depending on whether the sale constitutes an “arm’s length” transaction or a “non-arm’s length transaction. The distinction between the two types of transactions is extremely significant, as it establishes how the tax is collected and paid.

  • Average Market Price of an Arm’s Length Transaction

    • The law defines an arm’s length transaction as “a sale entered into in good faith and for valuable consideration that reflects the fair market value in the open market between two informed and willing parties, neither under any compulsion to participate in the transaction.”

      • In other words, an arm’s length transaction is a sale that takes place through good, old-fashioned negotiation in the marketplace.

    • In these transactions, the average market price is defined as “the average retail price determined by the wholesale cost of the cannabis or cannabis products sold or transferred to a cannabis retailer, plus a mark-up, as determined by the the California State Board of Equalization on a biannual basis in six-month intervals.”

    • With regard to these transactions, the cannabis distributor must collect the 15% Marijuana excise tax from the retailer “on or before 90 days after … the sale [from the distributor] to the retailer.”

  • Average Market Price of a Non-Arm’s Length Transaction


    • MAUCRSA mandates that, “In a non-arm’s length transaction, the average market price means the cannabis retailer’s gross receipts from the retail sale of the cannabis or cannabis products.”

    • In these transactions, a distributor, “shall collect the cannabis excise tax from the retailer on or before 90 days after the sale or transfer of cannabis or cannabis products, or at the time of the retail sale by the cannabis retailer, whichever is earlier.”

    • In other words, the distributor must collect the excise tax from the retailer when the retailer sells the product to a consumer, but in no circumstances later than 90 days from the sale from the distributor to the retailer.

    • Additionally, a retailer is responsible for collecting the excise tax from the consumer and then paying said tax to the distributor (pursuant to the required procedure).

Questions About MAUCRSA or the Marijuana Excise Tax? Speak to a Knowledgeable California Cannabis Law Attorney Today

The legal landscape is changing when it comes to marijuana, both in California and in neighboring states. With respect to the newly-enacted MAUCRSA and the Marijuana Excise Tax, rigid and comprehensive record keeping and strict compliance is imperative for those in the market. To understand what your options are and where you stand under these new rules, talk to the experienced attorneys at CKB Vienna LLP today. Call one of our three offices to schedule a consultation, or contact us using this short online form.



Restrictions on Edible Marijuana Products and Manufacturing Under MAUCRSA (SB 94)


Restrictions on Edible Marijuana Products and Manufacturing Under MAUCRSA (SB 94)

In the midst of the rapidly-changing legal landscape regarding the the sale and use of cannabis in California, one of the hot-button topics of discussion surrounds edible marijuana products. Lawmakers and members of the public have significant concerns regarding edibles’ inadvertent (or not so inadvertent) appeal to children as well as various labeling issues.

The Repeal of MCRSA and the Enactment of MAUCRSA

In our recently-published blog article, California Lawmakers Consider Edible Medical Marijuana Regulations, we discussed the possible treatment of edibles under California’s Prop. 64, otherwise known as the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (“MCRSA”). We also noted in the article that the regulatory framework regarding the use and sale of cannabis is in constant flux.

Case in point: the enactment of S.B. 94, (i.e., the Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, or “MAUCRSA”).

This important piece of legislation signed into law in late June has an effective date of January 1, 2018. The new law, which actually repealed MCRSA, integrates California’s rules and regulations for adult-use cannabis and medicinal cannabis.

MAUCRSA and Edibles

Just as MCRSA was repealed, so too were the rules associated therewith. To date, the California Department of Health has not yet published a new set of proposed rules regarding edibles in accordance with MAUCRSA.

Although there is a very good chance that many of the regulations under MAUCRSA will be identical, or at least very similar to those created pursuant to MCRSA, we cannot be sure until the new rules hit the books.

MAUCRSA: Section 77

Until the Department of Health publishes the new rules, we can take a look at the language of Section 77 of the newly-enacted MAUCRSA which specifically states that edible cannabis products shall be:  

  1. Not designed to be appealing to children or easily confused with commercially sold candy or foods that do not contain cannabis.

  2. Produced and sold with a standardized concentration of cannabinoids not to exceed ten (10) milligrams tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per serving.

  3. Delineated or scored into standardized serving sizes if the cannabis product contains more than one serving and is an edible cannabis product in solid form.

  4. Homogenized to ensure uniform disbursement of cannabinoids throughout the product.

  5. Manufactured and sold under sanitation standards established by the State Department of Public Health, in consultation with the bureau, that are similar to the standards for preparation, storage, handling, and sale of food products.

  6. Provided to customers with sufficient information to enable the informed consumption of the product, including the potential effects of the cannabis product and directions as to how to consume the cannabis product, as necessary.

  7. Marked with a universal symbol, as determined by the State Department of Public Health through regulation.

MAUCRSA and “Re-Manufacturing”

Although there is no language in MAUCRSA that specifically addresses re-manufacturing of edibles, it is likely that in forthcoming rules, the California Department of Health will maintain its position prohibiting licensees from remanufacturing (the process of incorporating cannabinoid extract or concentrate into snack foods or candy that are commercially available.)   

Cannabis Questions? Speak to a Knowledgeable California Cannabis Law Attorney Today.

At CKB Vienna, LLP, we know the cannabis legal landscape is changing; and we make it a priority to closely follow all developments in relevant state and federal laws, regulations, and trends. Individuals who wish to obtain licenses to manufacture cannabis - or to ensure compliance - pursuant to the new rules should speak with the experienced attorneys at CKB Vienna LLP today. Call one of our three offices to schedule a consultation, or contact us using this short online form.


Why It’s Wise to Keep Your Business Dispute Off Social Media


Why It’s Wise to Keep Your Business Dispute Off Social Media

When you’re facing a business dispute, you may be thinking about how to protect your business’s assets, keep your employees focused on their work, or address other concerns – not about your Facebook or Twitter account.

You may, however, have a knee-jerk reaction to broadcast the details of your business dispute on social media. And with the growing interconnection between our daily lives and our social media platforms, it may feel completely natural to so. For many people these days, posting on social media feels about as natural as breathing.

But is it really a good idea?

Keeping your business dispute away from social media might be one of the wisest decisions you make during the process. Here’s why.

Social Media Posts May Be Used Against You

Social media posts that you make about the dispute could come back to haunt you in court. Because you made the post, many of the ordinary rules governing out of court statements don’t apply. And because social media has a “social,” informal tone, a post made in a moment of anger or joking could land you in a very awkward spot in a case – or even cost you your best legal argument. In order to avoid these risks, it’s best not to comment about the situation at all.

It’s Bad for Business

Unsurprisingly, posts about business disputes on social media often have a negative effect on the business, even when you can confidently say that you and your business have done nothing wrong. Your clients and customers want to view you as a resource they can trust – not as yet another social media “talking head” who falls for drama and posturing. For these reasons, it’s best to project an image of professionalism and standing above the fray by staying silent about disputes over your social media channels.

It’s Never “Just” A Post

When we post to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or other social media sites, we tend to think of the “post” as the content we shared to the Internet. However, nearly all social media sites collect or embed other data in these posts, from the date and time they were made to the computer’s IP address or the GPS coordinates from which the post was made. This information is often publicly discoverable and can be retrieved even if the post is deleted – meaning that, if it can be found and used against you in the dispute, it will be.

We Help You Find Your True North

Business disputes occur often in the working world, but they shouldn’t occur at all over Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other similar platforms. It’s just not worth it. If you find yourself in a business dispute, the smartest thing you can do for yourself is keep calm and find an attorney who help you with your case.

At CKB VIENNA LLP, our experienced California business law attorneys can help you anticipate, address, and resolve business disputes in a manner that is consistent with your business goals. To learn more, contact us today by telephone at 909-980-1040 or via our short online form.


California Whistleblowers: What Employers Can (And Cannot) Do


California Whistleblowers: What Employers Can (And Cannot) Do

“Whistleblowing” is the practice of alerting the authorities when a business is engaging in activities that are illegal. Employees who blow the whistle often believe they are acting in the best interests of themselves and their co-workers, and possibly the company. However, they also cause significant challenges for their employers.

Federal and state laws protect whistleblowers in a wide range of circumstances. If you have a whistleblowing employee in your workplace, it’s important to know exactly what you may and may not do when addressing the problem. Speaking to an experienced employment law attorney can help you take an approach that is tailored to your specific situation.

What to Avoid When an Employee Blows the Whistle

The phrase “don’t shoot the messenger” is often used to mean, “When someone mentions a problem, don’t blame the problem on the person who brought it up.” When it comes to whistleblowers, “don’t shoot the messenger” isn’t just good advice: it’s also the law.

California expanded its whistleblower protections in 2014 to include workers who report violations to managers and in-house authorities, as well as to outside bodies. While guidance on many topics is still unclear and requires the help of a lawyer in specific situations, general guidelines to follow include:

  • Don’t fire the employee. Firing the employee is likely to be seen as retaliation, which is prohibited by California law.

  • Don’t take other adverse actions, like demoting the employee or reducing the hours or pay, without talking to your attorney first.

What You Can Do

What can you do when an employee blows the whistle – especially if they are also failing to meet work expectations or causing disruptions in other ways? While California has some of the most employee-friendly whistleblower laws in the nation, there are still steps you can take. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Document all interactions with the employee carefully, especially when they involve disciplinary actions.  

  • Separate decision-making so that supervisors who make decisions about promotions, raises, and terminations are insulated from those who make decisions about or investigate whistleblower complaints.

  • Contact your attorney for more specific help.

Experienced Employment Law Attorneys in Southern California

Running a business always presents unique difficulties, and dealing with a whistleblower falls under that scope. It is of great importance to know how you can or cannot deal with the situation. If you’re dealing with a whistleblower at your company, following the advice we’ve laid out may save you from a great deal of legal trouble.

Most important of all, however, is to hire the right attorney who has the experience and knowledge in business law necessary to help guide you through the process.

At CKB VIENNA LLP, our attorneys focus on helping our business clients solve problems, so that they can focus on achieving their business goals. We’ve worked with clients ranging from small family businesses to Fortune 500 companies. To learn more, contact us today by calling 909-980-1040 or filling out our short online form. We have locations in Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles: choose the one that is most convenient for you.


When May California Employers Monitor an Employee’s Emails?


When May California Employers Monitor an Employee’s Emails?

Monitoring Employee Emails: An Overview

Good communication is one of the most important factors for any businesses success, and that starts with the means to communicate easily. Workplaces throughout California provide their employees with a wide range of tools for communication and productivity, including phones, computers, email addresses, and website space.

These tools, when used correctly, ultimately contribute to the growth of any company, which is why so many employers are quick to provide them to their employees.

When an employer controls the means by which employees communicate, however, certain legal questions arise, including concerns about whether and when an employer is allowed to monitor an employee’s online behavior or emails. Understanding where the line is drawn is an important part of fostering an environment conducive to good communication in your company.

Monitoring Employee Emails: Understanding the Law

The law on when, whether, and how employers can read their employees’ emails is not well settled, so it is valuable to get an experienced attorney’s advice when possible. The federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 (ECPA) prohibits “unauthorized access” to others’ electronic communications, including email messages.

However, many states, including California, have concluded that employers’ monitoring of employee emails is not always “unauthorized.” Generally speaking, employers are not authorized to read an employee’s personal email, even if the employee checks it using a work device. An employee logging into their personal Gmail account, for instance, does not automatically give their employer permission to log into or read that account as well.

If the email address and server are owned by the employer, however, the employer has far more leeway to monitor the contents of the emails sent and received over that system. This is the case in many instances, as employers will often provide employees with email addresses to be used specifically for conducting business.

Monitoring Employee Emails: Best Practices

Any employer wishing to monitor how employees use their employer-owned email should create a consistent, clear policy that fits within existing law. Your lawyer can help. Consider including in your policy:

  • A clear warning that you, as the employer, reserve the right to check at any time on the content of email sent over your system,

  • A statement that work email is for “business use only,” and

  • A statement of the consequences for violation of this policy.

By putting these sorts of policies in place, you are both covering your bases legally, and making communication in the workplace more efficient. Well-written rules clear up confusion and contribute to the success of any company.

Knowledgeable California Employment Law Attorneys

The ever-changing landscape of technology and communication can create problems, but understanding the law and how it applies to business communication and email can save you from making costly legal mistakes.

Staying in compliance with California’s complex employment laws is essential so that your business can focus on its goals. At CKB VIENNA LLP, our experienced California employment law attorneys are dedicated to helping our clients resolve their legal questions and disputes, so they can focus on achievement. To learn more, contact us by telephone at 909-980-1040 or use our short online form.


Do California’s Paid Sick Leave Rules Apply to Independent Contractors?


Do California’s Paid Sick Leave Rules Apply to Independent Contractors?

A Closer Look at Paid Time Off

California recently passed a new law mandating that employees receive paid sick leave, making California one of only a handful of states to require paid leave for workers. In an attempt to manage staffing costs while still ensuring their workforce has the resources it needs, many employers have considered working with independent contractors.

With the growing number of workers who operate remotely or as freelancers, this may seem like a relatively easy change to make for your business. Since independent contractors are not technically employees of your company, you shouldn’t be required to provide paid leave, right?

To answer this question, however, you’ll need to understand how California’s employment laws, including the new paid sick leave rule, apply to independent contractors.

Understanding California’s New Paid Sick Leave Law

California requires employees to start accruing paid sick leave time as of July 1, 2015, although employers can require employees to wait up to 90 days before using their accrued sick time. Employees must be able to accrue up to 48 hours of sick leave per year, or six eight-hour workdays. While employers can cap the amount of paid sick leave an employee takes during the year, they must also allow any unused time to “roll over” into the next year. Because calculating sick pay and determining how the time accrues can be subject to a wide range of variables, it is best for employers to consult with an experienced lawyer to determine which system will work best for their employees.

Employers who are considering working with independent contractors rather than conventional employees should also talk to a lawyer. Not only does the choice between employees and contractors have significant effects on your business, but it can also impact your employment law obligations and your tax obligations as well.

Sick Leave and Independent Contractors

California’s sick leave law does not require employers to provide paid sick leave to independent contractors paid on a 1099 basis.

However, if you work with independent contractors, it is essential to make sure that they are properly classified as contractors, not as employees. Because there is no “hard and fast” rule regarding when a worker falls into either of these categories, it is best to speak to a lawyer who can provide specialized advice about your particular situation.

Consult an Experienced California Employment Attorney

Operating a business can be challenging, confusing, and just downright difficult, but it can also be one of the most rewarding things you ever do with your life. Having the right attorney –  one who understands how the law applies to your business – can make the difference between being a bastion of economic growth in your community and serious legal ramifications.

Whether you’re concerned about the possibility of litigation or you want to ensure you’re starting or operating your business in compliance with the law, the attorneys at CKB VIENNA LLP can help you identify the core problems you face and find ways to address them. To learn more, call one of our offices today or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation.


When It Comes to Cannabis, Your California County’s Rules Matter


When It Comes to Cannabis, Your California County’s Rules Matter

Different California Counties Have Particular Requirements

Recreational marijuana use has been legalized in the state of California, and now anybody in the state can grow, process, sell, and use the plant for any purpose, right? Don’t go lighting up joints in on the steps of the county courthouse just yet. Where you live in the state might make a world of difference in the eyes of the law.

Although California recently passed a statewide ballot measure making the use of recreational marijuana legal for adults aged 21 and over, cannabis laws in the state are still focused heavily on the local level. Each of California’s 58 counties is permitted to make a wide range of rules regarding cannabis use, as well as to regulate businesses that provide medical or recreational marijuana.

To ensure you’re complying with every applicable rule when starting a cannabis business, it’s important to pay attention to county and local rules, as well as to state and federal ones. You can never be too cognizant of the law when dealing with a substance that is classified as a Schedule I drug at the federal level. Here are some points to keep in mind.

Cultivation, Manufacturing, and Retail May All Have Different Rules

California’s new state law allows adults ages 21 and older to use marijuana and to possess a specified amount for personal use. It also sets guidelines for regulating businesses that handle cannabis.

Businesses, however, may “handle” cannabis in a number of different ways:

  • by selling cannabis products to customers,

  • by processing marijuana plants into various forms for use,

  • by growing the plants,

  • by transporting plants, plant parts, or manufacturing results, or

  • by doing any or all of the above.

Some counties allow certain types of these activities, while banning others. Some allow all of them, while others have banned all of them. It’s important to know where you stand before you begin.

Check Local Ordinances Too

Even within counties that allow a broad range of cannabis-related activities, the county may have chosen to defer to local and municipal governments on particular points. For instance, even if your county allows retail sales of cannabis, your city or town may not.  These local ordinances can affect everything from where you set up your business to what you put on your signs – or even if you can run your business at all. Double-check to ensure you’re on the right side of local ordinances before you invest significant time or money into a particular location.

Speak to an Experienced California Cannabis Lawyer Today

The web of laws related to marijuana use, cultivation, processing, storage, and transport is a complex one. If you’re planning to enter this new and exciting business, it helps to have the guidance and support of an experienced attorney. At CKB VIENNA LLP, our lawyers seek to help clients realize their business goals while complying with applicable laws at every level. To learn more, contact us via our online form or call one of our offices. We have locations in Rancho Cucamonga County, San Bernardino County, and Los Angeles County to better serve our clients.


Getting Licensed to Sell Recreational Marijuana in California: Points to Consider


Getting Licensed to Sell Recreational Marijuana in California: Points to Consider

Taking a Closer Look at Getting Licensed to Sell Marijuana

Now that recreational marijuana use is legal in California for adults age 21 and older, and now that these adults may also possess small amounts of the substance for personal use –  many California businesses are looking for ways they can appeal to this new and growing market.

Just like substances such as alcohol or tobacco, however, marijuana is subject to tight regulations While California’s new recreational marijuana law does create a system for selling recreational cannabis, it’s important to understand the restrictions it places on businesses seeking to expand into this market.

And while the states in which recreational marijuana use has been legalized have yet to face any significant issues from the federal government, it is always important to note that marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug in the eyes of federal law enforcement.

With all that in mind, what do you need to consider before getting licensed to sell recreational marijuana in the state of California?

If You’re Not Already in the Business, You May Need to Wait

California’s cannabis laws set a soft deadline of January 2018 for the state to complete final regulations of recreational marijuana businesses and to open the process of applying for a license to sell marijuana products to adults 21 years of age and older. While the law does allow some businesses to continue selling cannabis if they were “in compliance with local zoning ordinances and other state and local requirements” before that date, if you’re still setting up, you’ll need to keep your eye on that January 2018 deadline.

Choose the License Type That’s Right for Your Business

California cannabis law provides for over a dozen different types of licenses for the cultivation, storage, transportation, and sale of marijuana, whether medical or recreational. These include separate licensing requirements and tiers for medical marijuana dispensaries, growers and cultivators, processors, testing laboratories, distributors, and transporters. To ensure you get the right licenses, have a clear plan for your business, including which tasks you’ll take on yourself and which you will outsource to other licensed parties.

Seek Help When You Need It

In many ways, opening a recreational marijuana business in California is similar to opening any other type of business – and in other ways, it’s uncharted territory. Start by creating a detailed business plan that outlines how you want your business to run and what tools and capabilities you’ll need to make that happen. Then, consult with professionals as needed. An experienced accountant can help you ensure your financials are in place, while a lawyer who understands California’s cannabis laws can help you comply with legal requirements and protect your investment.

Cannabis Questions? Speak to a Knowledgeable California Cannabis Law Attorney Today

The legal landscape is changing when it comes to marijuana, both in California and in neighboring states. To understand what your options are and where you stand under these new rules, talk to the experienced attorneys at CKB Vienna LLP today. Call one of our three offices to schedule a consultation, or contact us using this short online form.


California Court Rules That Employers Don't Have to Take Back Employees That Rescind Resignations


California Court Rules That Employers Don't Have to Take Back Employees That Rescind Resignations

California business law attorneys ensure compliance with local business laws

California employers should always remain vigilant about employee discrimination - and wrongful termination laws - in order to make certain that their employees are treated equally, and that they are complying with state and federal law. This includes following recent California court cases that rule on employment law cases that could be used in future court decisions.

Last month, the San Diego Union-Tribune covered the interesting CA employment law case of an employee who resigned while suffering the adverse side-effect of a medication she was taking. The woman rescinded her resignation, but the employer decided not to take her back. The court ruled that the employer had a right under the law not to rehire her.

Southern California Permanente Medical Group vs. Ruth Featherstone

The case involved an employee named Ruth Featherstone, who worked for Southern California Permanente Medical Group (SCPMG) in San Diego. Six days after she returned to work following a medical leave for sinus surgery, she called her boss and said that she was resigning because God had told her to do something else with her life. She also made a Facebook post saying that she was going to start doing God’s work.

While the employer thought that the resignation was “out of the blue,” they honored her request and processed her paperwork quickly as required under the law, which requires that resigning employees are issued a paycheck at least 72 hours after turning in a notice.

Another week after her resignation, Featherstone called SCPMG back and explained that her resignation was a result of a medication side effect following her surgery and that she wanted her job back. The HR department, however, refused to rehire her. She sued, arguing that not rehiring her was an “adverse employment action” related to her temporary disability.

The court sided with her employer. The employer had no obligation to investigate whether Featherstone was in her right mind when she resigned, and had no reason to believe or know that she was resigning due to a medication.

What Can Employers Learn From This Case?

The big takeaway from this case is that an employee can, in many scenarios, decline to rehire an employee who voluntarily resigns and then attempts to rescind their resignation. This is even the case if the employee was temporarily mentally unstable or disabled. However, if the employer is aware that the employee is temporarily mentally unstable at the time of the resignation, the outcome may be different.

Contact A California Employment Law Attorney Today

As you can see, California employment law is not always cut and dry. In many cases, a legal case is so unique that a similar case has yet to be tried. In other cases, a court decision might come almost solely from past court decisions. For this reason, it is vital to find a business law attorney that is not only familiar with California employment rules and regulations, but also with notable case results.

Whether you are facing possible litigation, or whether you would like to make certain your business is compliant with current law, we are here to help. Contact us today to ask a question or to schedule a consultation with an experienced, knowledgeable CA employment law attorney today.


California Workplace Smoking Laws & E-Cigarettes


California Workplace Smoking Laws & E-Cigarettes

California business law and compliance attorneys

Since e-cigarettes became widely available in the United States around 2008, they have become increasingly popular, especially among teens and those trying to quit smoking traditional cigarettes. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 9 million people use e-cigarettes regularly, and about 12.5 percent of the population has tried them at least once.

Since e-cigarettes are significantly different than traditional cigarettes, and since they are relatively new to the market, state and federal laws are rushing to regulate the product. Recently, though, California updated its state laws regarding smoking in the workplace and, as part of its update, clarified that “smoking” includes the use of any kind of e-cigarette or vaporizer.

California Workplace Smoking Restrictions

In June 2015, the California state government approved a package of six anti-tobacco laws. These laws included a number of changes, including raising the legal age for buying cigarettes to 21. Two of the laws affect California employers:

  • ABX2-6 added e-cigarettes and vaporizers to the list of tobacco products referred to in other smoking laws. Specifically, it expanded the definition of smoking to, “the use of an electronic smoking device that creates an aerosol or vapor, in any manner or in any form, or the use of any oral smoking device for the purpose of circumventing the prohibition of smoking.”

  • ABX2-7 added a number of previously excluded workplaces to the list of workplaces where cigarette smoking is prohibited, including hotel lobbies, small businesses, break rooms, banquet rooms, bars, taverns, warehouses, and tobacco retailers.

Previously, smoking in the workplace laws made exceptions for businesses with five or fewer employees. Now, however, the only type of business that can allow smoking in the workplace is an owner-operated, single-employee business that does not have visitors or in-person clients.

Old workplace smoking laws also made exceptions for places like tobacco shops or hotels, but those exceptions are no more.

In all cases, any workplace that bans smoking traditional cigarettes should now also be banning e-cigarettes.

Finally, it’s important to note that these new laws override local laws and are meant to standardize tobacco laws across the state.

Some legislators opposed the new e-cigarette laws, arguing that vaporizers are healthier and may help users of traditional tobacco products kick their habit. Others opposed the new e-cigarette laws because the vaporizer industry has boosted job creation and helps the economy.

In addition to expanding the definition of cigarettes to include e-cigarettes, the new package of tobacco laws also now requires e-cigarettes to have tamper-proof packaging.

Consult With A Knowledgeable California Employment Attorney Today

Whether you want to make certain that your business is compliant with current California law, or whether you are facing the possibility of litigation, CKB VIENNA LLP is here to help. We have experience with all sizes and types of establishments, from Fortune 500 companies to small family-run businesses. If you would like to speak to an attorney or schedule a consultation, please call one of our offices today or contact us using this short online form.

We have offices in the following California counties:


  • Rancho Cucamonga County  

  • San Bernardino County

  • Los Angeles County


Preparing for California’s Minimum Wage Increases


Preparing for California’s Minimum Wage Increases

business law attorneys assisting california business owners

Starting in January 2017, California increased its minimum wage, sending shockwaves through a number of industries. The plan calls for yearly increases in the minimum wage from 2017 through 2022 for employers with more than 25 employees. Employers with 25 or fewer employees get a one-year grace period, but must meet yearly minimum wage increases from 2018 through 2023.

Here’s what you need to know to be prepared for California’s minimum wage increases.

What increases are on the horizon:

Currently, the expected step increases start with an increase from $10.00 to $10.50 an hour in 2017 for employers with 26 or more employees and in 2018 for smaller employers. The following year, the increase is to $11.00. Each year after that, there’s a dollar per hour increase in the minimum wage, until a total of $15.00/hour is reached in 2022 for larger businesses and 2023 for smaller ones.

What happens after the $15.00 per hour limit is reached?

After the $15.00/hour minimum is attained, the minimum wage will be adjusted each year based on inflation, using the national consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W). If the CPI-W is negative in any given year, the minimum wage will stay the same. The minimum wage will not be raised more than 3.5 percent in any one year, even if the CPI-W is higher.

Does this new rule override local (city or county) minimum wage rules?

California cities and counties are allowed to have a higher minimum wage for employees within their jurisdictions. For instance, several California cities currently have “tiered” minimum wage requirements, based on the number of people a business employs. All California businesses are required to pay the highest minimum wage that applies to their business, whether it is imposed by a federal, state, or local rule.

Are any businesses exempt from the new rules?

Certain employees are exempt from the new minimum wage rules. These include outside salespersons, employees who are the parent, spouse, or child of the employer, and apprentices who are subject to the State Division of Apprenticeship Standards.

Making the right business decisions requires careful planning and forethought, but it does not require you to work alone. By connecting with the experienced California business lawyers at CKB VIENNA LLP, you gain the assistance of a knowledgeable legal team that can provide insight and direction in the face of business challenges. To learn more, contact us today via our online form or by calling 909.980.1040.


Empty Nest? Consider Updating Your Estate Plan


Empty Nest? Consider Updating Your Estate Plan

california estate planning attorneys helping protect family assets

When your children leave for college, marriage, employment, or simply to travel, the house may seem unusually quiet and empty. You may wonder what to do with the extra time on your hands. While “reviewing and updating our estate plan” isn’t always the first activity that springs to mind, it is a valuable step to take when your children have left home.

Why update your estate plan now?

If you created your estate plan when your children were young, chances are good that you included provisions for your children’s guardianship, for protection of their inheritance until they reached a responsible age, and for other matters specifically pertaining to their status as legal minorities. While these provisions were essential at the time, they have become outdated now that your children have reached adulthood.

As your children venture into the world, you may have a new set of concerns. If something were to happen to you, would your children squander their inheritance? Would they stop going to college or working, losing these precious opportunities to build their future? Will people try to take advantage of them in a vulnerable state?

What changes would help our children and family at this stage?

Working with an experienced California estate planning lawyer like the team at CKB VIENNA LLP can help you make the changes that will allow your estate plan to accurately reflect and implement your wishes in this new phase of your life. While the best plan for your particular family will require specific consideration, popular options include:

  • Creating a trust. A trust can distribute income over time, providing financial support for a child’s schooling or other plans while reducing the risk of extravagant spending or being taken advantage of by unscrupulous others. It can also help protect assets from creditors, preserving more of your estate for your children.

  • Updating powers of attorney and other parties. Now that your children are adults, you may wish for them to have more power in decision-making if you become incapacitated or pass away. By updating your estate plan, you can name your child or children as your personal representative or grant one or more of them power of attorney to make medical, legal, or financial decisions if you are unable to do so.

The transition between having your children at home and watching them take their place in the world, like many life transitions, can be bittersweet. At each turning point, is is wise to review your estate plan and update it if needed. The experienced estate planning attorneys at CKB VIENNA LLP can help you make these periodic reviews and choose the revisions that best reflect your wishes and the needs of those you love. To learn more, contact us today at 909.980.1040, or fill out our online form if it is more convenient for you.


Leaving California With Marijuana? Understand How Neighboring States Handle Cannabis


Leaving California With Marijuana? Understand How Neighboring States Handle Cannabis

california litigators helping marijuana users avoid felony charges

California’s Proposition 64, passed in November 2016, allows adults 21 years of age or older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana plants or 8 grams of cannabis concentrates for personal recreational use.

The initiative tracked the overall changing attitude toward marijuana use in the United States and made California one of seven states that legalize marijuana for recreational use (as does the District of Columbia).

Now that recreational use is an option, many Californians wonder whether it’s possible to take their cannabis with them when they travel for vacations. Of the states that share borders with California, only Arizona has not legalized recreational marijuana use--Arizona residents must have medical permission to use marijuana.

Nevada and Oregon, however, permit recreational use. They also permit adults 21 years of age and older to carry up to one ounce of marijuana plant matter for personal use: the same amount and age limits imposed by California law. So is it safe to drive across state lines into Nevada or Oregon with your recreational marijuana on board?

Legally speaking, the answer is no.

Understanding the State Lines

In the United States, each state has broad powers (except those specifically given to the federal government) to set laws within its own borders. This means that, on California land, the state of California can make a number of decisions--including whether or not to allow recreational cannabis use. Oregon and Nevada may make similar decisions within their own territory.

Once a state line is crossed, however, the activity in question becomes a question of interstate law. The federal government has jurisdiction over interstate matters.

Currently, federal law has no provision for legal marijuana use. While the federal government cannot force the states to pass state laws banning marijuana use, federal law enforcement can punish individuals for possessing marijuana on federal property (such as in a National Park or on a military base), and they can punish individuals for breaking the federal law banning the transportation of marijuana across state lines.

Under federal law, transporting marijuana across state lines can often be charged as a felony, with a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Some U.S. states that allow recreational marijuana have also passed laws banning the importation of marijuana into the state. Oregon, for example, passed HB 4014, which forbids carrying marijuana either into or out of the state. Penalties depend on the amount of marijuana involved and range from a fine to a felony conviction. California and Nevada also included statements in their laws forbidding transport in and out of the state. Attempting to travel out of California with recreational cannabis could easily put you on the wrong side of state and federal law.

Contact Us Today

At CKB VIENNA LLP, our experienced California cannabis law attorneys focus on providing clear, thorough legal advice concerning cannabis use and businesses in California. With offices in Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles, we’re prepared to help you solve your business problems. Contact us by calling 909-980-1040, or complete our online form.


4 Things to Know About Using Recreational Marijuana in California


4 Things to Know About Using Recreational Marijuana in California

California litigators explain legal aspects of recreational marijuana use

In November 2016, California voters approved the legalization of recreational marijuana use. Now, adults 21 years of age and older may use recreational marijuana regardless of medical need without facing state law repercussions.

What does this change in state law mean for you? Here’s what you need to know about using recreational marijuana in California.

1. You don’t need a medical reason to use marijuana--but you do have to be over age 21.

Like alcohol, marijuana has a legal age limit of 21 years in California. However, Proposition 64 expanded legal marijuana use to everyone 21 years old or older in California, not only to those with medical clearance to use cannabis.

2.  You can carry or grow marijuana in limited amounts (pay attention to local ordinances).

Under the new law, adults 21 and older may possess up to one ounce of marijuana buds or 8 grams of cannabis concentrates. They may also grow up to six marijuana plants. Local governments are allowed to ban outdoor cultivation, however, so check your county or city rules to determine whether or not you must grow your plants indoors.

3.  Consuming marijuana in public spaces is still prohibited.

While the new law allows adults 21 and over to consume marijuana, it sets some limits on where you are allowed to do so. Marijuana may be consumed anyplace smoking is allowed--which means it can’t be consumed in public parks, on sidewalks, or any other place smoking is banned. Breaking this rule may result in a fine of up to $250. Possession of marijuana is also banned in schools and youth centers.

Adults may, however, consume marijuana in private clubs or events that are licensed for on-site marijuana users. Find out whether an event or venue is licensed so you know what the rules are.

4.  You cannot buy recreational marijuana (yet).

Although the initiative included a system for creating retail licenses for recreational marijuana, the program is still in the implementation phase. Marijuana dispensaries catering to medical users may apply for temporary state licenses to sell recreational cannabis in 2017, but it is unlikely that stores will open for full recreational sales until 2018.

Facing a question regarding cannabis law in California? The experienced attorneys at CKB VIENNA LLP can help. We have offices in Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles. Contact us by telephone at 909.980.1040 or by filling out our online contact form, whichever is more convenient for you.


California Cannabis Businesses May Face Difficult Income Tax Issues


California Cannabis Businesses May Face Difficult Income Tax Issues

Business Litigation Attorneys Helping California Businesses with Cannabis Tax Issues

Business startups often face a host of challenges. Inadequate capitalization, lack of credit, attracting qualified employees, and difficulties in the supply chain are some of the common hurdles that must be scaled to achieve success. For the business owner who hopes to build a successful business as a California recreational marijuana retailer, there are additional issues that must be considered. One such issue relates to federal income taxes. How will “pot shops” be treated by the IRS?

Friction Between the Feds and the Golden State Law

Most California business owners are aware of the fact that although the state’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act allows the purchase and sale of recreational cannabis products (subject to licensing and a host of state and local restrictions) beginning in January 2018, marijuana is still a scheduled substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”). Under federal law, therefore, marijuana use is illegal, even for medical purposes. Therein lies the rub.

Ordinary and Necessary Business Expenses

Generally speaking, Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) § 162 allows a business to deduct its “ordinary and necessary expenses” paid or incurred during the taxable year. Accordingly, salaries, travel expenses, rent, and other payments may be offset against business income when computing the tax liability of the enterprise. The ability to deduct business expenses under § 162 is limited, however, to those types of expenses that are not expressly excluded.

IRC § 280E is a Stinger!

Unfortunately, expenses incurred in a retail marijuana operation may be excluded under IRC § 280E, which states:

No deduction or credit shall be allowed for any amount paid or incurred during the taxable year in carrying on any trade or business if such trade or business (or the activities which comprise such trade or business) consists of trafficking in controlled substances (within the meaning of schedule I and II of the Controlled Substances Act) which is prohibited by Federal law or the law of any State in which such trade or business is conducted. [Emphasis added.]

Ninth Circuit and Tax Court Decisions May Disallow Business Expense Deductions

IRC § 280E has been construed in at least two important decisions that affect California businesses. In Olive v. Commissioner of Int. Rev., 792 F.3d 1146 (9th Cir. 2015), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the Tax Court’s decision that § 280E precluded the taxpayer, a medical marijuana dispensary, from deducting any ordinary or necessary business expenses associated with trafficking in a controlled substance that was prohibited by federal law. The court disagreed with the taxpayer’s argument that in enacting § 280E in the early 1980s, Congress did not intend for it to apply to marijuana dispensaries currently allowed by law in many states. Ultimately, only one type of business expense deduction was allowed under IRC § 280E: cost of goods sold.

In Canna Care Inc. v. Commissioner, 2015 Tax Ct. Memo 215, the Tax Court again found that under IRC § 280E, no deduction could be allowed for operating expenses due to the fact that marijuana is a controlled substance and, at the federal level, is considered trafficking in the sale of narcotics. In Canna Care, the taxpayer offered various health services in addition to dispensing marijuana. It could deduct expenses related to those legitimate health services.

Federal Tax Issues Affect Different Business Models in Different Ways

Recognize that there are always a number of variables at play in determining the tax liability of any ongoing enterprise. Because of the complexity of the issue involved, it usually pays to seek sound, solid, experienced counsel by legal experts. Prudent business owners turn to experienced commercial attorneys like CKB VIENNA LLP for assistance. For years now, we have represented all sorts of businesses in many types of legal and regulatory environments. We have researched the technical requirements of Prop 64 and the myriad of other regulations that will have an impact on the sale of recreational marijuana in California. Our team understands the complexity of the issues and stands ready to represent you aggressively. We have offices in Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles. Contact us by telephone—909.980.1040—or complete our online form.


California Lawmakers Consider Edible Medical Marijuana Regulations


California Lawmakers Consider Edible Medical Marijuana Regulations

California Litigators Discuss Edible Marijuana legalities

As the January 2018 date for legal recreational marijuana sales approaches, California lawmakers are considering various regulations to help manage the anticipated multi-billion-dollar legal cannabis market within the state. One primary concern relates to regulations for edible marijuana products. Among the areas of concern, two jump out immediately: labeling requirements and “eye appeal” (i.e., Will children view the edibles as candy?).

Labeling Edibles

While medical marijuana suppliers contend that labeling accuracy has improved, California lawmakers are concerned with potential problems that can arise through the mislabeling of edible cannabis products. For example, according to a 2015 Journal of the American Medical Association study, fewer than one in five edible marijuana products analyzed were accurately labeled with the proper THC level. Particularly alarming was the fact that of the 75 medical marijuana products purchased and tested in the study, JAMA researchers found that the greatest likelihood of obtaining “under-labeled” product was in Los Angeles.

Not only must THC levels be appropriately labeled, other labeling information must advise as to proper dosage. Many will recall New York Times’ columnist Maureen Dowd’s less than wonderful experience with a cannabis-laced food bar that she purchased legally at a Denver medical marijuana dispensary in 2014. The item came with no dosing directions. As she later related in her Times column, at first she experienced no effects at all, but after an hour, because she consumed far more than a “single serving,” she was “panting and paranoid.”

Inadvertent Appeal to Children

Marijuana edibles come in many forms and sometimes mimic the look and texture of regular sweets. Dosage issues in adults are, of course, compounded when the edibles are inadvertently ingested by children. Accordingly, California lawmakers have introduced Assembly Bill 350, which would prohibit marijuana products that are designed to be appealing to children or easily confused with commercially sold candy or foods. The proposal specifies that a marijuana product is deemed to be appealing to children or easily confused with commercially sold candy if it is in the shape of a person, animal, insect, fruit, or in another shape normally associated with candy. A similar bill has also been introduced in the state Senate. It remains to be seen what exact form the regulations will take.

Edible Cannabis Preferred for Many Patients

Many medical professionals say edible cannabis is the preferred method of delivery for patients who suffer from chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other long-term illnesses. While it takes longer to feel the effects of the marijuana when it is ingested, instead of smoked, the sensation generally lasts much longer. Ingested marijuana also does not damage the lungs. If sales data in states such as Washington and Colorado are any indication, the sale of edibles is likely to skyrocket after January 1, 2018, when recreational marijuana becomes truly legal in California.

CKB Vienna LLP—Experienced Commercial Law Attorneys and Advisors

Numbers of business owners are currently trying to determine if they can take legitimate advantage of California’s legalization of recreational marijuana. The regulatory framework for any cannabis business is tricky and it is in flux. Navigating through a sea of regulations can be difficult. Prudent business owners turn to experienced commercial attorneys like CKB VIENNA LLP for assistance. For years now, we have represented all sorts of businesses in many types of legal and regulatory environments. We have researched the technical requirements of Prop 64 and the myriad of other regulations that will have an impact on the sale of recreational marijuana in California. Our team understands the complexity of the issues and stands ready to represent you aggressively. We have offices in Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles. Contact us by telephone—909.980.1040—or complete our online form.


Making Sure Your Charitable Donations Are Tax-Deductible


Making Sure Your Charitable Donations Are Tax-Deductible

Business Litigation Attorney Helps Families Get Tax Deduction for Charitable Giving

Giving to charity is a wonderful way to help others as well as a wonderful way to feel great about how you are spending your extra funds. But it’s also important to note that giving assets to charitable organizations often results in significant tax deductions. Smart, sophisticated giving can not only help others, it can also help you manage your wealth.

While there are many strategies to sophisticated giving, the best place to start is simply by making certain that the donations you are making are tax deductible and then making certain that your donations are deducted on your taxes.

Determine That Your Organization is Eligible For Tax-Deductible Donations

Most nonprofit organizations can receive tax-deductible donations from individuals. However, the best way to determine if the cause you are giving to will result in a tax deduction is to visit the IRS’ Exempt Organizations Select Check website and using the search function. This search function will also tell you if the organization in question has had their exempt status revoked for some reason.

Note that some organizations that are eligible for tax-deductible donations are not listed in this database. This may include religious organizations (such as churches, temples, and mosques) as well as organizations that do business under a different name than the one they file taxes under.

In addition, note that donations to private individuals are not tax-deductible. This includes money you might give privately to someone in need or money you donate to many online fundraisers for individuals who need financial help. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make these donations, but keep in mind that you can’t deduct what you give in these circumstances.

Keep Organized Records of Your Donations

Often, a person will make charitable donations and then never list the donations on their taxes. Why? Simply because they did not ask for a receipt or they did not put the receipt in a safe place.

Whenever you make a donation of any size, make absolutely certain to get a receipt. This receipt should include the amount donated, the name of the organization, and the date. While you do not need to submit these receipts with your taxes, you should keep them on file in case of an audit and simply for organizational purposes. Consider making digital scans of your receipts to cut down on clutter and paper waste.

In some cases, you may make a charitable donation through your employer that is taken directly out of your paycheck. In these cases, make sure that hold on to your pay stubs or W-2 so that you have proof of your donations.

Optimize Your Charitable Giving: For Yourself & For Others

At CKB VIENNA, we have helped hundreds of individuals and families give smarter, from optimizing how much they give and how much they save on taxes, to creating sophisticated, meaningful donation plans for those who want to give after they are gone.

To learn more about how you can give smart, please contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable, experienced California estate planning attorney.


Choosing the Right Successor For Your Family Business


Choosing the Right Successor For Your Family Business

Business Litigator Helps Family Businesses with Financial Planning

For many small businesses owners, their business is their biggest asset, and the most important thing that they will pass on after they are gone. But even though their business can mean everything financially - and even emotionally - many people don’t engage in the succession planning that will save their business in the case of an accident, illness, or untimely death.

One of the most important aspects of succession planning is choosing the person or people who will run your business after your time is over. It used to be that a business was passed from parent to oldest child, but a less traditional option may be better for your family and for your business, such as:

  • A sibling

  • A niece or nephew

  • A more distant relative

  • A close family friend

  • An unrelated employee

Questions to Ask When Choosing A Successor for Your Family Business

  • Who is passionate about your business? It’s normal to want to pick your oldest child, but you must keep in mind that the best person for the job is not necessarily the person who wants the job most. Who has shown interest in the business, and who is passionate about your products and/or services?

  • Who has the skills to lead and manage? Your choice doesn’t have to know everything about your business yet, but he or she must have a love of learning and a certain set of base skills to be successful. Can they manage others? Are they independent? Can they think outside of the box when necessary?

  • Who wants to stay in the area? You might have a child, sibling, or niece/nephew who has all of the right skills and who is passionate about the business, but who has other interests or goals. They might not want to stay in town and devote their life to what you have built. Choose someone who is comfortable choosing to carry on tradition.

Don’t choose a successor based on who you like best or who treats you best. Also don’t make a wishful choice, hoping that your successor will change or mature once the business is in his or her hands.

Involve Others in Your Choice

In a family business, it is common that family politics and emotions will be involved in your choice. In some cases, multiple people will want to fill your shoes, while in other cases, your family members may only agree to take the job out of a sense of obligation.

The best way to navigate all of these problems is to communicate openly and honestly about your business’ needs and your own wishes for the future. Your successor should not be surprised by his or her new role in the event of your incapacitation, death, or retirement. Rather, your successor should be told about your succession plans and educated in the months or years before the business is turned over.

Business Succession Planning for Family Businesses of All Sizes

Having a plan is always good for business. Having a business succession plan is vital to the survival of your family business and the financial security of your loved ones who are supported by that business.

It’s never too early to start planning, and it’s never a bad idea to have a plan in place in case of an emergency or accident. At CKB VIENNA, our California business attorneys can make sure that your family business is prepared for change, whenever it comes. To schedule an appointment or to speak to a lawyer, please please contact us today.