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Do I need a written agreement when I go into business with another person?

A written agreement between business owners is vitally important.  We have seen numerous lawsuits and disputes between business owners which paralyze a business, and eventually cause the business to fail as a result disputes that could have been avoided or easily resolved if the owners had not neglected to sign a “buy/sell” or other agreement when they first formed the business.  We have often met with clients who have told us their business partner was a family member or a lifelong friend with whom they thought they did not need to have a written agreement or that they would have been embarrassed to ask for such a written agreement.  This is unfortunate because even when you go into business with family or friends, a written agreement can help to set a clear direction for the business and help to avoid misunderstandings as to what the parties expect from each other.
Furthermore, even if the business owners do remain on good terms, death is one of life’s certainties and disability, divorce and other life changes are also common.  When a business owner dies, wants to retire, becomes disabled or gets divorced, if there is no written agreement in place that provides a means to protect the other owner, disasters can occur that lead to former spouses, children or heirs now having an involvement in the business that may lead to disruptions and the business shutting its doors.
If you would like to discuss how to avoid these problems and how to start to plan for the future of the business when one or more of its founders retires, becomes disabled or dies, please contact Massachusetts business lawyer, Attorney Michael Doherty.  If it is too late and you are already in a dispute, please contact one of our business litigation attorneys.
Our Massachusetts business attorneys represent clients throughout Massachusetts and in every county of Massachusetts including Norfolk County, Suffolk County, Worcester County, Bristol County, Middlesex County, Plymouth County, Hamden County, Essex County and Barnstable County. Our business attorneys represent clients in Massachusetts’ largest communities including the cities of Boston, Worcester, Springfield, Lowell, Cambridge, Brockton, New Bedford, Fall River, Lynn, and Quincy. Our law offices are located in Franklin and Medfield and our business lawyers serve the neighboring towns of Bellingham, Milford, Upton, Hopedale, Holliston, Medway, Millis, Medfield, Norwood, Walpole, Sharon, Foxborough, Wrentham, Easton, Mansfield, Norton, Raynham, Tauton, Attleboro, Seekonk, Rehoboth, Uxbridge, and Whitinsville.