You and your business partner(s) have drafted your governance document. If you have an LLC, you’ve drafted your operating agreement. If you have a corporation, you’ve drafted your bylaws. If you have a general partnership, you’ve drafted your partnership agreement.

It may feel odd to consider a document with a table filled with questions and answers a legal document, but that’s basically what it is. You’ve written down the solutions you and your business partners want to implement for the business, and by doing so you’ve drawn up a plan for implementing those solutions moving forward.

This is a huge step forward in growing the legal resilience of your farm or ranch business! Turning this document into a binding contract is as simple as writing that you, the members/owners, will abide by the decisions made, and then signing and dating the document. However, depending on your goals this may not be the end of the line yet.

There’s one final step to take before signing, and that is to get your governance document draft reviewed by an attorney IF you wish to further reinforce your legal resilience.

Some businesses won’t need or want an attorney to review their governance document because it is straightforward and/or there just isn’t any interest in making the contract bulletproof in court.

Others will want an attorney to review to ensure that the terms align with state law and to protect specific interests of the parties involved. The good news is that if you do want to work with an attorney, asking them to review draft terms you’ve already prepared by going through this workbook process will set you up for efficient and cost-effective use of their time. Rather than starting from scratch, you’ll be asking the attorney to look over your work to address any red flags and shore up any gaps.

Try this: Checking if you need an attorney to review (~30 min exercise)

Before signing, meet with your business partner(s) and take some time to identify your priorities for the governance document to assess if attorney review is necessary to meet those needs.

Read through the list of considerations below and check the ones that apply:

  1. I/we want to ensure all our rights and privileges are protected in alignment with state law.
  2. I/we want to ensure certain rights and privileges are protected in case of divorce or someone decides to leave the business.
  3. We need to ensure that our governing decisions comply with our state’s corporation/LLC/partnership statute and that there are no conflicting provisions within them, which might lead to confusion down the road.

If ANY of the above considerations apply to you, then you will need to work with an attorney to review your governance decisions before finalizing your document and signing. Providing the attorney with your completed decision log will support the efficiency of this process, which can equal saved time and money. Make it clear which of the considerations above are a priority for you. Ask for what you need as this will increase the chances that you get the legal services for which you’re paying.

If NONE of the above considerations apply to your situation, then you may not need to prioritize attorney review before signing your governance document.

Let's check in about where you are at, so far!
Have you improved your knowledge about how to draft and create a governance document (operating agreement or bylaws), as a result of this resource?
Which of these statements apply to you and your situation, regarding your governance document (operating agreement or bylaws)? Select all that apply.

Are you planning to meet with an attorney to review your governance document? If so, you can come back here to complete or celebrate Step 8, which is quite simple: signing! If you are bypassing attorney review because the 3 legal considerations above did NOT apply to your situation, then head on over to Step 8 to get ready for signing.

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