Don’t Leave Your Business Entity in a Taxi!

It’s understandable how someone might leave a shopping bag or a small item like keys or a wallet in a taxi. However, in 2008, violinist Phillip Quint left his multi-million dollar Stradivari in a New York City taxi. The taxi driver discovered the instrument and returned it. Like musicians, business owners sometimes forget important tasks relating to their business entities. Although some forgotten tasks may be correctable, others are not. By forgetting to pay attention to their business entities, an owner can lose it forever.

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Backdating–When is it Appropriate?

Our son is the fourth generation to play a violin made in the early 20th century by Prague luthier Janek (John) Juzek. When researching Juzek’s history, I found it interesting to read that he backdated the labels in his instruments. They included his own name but a completion date about five years earlier than the actual date the instrument was completed. Backdating violin labels was not uncommon, and it was not illegal. However, backdating legal documents is another matter. Backdating legal documents is frequently permissible. However, under other circumstances, it can be fraudulent or illegal.

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Is Your Letter of Intent Permanent and Binding?

Violins are made from about 70 different pieces of woods, most of which are carefully carved and glued together. Despite the availability of synthetic glues, it is not used on the finer instruments. Fine instruments are glued together with water soluble glue made from animal skin and tendon. Although “hide glue,” as it is known, is strong and serves the purpose of holding the violin together, it is not supposed to be permanent. Letters of intent and term sheets are like hide glue. They are meant to provide a strong framework for a transaction and to serve as an aid in negotiating a final contract. However, they are not intended to be permanent and binding.

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Be Aware of Legal Issues When You “Drone” On Someone Else’s Property

Drone is a musical term which refers to a single note (or notes) which is played continuously throughout a piece of music. A drone note also can be used as a music education tool to help with intonation. Another type of drone, which does not involve music, has also been in the news. From package delivery, to search and rescue operations , to real estate inspections , unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs, also called drones, have become mainstream.

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You Won’t Live Forever, but Your Business May

Johann Sebastian Bach served in the courts of the nobility and for the church in Leipzig. He wrote his music to meet the needs of those who hired him. Little of his music was published during his lifetime, and he likely had little expectation that his music would survive him. Unlike Bach, most business owners expect that their businesses will survive them. Careful business succession planning can make the difference between a business becoming multi-generational family operation and failing after becoming mired in in-fighting or disputes among heirs.

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Accessorizing your Violin and Your Real Estate

Like many violinists, I have a weakness for accessories. Not fashion accessories like scarves and handbags, but violin accessories like mutes, shoulder rests , rosin , humidifiers, metronomes , and chinrests. Real estate can have “accessories” too. A homeowner may construct a gazebo or storage shed to “accessorize” their home. Owners of an apartment complex might construct carports or a swimming pool, or a restaurant may construct an outside covered pavilion for summer outdoor dining.

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Checking Your Sound Post and Attorney Fee Provisions

As he moved the bridge (a task that always makes me nervous), we both heard what sounded like a pencil falling to a wood floor. He moved the violin back and forth, and sure enough, there was the telltale rattling sound that occurs when the sound post has fallen. Despite the importance of the sound post and the skill involved in crafting it, many violinists do not think much about their sound post. Because it is inside of the violin, many violinists do not think much about their sound posts–until there is a problem. he same is true of many “boilerplate” contract clauses.

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Determining a Composer’s Message and a Contract’s Meaning

Conveying a composer’s original intention is more difficult than it might appear. Original manuscripts from Bach’s era were handwritten, often hastily with ink on parchment. Where the original manuscript is available, it may have been sloppily written or be damaged or incomplete, leaving the musicologist to reconstruct the composer’s intentions from later versions. Unlike with a music manuscript, we usually have a complete copy of the contract. Still, delving into the parties’ intentions can require an examination of the context in which the contract was written and how the parties acted after they signed it.

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Riding the Ferris Wheel and Planning an Exit Strategy for a Tenant-in-Common Investment

On June 21, 1893, at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, more than 2,000 people gathered for the opening of the world’s largest Ferris Wheel. After George Washington Gale Ferris, Jr., designer of the wheel, and other dignitaries gave speeches, and the fifty-piece Iowa State Band played patriotic tunes, the wheel was started for the first time, belying the background story.

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What’s in Your Orchestra? Evaluating the "Bundle of Sticks" in Your Real Estate Transaction

Acquiring commercial real estate is a lot like an orchestra in that purchasing real estate consists of purchasing many more assets than meets the eye. When you buy commercial real estate, you know you are getting the land and buildings. Yet, as with an orchestra, there are leases, contracts, personal property and intellectual property, which also may be part of a real estate acquisition.

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