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Dot the i’s and cross the t’s: FAQs on legal documents for start-ups

Entrepreneurs from all walks of life begin their journey with a bright idea.

Establishing a start-up takes courage and commitment, but no business strategy is complete without seeking legal advice.

The process can seem daunting, particularly when several legal documents need to be in order.

Rather than avoiding or delaying the completion of legal documentation necessary to establish your start-up, you can familiarise yourself with some of the key documents.

What are some of the legal documents needed for a start-up?

There are several documents needed, and each differs depending on your type of business and the relationship you wish to manage. For instance, backers and investors may require you to sign a loan agreement and personal guarantee deed.

For customers, there are legal documents which can help ensure your business complies with consumer rights while providing terms and conditions to manage malicious customers. These include, but are not limited to, terms and conditions for sale of goods, services agreements, and e-commerce terms and conditions.

My start-up has several founders. Is there legal documentation to protect our individual rights? 

Yes. Often a start-up begins with several founders, and these relationships need to be structured early to efficiently manage the business. A shareholders agreement and partnership agreement are two useful documents, depending on your business structure. Intellectual property is one of the most valuable assets for a start-up and therefore documentation such as an IP deed of agreement between all founders is crucial.

My start-up will soon need to hire employees. What legal documents are involved in this process?

There are strict rules and regulations on workplace law and they will often be in employees’ favour, not yours. Protect your rights as an employer using legal documents such as a deed of restraint and confidentiality, or independent contractor agreements. Develop efficient workplace policies which are well-thought out in advance of employing people, so that the foundation of your start-up is solid in case of future legal disputes.

Where can I get help? 

You can access customised legal packages for your start-up to complete such legal documents. Lawyers can offer expert guidance throughout this process to ensure your start-up is protected using the correct methods.

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