Monday, July 17, 2017

Steps To Take Before Starting Your Own Business

As any business owner will attest to, there’s a lot that goes into setting up a company. You are probably well aware of some of the more obvious matters, such as finalizing your business name, choosing/building/leasing your location, and securing any needed funding to get your business off the ground. While these steps are important, they barely scratch the surface of the myriad of details that must be attended to. This week, our business attorney in Osage Beach MO is here to look closely at three important steps that need your attention as you prepare to start a business at the Lake of the Ozarks.


Talk To An Accountant


As you might guess, there is a lot of financial responsibility involved in owning your own business. You will be responsible for ensuring that you meet all of your expenses, that you and your employees are paid, that you pay your taxes on time and in full, and that by the time it’s all said and done, your business turns a profit. Business finances are subject to complicated tax regulations, and it’s important that you are aware of and follow these rules. It is also important to be aware that the way you choose to handle certain aspects of your company’s finances (such as paying yourself) will likely impact how your taxes are calculated at the end of the year. By talking to an accountant early on in the process, you can set yourself up for success in the long run.

Talk To An Attorney

Owning your own business should be an incredibly exciting and (if all goes well) profitable endeavor. However, there are a variety of potential pitfalls that await business owners. It is important to be aware of the potential liabilities that may present and how you can avoid them. An experienced Lake of the Ozarks business attorney will be able to guide you through many of the challenges that come up along the way. We recommend that you build a strong relationship with your attorney early on in the process.

Choose How To Incorporate Your Business


One of the first and most important steps is to decide upon a business format. There are a variety of business formats available (sole proprietorship, limited liability company, corporation, etc), each with their own financial implications. The business format you choose will impact how your company is operated and taxed throughout its lifetime, so it’s important to think through this decision carefully. Your attorney and your accountant will be able to help you weigh the pros and cons of the various options available to you so that you can choose the format that will best meet your needs.

O’Donnell Law Center Is Here To Help You

There is a lot that goes into starting a business. Talking to an accountant, building a relationship with an attorney, and choosing how to incorporate your business are only a few of the steps you will need to take, but they can help get you started on the right path.

If you are looking for a business attorney in central Missouri, consider setting up a consultation with O’Donnell Law Center. Our experienced staff has helped multiple businesses address a wide variety of legal situations. We would be honored to put our experience to work for you.

We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.


The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising.

Phone: (573) 552-0317

O'Donnell Law Center, LLC
1026 Palisades Blvd. Suite 3
Osage Beach, MO  65065

Friday, July 7, 2017

End-Of-Life Decisions: Starting The Conversation

Though we know that we won't live forever, few of us want to think about the fact that we will one day pass away.  However, it is important to think about what we want life to look like for our surviving family members once we are no longer around. Because this may be an unpleasant thought process, it can be difficult to open ourselves up to these types of conversations. 



If you or a loved one is having trouble discussing end-of-life preparations, our estate planning firm in Osage Beach MO may be able to help. We frequently facilitate these types of conversations for our clients. Keep reading to learn more about how we can help you start the conversation.

End-Of-Life Decisions

There are a number of end-of-life decisions that should be addressed, and we have listed a few examples below:
  • Who do you want to inherit your property?
  • At what age do you wish your children to receive access to their inheritance?
  • Who do you want to make end-of-life decisions on your behalf in the event that you become incapacitated?
  • If something happens to you and your children are under the age of 18, who do you want to serve as guardian?
  • Who will care for your pets if something happens to you?
  • Who do you want to make healthcare decisions on your behalf in the event that you become incapacitated?
  • How do you wish to divide your property and assets among those closest to you?
  • Do you have a plan to provide for all of your close relationships? How will you ensure your assets are divided fairly?
  • Is your estate sizable enough that you need to worry about minimizing tax burdens ?

Estate planning is vast and complex. The topics addressed during the estate planning process go far beyond the simple question of "Who gets my stuff?" - although that is certainly part of the process.

Starting The Conversation

Having conversations that address these questions may not be easy. Sometimes, coming to an attorney's office with your spouse can help by introducing you to an environment that is conducive to these types of conversations. We can also give you tools to address the topic with your adult children on your own time.

Basic, cookie cutter wills and durable powers of attorney are available online and at low cost. However, our lives are not stamped out by a cookie cutter - everyone's family, circumstances and wishes are different and deserve to be treated as such during this important process. Our Lake of the Ozarks estate planning attorney can help you customize an estate plan to meet your specific situation. 

Once you have the basic end-of-life decisions out of the way, you may want to address more complex concepts, such as:
  • What makes you comfortable?
  • What do you want people to remember about you?
  • What legacy do you wish to leave behind?

Estate Planning At O'Donnell Law Center

Our goal is to help you think about end-of-life decisions that may not have yet occurred to you, but are nevertheless important concepts that deserve pre-planning and attention. Embracing the challenge that end-of-life conversations often present, we create a comfortable, trusting environment that is conducive to addressing these difficult topics.

If you would like to learn more about our estate planning services at the Lake of the Ozarks or schedule your initial consultation with O'Donnell Law Center, contact us via our website: www.ODonnellLawCenter.com

We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.


The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising.

Phone: (573) 552-0317

O'Donnell Law Center, LLC
1026 Palisades Blvd. Suite 3
Osage Beach, MO  65065

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Legal Implications of BWI Charges

Momentum for the summer season is steadily building. As temperatures climb slowly but steadily, the Lake Area gets busier and busier - especially on the weekends. By the end of summer 2017, the Lake of the Ozarks will host several hundred thousand tourists.

For many people who visit our beautiful area during these warmer months, spending time out on the water is a top priority. Boating is a staple of summer fun, but it is not without its share of risks. This week, our Lake of the Ozarks attorney is here to take a closer look at one particularly dangerous risk boaters face: alcohol.



Adult Beverages On The Lake

Most people who visit the Lake of the Ozarks greatly look forward to getting out on the water and enjoying a few cold beverages while they're at it. In doing so, it is important to drink responsibly as a passenger, and to designate a sober captain. 

Don't Drink And... Boat?

As we all know, alcohol consumption impairs judgment and motor skills. People who are intoxicated are more likely to make poor decisions and engage in behavior that may put themselves and others at risk. For this reason, it is important that you designate a sober captain to operate the vessel. 

Legal Implications Of BWI Charges

Boating while intoxicated (BWI) is a serious charge, and the long-term affects of a conviction may be felt for years to come. 

Boating while intoxicated is a criminal offense. It does not affect your driving record; however, a BWI conviction will leave a permanent mark on your criminal record and can result in jail and even prison time. 

Understanding BWI Arrests

As with driving motor vehicles, it is illegal to operate a vessel with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more. If a water patrolman has reason to believe you may be operating a vessel with a BAC of 0.08% or higher, he may ask you to take a series of sobriety tests and place you under arrest for suspicion of boating while intoxicated.

Defending BWI Charges

If you are facing BWI charges, securing quality representation is essential. While a BWI conviction in and of itself does not impact your right to drive a vehicle, you may feel the effects of the conviction in other ways. In order to ensure that your rights are protected, we encourage you to engage strong representation from an experienced BWI attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks.

At O'Donnell Law Center, we dedicate a significant portion of our practice to criminal defense and as a criminal law firm at the Lake of the Ozarks, we have a great deal of experiencing defending against BWI charges. For more information about our criminal law services in Osage Beach MO, visit us at www.ODonnellLawCenter.com.

We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.


The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising.

Phone: (573) 552-0317

O'Donnell Law Center, LLC
1026 Palisades Blvd. Suite 3
Osage Beach, MO  65065

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Debt: America's Current Financial Crisis

Debt is one of the greatest obstacles any adult can face, and unfortunately, it has become a pervasive problem in our modern society. In order to better illustrate the current debt burdens American households are carrying, our Lake of the Ozarks debt collections defense attorney is here to share the following 2016 statistics compiled by NerdWallet.



Here is how much debt the average household has in each of these categories:
  • Credit cards - $16,748
  • Car loans - $28,948
  • Student loans - $49,905
  • Mortgages - $176,222

Any given household may carry more or less debt than the average in each of these categories, depending on the family's specific lifestyle/needs. NerdWallet goes on to reveal that after adjusting the totals in any given category, the average household carries a total debt balance of $134,643 (including mortgages).

What Happens To All That Debt?

Typically, consumers take on debts to cover certain large purchases they would not otherwise be able to afford, such as a house, car, or boat. Ideally, consumers should analyze their big financial picture to determine how much debt they can afford to take on, and then take steps to repay their debts following the monthly schedule they agreed upon with their lenders. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way.

Sometimes, life circumstances make it impossible to carefully weigh the pros and cons before taking on new debt. You may find it difficult to make ends meet one month and resort to credit cards to make up the difference. Alternatively, your employment (and therefore your income) may change, making it difficult or impossible to keep up with your monthly debt payments. Whatever the reason, the resulting situation is the same - you may suddenly find yourself saddled with debt that you cannot afford to repay.

When Debt Goes Unpaid

If you are late on a payment for your debt(s), the first thing that often happens is simple - you'll receive a communication from your creditors notifying you of the missed payment. Your creditors will most likely charge you a late fee as a consequence. If you make your payment and pay the late fee in a timely manner, the issue may go no further and everyone can move on.

Of course, if you didn't have the money to make the payment in the first place, you may find it difficult or impossible to make the payment as well as the late fee. Unfortunately, the longer you wait to make your payment (and the more months you miss) the more financial penalties you'll accumulate in the form of late fees and additional interest.

Long-Term Unsatisfied Debt

If your creditor is not able to secure payment from you, a number of different things may happen. If your debt is secured with collateral (such as your house or your car), the creditor may begin the process of trying to seize this collateral. The creditor may also sell your debt to a debt collection agency, at which point the collection agency will become your point of contact for dealing with the debt in question.

You may also be served with a lawsuit over your debt. Debt collection lawsuits are very serious - if not addressed appropriately, the consequences may be long-lasting and severe.

Building Your Debt Collections Defense

If you are being faced with a debt collection lawsuit, all may not be lost. You may have a valid defense, even if it does not seem obvious to you.

Our debt collections defense attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks can help you evaluate your situation to determine what strategy may be most advantageous for you. Our primary goal will be to ensure that your rights remain protected at all times. 

To learn more about our Missouri debt collections defense services, visit our website at www.ODonnellLawCenter.com. You can also call us directly at (573) 552-0317 to schedule your initial consultation.


We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.


The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising.

Phone: (573) 552-0317

O'Donnell Law Center, LLC
1026 Palisades Blvd. Suite 3
Osage Beach, MO  65065

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Enforcing Your Company's Business Contracts

As a small business owner, you will likely form multiple contracts. Employee agreements, purchase orders from vendors, services you provide to your customers, and lease agreements are just a few examples of the types of contracts you are likely to encounter.



Contracts are designed to protect all parties involved in the agreement, ensuring that everyone receives the value promised to them. In most cases, all parties uphold their ends of the bargain and things progress without incident. However, in some cases, one party may fail to perform as agreed. In these instances, you may be required to take steps to enforce the contract in order to protect your interests. Our Lake of the Ozarks business attorney is here to examine what makes a contract enforceable and what steps you can take to begin the process.

What Is A Contract?

Essentially, a contract is formed when you agree to exchange things of comparable value with another party. For example, you agree to give customers your products in exchange for money. If you hire an employee, you agree to give that individual a paycheck (and possibly some benefits) in exchange for her time, labor, and good performance. 

Contracts can be written or oral. While not every contract is required to be in writing, a writing may be preferable because enforcing oral agreements can be extremely challenging.

Enforcing A Contract

When both parties fulfill their contractual obligations, everyone benefits. When one party fails to uphold their end of the bargain, the other party may have to take steps to enforce the agreement.

In order to be legally enforceable, contracts must meet certain specifications. Here are a few examples.
  • Capacity. All parties entering the contract must have the capacity to do so. Contracts entered into by minors and individuals declared to be legally incompetent are not legally enforceable.
  • Public Policy. The terms outlined in the contract must not violate state and federal law. Contracts outlining illegal activity are not enforceable.
  • Duress. All parties entering the contract must do so of their own accord. If one party entered the contract under duress or coercion, the contract may not be enforceable.
  • Unconscionability. Contracts are designed to exchange things of comparable value. If the contract heavily favors one party, the court may strike it down as unconscionable.
  • Misrepresentation. All parties entering the contract must be aware of all the significant facts and circumstances surrounding the agreement. If it is later revealed that one party withheld or misrepresented important information that may have influenced the other party's decision to enter the agreement, the contract may not be enforceable.

O'Donnell Law Center Can Help With Your Business Contracts

In order to protect your small business, it is important that contracts you enter into are legally sound and enforceable. We help small business owners draft and evaluate their contracts.

For more information about our business law services at the Lake of the Ozarks, give us a call at 573-552-0317 or check us out online: www.ODonnellLawCenter.com

We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.


The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising.

Phone: (573) 552-0317

O'Donnell Law Center, LLC
1026 Palisades Blvd. Suite 3
Osage Beach, MO  65065

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Loved One Passed Away Without A Will... Now What?

One purpose of an estate plan is to organize your affairs so that when you pass, your assets can be smoothly and easily transferred to your surviving heirs. When designed correctly, estate plans can be used to reduce taxation, avoid probate, arrange for your minor children to inherit your assets when they come of age, and serve a variety of other purposes. Unfortunately, some people do not get a chance to organize their estates before they pass away.


Experts estimate that approximately half of Americans don't have estate plans (or even simple wills) in place. No one wants to think about death, and many people put off the act of planning their estates because they assume that they have many more years before such documentation would become necessary. While the hope is for everyone to live long lives, sometimes it doesn't work out that way.

Passing Away "Intestate"

If your loved one has recently passed away without a will in place, organizing her affairs will likely be a long and complex process. O'Donnell Law Center may be able to help.

"Intestate" is the legal term used to refer to individuals who have died without a will in place. If this has happened to someone in your family, the intestate laws of the state she lives in will dictate to whom her assets will be passed. This will primarily depend on whether or not she was married and whether or not she had any children. 

Going Through Probate 

Missouri's probate laws are complex, and the probate process can take anywhere from several months to several years. Having an experienced Lake of the Ozarks probate attorney to guide you through the process can make a big difference.

If your loved one did not have a will nominating an executor, the court will appoint someone to fill this role. Surviving spouses commonly take on this responsibility, but if your loved one was single or if her spouse is unwilling/unable to fill the role, the court will appoint someone else. The executor (also called the Personal Representative) will have the following primary responsibilities:
  • Organize the decedent's assets
  • Estimate the value of the decedent's assets
  • Address the decedent's final bills, taxes and debts
  • Distribute the remaining assets to the heirs and/or beneficiaries
Family Issues That May Develop

A difficult aspect of dying intestate is the potential it creates for family disagreements. If your loved one did not have a will designating the distribution of assets, you may find yourself at odds with the other family members over who should inherit what or the value of certain assets. 

There is rarely an easy solution to these types of challenges. However, having a competent Camden County probate attorney to help can be a valuable resource during this difficult time.

O'Donnell Law Center May Be Able to Help

If you are in need of a probate attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks, we hope you'll consider scheduling a consultation with Deirdre O'Donnell at O'Donnell Law Center. Our team has experience working with:
  • Trust administration
  • Probating wills
  • Probating estates when there is no will
  • Guardianships
  • Conservatorships

For more information about how we may be able to assist you, visit us at www.ODonnellLawCenter.com or call 573-552-0317 to book your private consultation.


We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.


The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising.

Phone: (573) 552-0317

O'Donnell Law Center, LLC
1026 Palisades Blvd. Suite 3
Osage Beach, MO  65065

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

5 Reasons You NEED A Criminal Defense Attorney

Facing criminal charges is arguably one of the most stressful events you may ever experience. Whether or not you actually committed the crime in question, a criminal accusation means that your life must be largely put on hold until the investigation and trial are resolved. Throughout the process, nothing will matter as much as ensuring that your rights (and your future) are protected. Here are a few reasons why it is important that you secure the representation of an experienced Lake of the Ozarks criminal defense attorney.


An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Can...

1. Handle Your Case Effectively.
The fact that a well-versed criminal defense attorney will know and understand the law better than you should go without saying. The legal field is often convoluted and complex; no layperson will understand the criminal justice system as thoroughly as an experienced attorney. Your attorney's knowledge and expertise will be a huge asset to you as you progress through the trial process.

2. Objective, Balanced Representation In Court.
If you are facing criminal charges, it will be natural for you to have strong emotions relating to your situation. Depending on how things progress in court, you may be tempted to stand up and vehemently support your position. However, speaking out of line or in an overly emotional fashion may do more harm than good. Hiring an attorney gives you someone to vent your side of the story to who can then provide the objective, balanced representation you need in court.

3. Examine The Evidence.
Though the prosecution is expected to only present objective evidence that has been lawfully obtained, this is unfortunately not always the case. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to help you critically evaluate the evidence presented against you, looking for exaggerated testimonies, inconsistent or inaccurate details, and unconstitutionally obtained evidence.

4. Negotiate A Lighter Sentence.
In some cases, obtaining an acquittal may not be realistic. Even in these situations, however, a criminal defense attorney can be a valuable resource. Your attorney may be able to negotiate plea bargains or other deals, thus enabling you to get a conviction for a lower classification of crime and accompanying punishment. Without an attorney, you may have no choice but to face the punishment initially requested by the prosecutor.

5. Protect Your Future.
Criminal defense isn't just about protecting your rights and your interests in the moment - it's about protecting your future. A criminal conviction that becomes a part of your permanent criminal record can make it much more challenging for you to obtain a mortgage loan, quality rental housing and employment, or obtain certain professional licenses. In defending your constitutional rights throughout the trial process, your attorney may also be helping to protect your future opportunities.

Contact O'Donnell Law Center For Criminal Representation

Criminal defense is a core area of our practice at our Lake of the Ozarks law firm. If you are (or believe that you may soon be) facing criminal charges, we encourage you to schedule an initial consultation with our criminal defense attorney in Osage Beach MO. Having successfully tried hundreds of criminal cases, attorney Deirdre O'Donnell has a proven track record you can rely on. For more information about our criminal defense services, call (573) 552-0317 to schedule your initial consultation.


We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.


The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely on advertising.

Phone: (573) 552-0317

O'Donnell Law Center, LLC
1026 Palisades Blvd. Suite 3
Osage Beach, MO  65065