Our Practice

ZMA Legal has a diverse practice that enables us to provide the broad range of services for our clients. The ability to provide our clients with a single source solution to their legal and business needs enables us to establish close working relationships with our clients and render cost-effective service.

PRACTICE AREAS

  • Corporations
  • Limited Liability Companies
  • Partnerships
  • Annual Maintenance
  • Financial Transactions
  • Ownership Agreements
  • Mergers and Acquisitions
  • Business Succession Planning
  • Contract Drafting and Review
  • Confidentiality Agreements
  • Strategic Planning
  • Living Trusts
  • Wills
  • Life Insurance Trusts
  • Charitable Remainder Trusts
  • Residence Trusts
  • Annuity Trusts
  • Family Limited Partnerships
  • Asset Transfers
  • Powers of Attorney
  • Medicaid Planning
  • Sale/Purchase Transactions
  • Condominium Conversions
  • Transaction Negotiation
  • Contract Drafting
  • Development
  • Leasing
  • Escrow Services
  • Zoning and Municipal Law
  • Sale/Purchase Transactions
  • Short Sales and Workouts
  • Contract Negotiation and Review
  • Title Insurance
  • Closings
  • Escrow Services
  • Employment Agreements
  • Separation Agreements
  • Restrictive Covenants
  • Employee Handbooks
  • Organization
  • Corporate Maintenance
  • Tax Exempt Status

PRACTICE AREAS

ZMA Legal represents a variety of clients ranging from well-established companies to emerging entrepreneurs. We handle all aspects of a business’ legal affairs, from matters in the ordinary course of a client’s business to other matters requiring sophisticated levels of knowledge. We become familiar with each facet of a client’s business so we can offer practical and thorough advice in an efficient manner, provide creative solutions to problems, and avoid issues of concern before they become obstacles.

We handle:

  • Formation of corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships and other business entities
  • Participation in general corporate operations, the negotiation and drafting of shareholder,employment and other contracts and agreements
  • Negotiation of business purchases and sales
  • Mergers and acquisitions

Our experience also includes familiarity with transactions involving industry-specific details, such as hotel, restaurant & gas station acquisitions, and insights into the medical, pharmaceutical, and surgical instrument industries.

ZMA Legal assists clients in their residential real estate transactions throughout Chicago and the suburbs. We advise the first-time home purchaser and the sophisticated developer and assist clients in the mortgaging and refinancing of properties. We also act as national title insurance agents for several title insurance companies.

We stand by our clients from the contract negotiation stage through the completion of the closing and beyond. We regularly advise our clients regarding any construction, zoning, environmental, land use and title issues that may arise. During this process, we advise and assist the client with any roadblocks to keep them one step ahead.

ZMA Legal represents owners, purchasers and developers in the acquisition, financing, construction, development, leasing, management and sale of shopping and retail centers, multi-family residential developments, industrial properties, individual residences, and commercial office buildings.

We represent clients in all aspects of the development of commercial properties, including:

  • Forming legal entities
  • Property assembling
  • Purchasing of sites
  • Reviewing of architects and construction contracts
  • Working with lenders on construction and permanent financing
  • Appealing property tax assessments

We represent clients in connection with acquisitions and dispositions of real estate on a local and national basis.

  • Preparing purchase and sale agreements and conveyance documents (including related financing documents, such as purchase-money and third-party loan documents and sale-leaseback documentation)
  • Performing and coordinating due diligence
  • Preparing and negotiating ground, master and space leases on behalf of landlords and tenants
  • Handling foreclosures and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure transactions
  • Counseling on tax-deferred or tax-advantaged transactions, including like-kind exchanges under §1031 of the Internal Revenue Code

We regularly represent landlords and tenants in commercial leasing transactions on a local and national basis. Our expertise includes the following:

  • Drafting and negotiating office, retail and ground leases
  • Subletting, assignments, and lease sales

ZMA Legal counsels our clients in various aspects of both lifetime wealth transfers and estate planning including business succession planning, sophisticated gifting strategies, charitable gift planning, and exempt organization work.

The complexity and uncertainty of the current federal and state tax laws requires great care be taken when creating a lifetime wealth transfer or estate plan. We work closely with our clients and their financial, insurance and accounting advisors to develop an estate plan that address our clients’ long-term objectives for their families in the most tax-efficient manner. The trusts and estates services offered by the firm includes:

  • Preparation of wills and both revocable and irrevocable trust agreements, including: generation skipping perpetual trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, grantor retained interest trusts, irrevocable defective “grantor” trusts, and offshore trusts.
  • Preparation of family limited partnerships and limited liability corporations.
  • Preparation of documents for creation and administration of charitable foundations, whether in the form of trust agreements or corporations.
  • Planning for special situations such as disability, marriage or change in domicile
  • Planning for closely held businesses
  • Planning for special tax advantaged assets such as retirement accounts, executive benefits and life insurance.

ZMA Legal represents both employers and employees in connection with various types of employment related issues and disputes, including those relating to:

  • Employee contracts
  • Severance agreements
  • Executive employment agreements
  • Releases and agreements relating to separation from employment
  • Hiring and discharge
  • Non-compete agreements
  • Confidentiality agreements
  • Employment policies/handbooks

We assist new organizations in the incorporation and tax-exemption processes to ensure that they establish the right structure from the beginning, putting them into a strong position to carry out their missions. Establishing a nonprofit organization involves two steps: state incorporation and obtaining federal tax-exemption. We also advise our clients about nonprofit law when they are establishing governance policies so they can operate effectively and in compliance with applicable regulations. Certain governance rules vary depending on the applicable state nonprofit corporation law and the type of organization at issue.

ZMA Legal guides clients through the formation process and the establishment of good governance policies and practices. We also help boards understand their fiduciary obligations and industry best practices so they can provide meaningful oversight to their organizations.

  • Formation of nonprofit corporations and charitable trusts.
  • Preparation and review of governance documents. (nonprofit bylaws, governance policies, etc.)
  • Consultation on the legal duties of boards, including fiduciary and ethical obligations.
  • Advice on best practices for board members, including conflicts of interest and financial control.

CASE STUDIES

The Situation:

Our client wanted to purchase 15 hotels in four states from ten unique sellers, with a total purchase value over $100 million. Our client did not have a local presence and wanted ZMA Legal to represent them through the negotiation, drafting and closing of the properties.

What We Did:

We drafted an asset purchase agreement which was specifically tailored to the purchase of the debts and assets of hotels. We did our due diligence by making sure the Seller’s were not withholding information about any of the properties. We also assisted in the valuation and negotiation of the terms of purchase. ZMA Legal drafted licensing agreements, assisted in franchise applications, negotiated tax prorations, drafted operating agreements and created new corporate entities to make the sale a success.

This is only one of many scenarios and real estate solutions in which ZMA Legal can assist. In order to find the best solution for your individual circumstances, contact ZMA Legal to discuss your options.

The Situation:

Our client was part of an upstart online food distribution company. As a national distributor of food, our client had concerns about any legal issues facing them. Of main concern to our client were product branding and liability.

What We Did:

We immediately audited the company to pinpoint all areas of legal weakness. We discovered the company had not been properly incorporated and this could cripple the limited liability protection. As a result, we were able to correct the issues with the corporation before any serious problems arose. Next, we drafted and implemented terms of service and privacy policies for its website. By doing this, we prevented the possibility of lawsuits by individuals claiming their identity was not protected. Finally, we did a thorough search for companies with similar names and filed for trademark protection of the website, company name and logo; thus protecting the intellectual property of the company from copycats.

This is only one of many scenarios and business law solutions where ZMA Legal can assist your company. In order to find the best solution for your individual circumstances, contact ZMA Legal to discuss your options.

The Situation:

Our clients have been married 30 years and have two young children. When one spouse passes their net worth will be $2,287,000. $1.5 million is in the form of an insurance policy paid out to the spouse upon the death of the other spouse. While our clients were careful in purchasing life insurance, they did not have a will in place. Still, his assets passed to his wife under the state’s intestate statute. If no estate planning was done, even if all the assets were passed to one spouse under a spousal exemption, the assets of the remaining spouse would be subject to tax. Since their children were young, they wanted to make certain that the children went to college and that they did not receive a lump sum amount upon both of their passing.

What We Did:

We immediately drafted wills for the couple so that there is added protection over the state’s rules of distributing assets of someone who dies without a will. We also set up a life insurance trust to hold the proceeds of the life insurance. We named the surviving spouse as the life beneficiary and the kids as remainder beneficiaries. This means that the funds would be kept out of the surviving spouse’s estate while still allowing them to benefit from the proceeds. We also set up a trust for the children, maintaining that they could not get a full distribution of assets. The trust stipulated that the children would get no money unless they went to college, that the trust would make payments for their college expenses, and that they would get a full distribution from the trust at age 30.

We also suggested a gifting strategy, after one spouse passes, to trusts for her children in order to slowly reduce their estate over the years.

This is only one of many scenarios and estate planning solutions which could minimize estate taxes. In order to find the best solution for your individual circumstances, contact ZMA Legal to discuss your options.

LET’S WORK TOGETHER

We work as a single united team with market leading firms around the world and give our clients the highest quality advice possible.

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