Kozeny & McCubbin, L.C.

Call Today 314-684-8046

St. Louis Legal Blog

Blacks more likely to be stopped in MO, report shows

The 2014 police shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teen, in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked the Black Lives Matter movement, which went on to have a significant impact throughout Missouri and the rest of the country. This movement continues, with people of all races wondering if it has done any good. A recent report by the state attorney general seems to suggest that progress against racial profiling during traffic stops is not only not being made, but may be regressing.

Missouri's annual Vehicle Stops Report states that the disparity of black people being more likely than white people to be stopped in traffic rose from 75 percent last year to 85 percent in 2018. Additionally, 6.6 percent of blacks and 7.1 percent of Hispanics are arrested after Missouri traffic stops, as opposed to just 4.2 percent of whites. On the other hand, states ABC News, the studies showed that while white drivers are less likely to be searched by authorities than people of color, they are more likely to have contraband in their possession.

What can you do to protect your business's trade secrets?

As a Missouri small business owner, you may consider your intellectual property one of your most valuable assets, and chances are, you would be right to do so. If you have formulas, recipes, techniques or other elements of your business that set you apart from your competitors, you likely want to protect them to the fullest extent possible. Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to help safeguard your valuable property and prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.

Per the U.S. Small Business Administration, your protection needs may involve tangible, paper trade secrets as well as ones stored electronically, but it is equally important to limit access to both. For paper trade secrets, make the effort to always store them carefully in a locked file cabinet, and make sure only those you want have access to it. You can also restrict online access for electronic trade secrets and intellectual property, but it may prove wise to take things a step further and make sure that all of your employees sign confidentiality agreements before officially signing on.

What to do when you interact with law enforcement while armed

Owning a firearm is a great way to protect your family, defend yourself and stay safe. You probably put a lot of effort into ensuring that you handle your firearm safely and responsibly, but you must exercise additional caution when you are armed and interacting with law enforcement. Such situations can escalate quickly, but if you follow protocol, you can enter such interactions calmly and confidently.

Keep the following three tips in mind the next time you encounter law enforcement and have your firearm with you. Being mindful of the situation can help prevent it from escalating and avoid any accidents that could end in the dangerous mishandling of a firearm by yourself or law enforcement.

What to include in an employment contract

If you live in Missouri and operate your own small business, you may be handling your own employment needs with regard to hiring, firing and so on. Often, one of the best ways to prevent potential lawsuits from employees or otherwise finding yourself in trouble involves adopting some solid human resource-related practices from day one, and this holds true when it comes to employment contracts. At Kozeny & McCubbin, we understand the essential elements of an employment contract, and we have helped many Missouri small business owners fine-tune theirs and prevent potential problems down the line.

Per PandaDoc, one of the most important things to include in your employment contract is comprehensive and pertinent job information. Outline exactly what you expect of your new hire, and include information about superiors, performance assessments and so on. You also want to outline exactly what type of employee the hire is (contractor, full-time employee and so on), because this matters in terms of insurance considerations, taxes and the like. When it comes to your employment contract, it typically pays to be thorough, so the more specific you can be in your contract, the better.

Estate planning for children with special needs

If you reside in Missouri and are the parent of a disabled or special needs child, you may have valid concerns about who is going to provide and care for your child once you become unable to do so yourself. At Kozeny & McCubbin, we recognize that parents of special needs children face unique estate planning considerations, and we have helped many parents facing similar circumstances create effective plans for the future.

According to CNBC.com, one way parents can leave assets behind for their special needs children is through a special needs trust. Why might you consider leaving your disabled child assets in this type of trust, as opposed to leaving assets in a traditional will?

Why do I need an estate plan?

If you think you do not have an estate because you are not wealthy or do not own many assets, you are not alone. According to CNBC.com, wills are basic estate planning documents that nearly 64 percent of people lack. The most common reason they put off estate planning is they do not believe they need to do it. Regardless of how much wealth and assets you plan to leave behind and the number of family members you have, you can still benefit from planning your estate. 

There are a variety of tools you can use to ensure your possessions and wealth pass down uneventfully and in a timely manner to individuals of your choosing. Consider the following information about St. Louis estate planning. 

A guide to reviewing and updating your estate plan

A lot of people delay making an estate plan. If you already have a will and perhaps some other documents, such as a trust, power of attorney or beneficiary designations, then you are already off to a good start. You are ahead of the curve. However, you should always remember that creating an estate plan is just the first step in what should be a continual process.

It is absolutely necessary to consistently review and update your estate plan over the years. Here is how you should go about looking at and potentially altering your estate plan.

Why should I choose an NFA gun trust over a standard trust?

You are probably already familiar with the basics of an NFA gun trust if you have established an estate trust or another standard trust in the state of Missouri. Gun trusts are documents designed to do any or all of the following for you:

  • Provide guidance for the beneficiaries of the trust
  • Protect your property from seizure
  • Avoid fees and delays associated with probate court
  • Reduce tax penalties
  • Facilitate the transfer of property

There are, however, major differences between a generic trust and one you establish to deal with firearms. These distinguishing characteristics are necessitated by the set of federal laws governing the sale, possession and manufacturing of your firearms: collectively known as the National Firearms Act.

What should I include in my business plan?

If you are a Missouri business owner, then you know that sometimes things do not go according to plan. Competitors arise, deals fall through and unexpected clients land right on your doorstep. There is absolutely no way to plan for everything, but that should not prevent you from working with a planning perspective.

Planning should likely be an integral part of operating your business. That is because business plans are more than just an exercise you must perform to secure a bank loan or attract angel investors. These documents are tools with the power to help you identify your risks, growth opportunities and potential goals. 

Understanding Missouri's 'Stand Your Ground' law

If you live in Missouri and have ever had anyone break into your home, you may have questions about what your rights are under such circumstances, and whether you are legally able to use deadly force against the assailant. At Kozeny & McCubbin, L.C., we have a firm understanding of Missouri's Stand Your Ground law as well as others relating to weapon ownership and use, and we have helped many Missouri residents defend their rights with regard to the use of firearms and weaponry within state lines.

Per KSHB Kansas City, Missouri became the 25th state in the nation to adopt a Stand Your Ground law last year. What, exactly, does the law mean for the state's firearm owners? Essentially, it asserts that Missouri residents who feel as if their lives are in danger due to a threat of deadly force may defend themselves using a gun without first having to retreat. A key component of the Stand Your Ground law, however, is that you can only exercise this right if the incident occurs in a location you have authorization to be in, such as your own home or a public place.

Kozeny & McCubbin, L.C. | 312400 Olive Blvd., Suite 555, | St. Louis, MO 63141 | Phone: 314-991-0255  | Map & Directions