Making Your Band into a Brand: Does Your Band Need an LLC?

While it’s not strictly necessary, an LLC can help your band. Whether you’re rocking out with your audience in a packed concert or recording a new song in a quiet studio, there are certain risks and responsibilities your band may encounter. An LLC can help to limit those risks and protect the interests of your band and its members.

What is an LLC?

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a company that can be essentially anything you want. Once established, the LLC can operate as a full legal entity separate from any members, owners, and employees. You can think of it like a person. In much the same way that you are a legal person when you’re born and given a social security number, an LLC becomes a legal “person” when it’s made.

What does this mean for your band?

As a legal entity, an LLC can do everything a person can do: make contracts, own intellectual property, sue and be sued. All of these can be helpful benefits for your band.


With the ability to make contracts under its name, the LLC will be the party responsible for executing the contract. You may sign the contract under the authority of the LLC, but you will not be personally responsible. This means if you cannot pay or otherwise perform under the contract, the LLC is responsible instead of you. Others may sue the LLC for breach of contract. Even if they sue the LLC and take all of its property, they can’t come after your personal property. Only in very rare and egregious circumstances will they pierce through the LLC to reach you.

Intellectual Property

LLCs can also help to keep your intellectual property organized. You can set it up so that the LLC (and not the individual members) owns all the copyrights to your music. This will make it easier to share profits and reduce friction between band members over who owns the copyright and who receives the royalties.

Dissolving the LLC

If your band ever breaks up, you can dissolve the LLC. The law provides automatic and simple processes for the dissolution of an LLC and the distribution of any remaining assets. This can help you avoid conflicts between band members.

Other Benefits to LLCs

Clarifying Expectations

Like we said before, an LLC can be essentially anything you want it to be. You create it by filing articles of organization and creating a legal contract called an operating agreement. You can do whatever you want within this operating agreement. One benefit is that you can assign individual band members, managers, agents, and other people specified roles, responsibilities, and benefits. This can help to clarify expectations and let everyone know what to do. And, in the event that someone can’t or won’t live up to those expectations, the operating agreement can provide a remedy for you.

Fiduciary Duties

LLCs create what lawyers call “fiduciary duties.” Fiduciary duties exist between the members of the LLC, and between the members as a whole and their employees, managers, and officers. This means that everyone must act with:

  1. A duty of loyalty—They will not exploit the LLC and its members for personal benefit or for the benefit of a third party.
  2. A duty of care—They must do their best in good faith to advance the interests of the LLC as a whole.

Let’s say a manager becomes a member and starts to exploit the LLC for the record label’s interest. That person has breached their fiduciary duty and can be sued and expelled from the LLC. They must then return any assets they took and provide compensation for any damage they have done.

Better Credit Options

Because LLCs can form contracts, they can have credit scores. This can be helpful, especially if your own credit score is not so good. If you wanted to, say, lease equipment, you may not be able to do so under your own name. The LLC can have better credit than you or any of the other band members. Many businesses actually prefer to give financing to business entities rather than individuals.

Tax Benefits

Finally, there are tax benefits for LLCs. As a business, you can “write off” the costs of doing business, the depreciation of instruments and other equipment, and possibly even the costs of promoting and advertising yourself (though this may vary). You would not be able to do this as an individual when filing your taxes, unless you can honestly claim you’re fully self-employed as a member of the band.

Also, the LLC—just like a person—pays its own taxes. If the LLC makes money, it pays corporate taxes. You only pay whatever income comes through the LLC to you as part of your income taxes. This means you can “hold” money within the LLC and wait to distribute it to yourselves until the right time (like when taxes are lower).

Call Cornerstone Law Firm for help.

As you can see, there are lots of great benefits to forming an LLC for your band. If you’d like to set up an LLC, call Cornerstone Law Firm. Our attorneys have experience with drafting operating agreements and other organizational documents for lots of LLCs. We can help with yours too. Give us a call today to set up a consultation!

Do I have to list all my creditors when I file for bankruptcy?

When filing for bankruptcy, a consumer is required to list all their creditors in their bankruptcy petition and schedules. This includes creditors for secured debts, such as a mortgage or car loan, and unsecured debts, such as credit card debt or medical bills. Failing to list a creditor can have serious consequences, including having the debt excluded from the bankruptcy discharge and, therefore, collectible by the creditor after the bankruptcy.

Creditors whose debts are not dischargeable must also be listed on the bankruptcy petition and schedules such as student loans, child support, and alimony.

Creditors must also be listed even in cases where a consumer may wish to continue making payments on a debt outside of the bankruptcy case, such as a filer wishing to keep their car and continue making payments on the car loan. The same is true if a consumer wishes to pay back an otherwise dischargeable debt after the bankruptcy case is discharged, such as voluntarily paying back a loan from a family member or friend.

It is important to note that if a creditor is excluded from the bankruptcy petition, the consumer may still be responsible for repaying the debt. Excluding a creditor from the bankruptcy petition does not discharge the debt, and the creditor may still be able to collect the debt outside of the bankruptcy case.

In summary, a consumer is required to list all their creditors in their bankruptcy petition. If a consumer excludes a creditor from the bankruptcy petition, they may still be responsible for repaying the debt outside of the bankruptcy case.

It is vital to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney about your specific situation. If you’re facing debts that you cannot pay and wish to consult an attorney about your options, call Cornerstone Law Firm and speak with one of our attorneys about how your debt should be handled.

Can filing for bankruptcy disrupt my social security benefits?

Because of bankruptcy’s reputation, it’s normal to have questions about filing. When it comes to your social security benefits, you don’t have to worry. Individuals who file for bankruptcy are typically able to keep their social security benefits. You may be able to use them to pay living expenses while going through the bankruptcy process, and after receiving a bankruptcy discharge.

Under the Social Security Act, social security benefits are protected from garnishment and other legal proceedings, including bankruptcy. This means that social security benefits cannot be used to pay off debts that are dischargeable in bankruptcy, such as credit card debt or medical bills.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you owe a debt to the Federal government, such as a student loan or tax debt, a portion of your social security benefits may be used to pay toward the debt.

Additionally, it is important to note that the amount of social security benefits that you are eligible to receive may be impacted by filing for bankruptcy. In some cases, individuals who have a large amount of debt discharged in bankruptcy may see an increase in their social security benefits. This is because the debt that is discharged in bankruptcy may have been counted against their income for purposes of determining their eligibility for social security benefits.

In summary:

  • Filing for bankruptcy does not typically have a direct impact on your social security benefits.
  • Social security benefits are protected from garnishment and other legal proceedings, including bankruptcy.
  • Social security benefits cannot be used to pay off debts that are dischargeable in bankruptcy.
  • There are limited exceptions for debts owed to the Federal government.

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy and are receiving social security benefits, you should consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to understand your rights and options. At Cornerstone Law Firm, our attorneys can help you determine the best path forward for you given your situation. Call today for your free consultation.

Six Dos and Don’ts when Getting Sued

Knock, knock! The Sheriff shows up at your door and hands you papers. “You’re being sued,” he quietly explains, and perhaps asks you to sign something noting you were served. As you close the door behind you, a number of thoughts may drift through your head. Questions, frustrations and bad ideas abound—but what should you do first? And more importantly, what should you not do first?

(By the way, sheriffs aren’t the only way you can be served, so if you’re not sure if you’ve been sued, call Cornerstone Law Firm to discuss your situation.) For those served, here are six things that you should and shouldn’t do when served with a complaint.

1. DON’T post about it on social media.

The first thing you definitely should not do is post on social media that you have been sued. Do not post about what happened. Do not post about the conflict that you have with the other guy. Don’t post negative things about the company/neighbor/business partner/soon-to-be-ex who filed this frivolous/outrageous/immoral complaint. Anything that you say can be used against you in a court of law—especially on social media.

When you post things publicly it is very difficult to predict how they can come back to get you in the future. It may feel good in the moment to pop off and say something, but the consequences to that decision can be significant. Accordingly, we strongly recommend against making public statements upon being served with a lawsuit.

2. DON’T call the person or lash out at them directly.

In a similar vein, calling the person, Facebooking them, or sending them a message, email or text are all bad ideas. Doing so can only be used against you in a court of law and cannot benefit you in any real way. In addition, doing so will give the adverse party the satisfaction of knowing they have gotten under your skin by suing you. Simply put, it is best to keep your frustrations to yourself when you have been sued.

3. DO begin gathering evidence to bolster your defense.

This one might seem obvious, but when you have been sued, you will need evidence to defend yourself. This means putting together all of the documents, emails, contracts and other papers and information that you have in your possession from the beginning of the conflict until now. If you are not totally sure how the conflict arose, read the complaint carefully and begin looking through your own calendar, matching up dates and times. Begin building a log of what you remember of what happened and when so that when you meet with your lawyer you can provide helpful and substantial information in your defense.

Lawsuits require that both sides be prepared to hand over significant information to the other side or the court when asked. Gathering that information and beginning to think about where relevant data may be stored will make you less stressed when given a short timetable to produce vast amounts of relevant information.

4. DON’T panic (and DO breathe).

Look, we understand. Really, we do. There is almost nothing in life more stressful than being sued. But panicking does not help anything. In fact, as research has shown repeatedly, panic can cause the brain to make very foolish decisions and can impair your ability to do higher level reasoning.

But telling you not to panic may not help you all that much. (“Great, now I’m panicking about panicking.”) So here’s a practical tip: try not to think about what the other side is going to do and what you are going to do in response. At first, it’s important to focus on the next step, which is finding good counsel and preparing your answer.

Lawsuits are a marathon, not a sprint. Try to train for them with that in mind. Just like running a race, you need to breathe and focus on each step, not dream about the finished line.

5. DO read the complaint that was served on you.

It is extremely important that you take the time to read the complaint (this is what the Sheriff handed you at the beginning). Carefully consider what has been said against you by the Plaintiff (the person suing you). Try to think about the situation objectively from all angles. Begin to go through and make handwritten notes on a separate sheet of paper about which allegations are true and which are false.

That’s right, in every complaint there are some allegations against you that will be true, even as simple as the spelling of your name or the fact that you had a contract with someone. What you are denying is what is most important. Sometimes, an answer to a complaint might mean answering 29 out of 30 paragraphs with “Admitted,” but then denying the crucial paragraph that has the fact that is not true. Accordingly, look through the complaint and try to get a good handle on what is true and what is not true. This will help when you meet with your lawyer.

6. DO call a lawyer.

It is absolutely vital when you have been sued that you call an experienced civil litigation attorney. Call someone who has the ability to walk you through the complaint and explain your options about filing preliminary objections or an answer (or a 12b6 motion in Federal Court). Getting an attorney who can walk you through your procedural and strategic options will go a long way to helping you get a better outcome in your case.

Conclusion: Contact Cornerstone Law Firm today if you have been sued.

If you have been sued, it is important to get legal help. Our attorneys at Cornerstone Law Firm, LLC are ready and able to help you. Call us today for a consultation so that we can walk through your case and understand your situation more thoroughly.

What is a bankruptcy creditors meeting?

It sounds a lot worse than it is—a meeting of all your creditors with the chance to ask you questions under oath. A meeting of the creditors, also known as a 341 meeting or a section 341 meeting, is a formal meeting that occurs in the context of a bankruptcy case. It is a hearing where the individual who has filed for bankruptcy, also known as the debtor, must appear in front of a bankruptcy trustee and answer questions under oath about their assets, liabilities, income, and expenses.

The purpose of the meeting of the creditors is for the bankruptcy trustee to ensure that the debtor is eligible for bankruptcy protection and to verify the accuracy of the information provided in the bankruptcy petition. The trustee will ask the debtor questions about their financial situation and may also ask for additional documentation or clarification of certain items listed in the bankruptcy petition. The trustee may also ask questions about any assets that may not be protected in a bankruptcy, such as luxury items, large cash balances, or recent transfers of assets.

You can prepare for the 341 meeting with the help of your bankruptcy attorney, and this meeting does not need to be scary in most cases. Here are some steps that you should take to prepare for the meeting of the creditors:

1. Review the bankruptcy petition.

Before the meeting, the individual should review the bankruptcy petition they filed to ensure that the information provided is accurate and complete. They should be prepared to answer questions about the information in the petition and should bring any necessary documentation to the meeting.

2. Gather supporting documentation.

The individual should gather any necessary documentation, such as pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns, and bills, to support the information in their bankruptcy petition. The trustee may ask to see these documents at the meeting of the creditors.

3. Dress appropriately and be punctual.

There are few things in life that get you as much credibility so easily as being on time and being dressed appropriately. You don’t have to dress in a suit, but try to avoid old or torn clothes. And of course, being 15 minutes early will allow you to relieve some stress as you get adjusted to the setting and speak with your bankruptcy attorney.

4. Be honest.

Your statements at the 341 meeting will be under oath. This means you can get in deep trouble for lying. Penalties could include perjury charges (a criminal offense), dismissal of your bankruptcy petition, monetary sanctions from the Court, and more. Don’t provide false or misleading information, and be honest about everything you’re asked about.

5. Know your rights.

We said up at the top that it’s not as bad as it seems. This meeting is an important step toward bankruptcy relief for a debtor. If you’ve been honest with your bankruptcy attorney, they can set you up for success in the creditors’ meeting. You should be aware of your rights in the bankruptcy process and have attorney representation to challenge questions, object where appropriate, and protect your interests in the process.

Conclusion: Contact Cornerstone Law Firm for a free bankruptcy consultation

The 341 meeting of the creditors is an important part of the bankruptcy process. It is a formal hearing where the individual filing for bankruptcy must answer questions under oath about their financial situation. By being well prepared, you can ensure that the meeting goes smoothly and that you receive the full benefit of the bankruptcy protection.

If you are heading into the bankruptcy process, call Cornerstone Law Firm for a free consultation on your case. Our attorneys can help you determine whether bankruptcy is right for you and also how to defend against claims brought against you in the process.

Can filing for bankruptcy save your home from foreclosure?

Filing for bankruptcy can provide a homeowner with a way to save their home from foreclosure. When a homeowner files for bankruptcy, an automatic stay is put into effect, which temporarily stops most collection actions, including foreclosure proceedings. This gives the homeowner time to catch up on their mortgage payments or to work out a plan to keep their home.

There are two main types of bankruptcy that can help homeowners save their home from foreclosure: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is known as a “liquidation” bankruptcy, which means that the debtor’s non-exempt assets may be sold to pay off creditors. However, some homeowners are able to keep their home in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if they are current on their mortgage payments and their equity in the home is protected by the homestead exemption.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is known as a “reorganization” bankruptcy and is designed for individuals with a regular income who are behind on their mortgage payments. Under Chapter 13, the homeowner is able to propose a plan to repay their creditors over a period of three to five years, during which time the automatic stay protects their home from foreclosure. At the end of the repayment period, any remaining unsecured debt is discharged.

It’s important for homeowners to understand that filing for bankruptcy is not a guarantee to save their home from foreclosure. They must continue to make their mortgage payments while the bankruptcy is pending, and they must also meet the requirements of their repayment plan in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

In addition, filing for bankruptcy may have a negative impact on the homeowner’s credit score, but the impact is often less severe than the impact of a foreclosure. Over time, as the homeowner begins to make timely payments and rebuild their credit, the negative impact on their credit score will lessen.

It’s also important for homeowners to work with an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can advise them on the best course of action for their specific financial situation. The attorney can review the homeowner’s financial situation and determine if filing for bankruptcy is the best option to save their home from foreclosure.

At Cornerstone Law Firm, our attorneys help clients navigate the complex world of bankruptcy and foreclosure, and can help you determine whether to reorganize debts, seek a modification, or consider bankruptcy. Call today for a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

Seeking an Amicable Divorce by Working with the Same Attorney

Welcome to Family Law Tip of the Week, a regular series on our blog where we offer tips on how to go through divorce and custody disputes in an amicable way. Divorce should always be a last case resort but if you are going through it, we want to provide some tips on how to survive it.

When you are going through a divorce and you are trying to keep matters amicable, one approach is to seek a single attorney who will moderate the dispute for both of you. Rather than each of you getting an attorney, paying higher fees, and working against each other (and doubling the cost to your marital estate in the process), you can choose one attorney to work with both of you to develop an outcome that is fair and reasonable for both sides. Negotiation will still ensue, but this one attorney represents both of you and will do their best to come up with a solution that makes it work without having to go to court.

This approach is rare for a few reasons. First, if the divorcing spouses do not get along to begin with, having a joint attorney is not likely to fix that problem. Unfortunately, many divorcing spouses find they cannot even have an adult conversation with the person that they are getting divorced from. It is going to be difficult to agree on an attorney and work together with that attorney or take their advice seriously.

Second, if either of the two of you have a protection from abuse order, either mutually or from one person to the other, you will not be able to communicate effectively with your attorney as the attorney will have to avoid being a go between for messages that are not legal.

Third and finally, though legal to proceed together with one attorney, it does, by definition, present a technical conflict of interest. The attorney can’t get the best outcome for either person if he is working to find the best compromise for both. And if the two spouses cannot agree after the attorney’s best efforts have been made, that attorney would be disqualified from representing either party in court on the divorce.

Having said all of this, having a single mediator assist you to work out a divorce can be a powerful cost-saving and stress-reducing measure. A mediator’s goal is to bring you together. An attorney/advocate’s goal is often to push you apart. The costs tend to be lower and having someone invested in finding a way to reach a solution that does not involve the two of you going to court will provide an outside force to hopefully resolve it with less fighting and trouble.

Additionally, if you have kids in the mix, having a mediator attorney work out a custody agreement can be a really good approach too. This attorney can help the two of you get home studies, meet with counselors, and do other things that you may have to do through the court process anyway. Reducing stress on your kids in this process is immensely valuable to their well-being and your family’s long-term health.

This is just one of many approaches that we recommend to clients to avoid making litigation more heated than it needs to be. The divorce and custody process is already painful enough to be involved in. If there is a way to reduce that, then we strongly recommend it. If you have questions about this approach or any others, call our family law attorneys at Cornerstone Law Firm today for a consultation.

What is the credit counseling requirement of bankruptcy?

The credit counseling requirement is a crucial part of the bankruptcy process. Before an individual can file for bankruptcy, they must complete a credit counseling session with an approved agency. This requirement applies to both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies.

The purpose of the credit counseling session is to help individuals understand their financial situation and to explore alternative options to bankruptcy. The credit counseling session typically lasts for about an hour and can be completed in-person, by phone, or online. During the session, the individual will provide the credit counselor with information about their income, expenses, and debts. The credit counselor will then use this information to create a budget and to discuss alternatives to bankruptcy, such as debt management or debt settlement.

After the credit counseling session, the individual will receive a certificate of completion, which must be filed with the bankruptcy court. The certificate of completion serves as proof that the individual has completed the credit counseling requirement and is eligible to file for bankruptcy.

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the credit counseling requirement must be completed within 180 days prior to filing. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the credit counseling requirement must be completed within 180 days prior to filing and the individual must also complete a financial management course after filing. The financial management course is designed to help the individual understand how to manage their finances after bankruptcy and is a requirement for obtaining a discharge of their debts.

It’s important for the individual to choose a credit counseling agency that is approved by the U.S. Trustee’s Office. An approved agency must meet certain standards and must be in good standing with the Trustee’s Office. A list of approved credit counseling agencies can be found on the U.S. Trustee’s website.

In conclusion, the credit counseling requirement is an important part of the bankruptcy process and must be completed before an individual can file for bankruptcy. If you have questions about the bankruptcy process, contact Cornerstone Law Firm for a consultation on your situation and needs. Our experienced bankruptcy attorneys can help you navigate the process.

Liquor Licenses in Pennsylvania: A Uniquely Valuable License

Ever since the introduction of prohibition in America, alcohol has been subject to unparalleled legal controls. The passage of the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution reflected the growing national mood around alcohol—namely, that it needed to be guarded against as a danger in society.

Even with the repeal of prohibition by the 21st Amendment (the only constitutional amendment to ever be completely repealed), one important piece remains. The 21st Amendment’s “section 2” gave states unusual power to legislate or prohibit the “transportation or importation…of intoxicating liquors.”

Pennsylvania has taken full advantage of the powers granted by the 21st Amendment. It created state sanctioned (and apparently constitutional) monopolies on alcohol. Each county is given a limited number of “liquor licenses” controlled by Pennsylvania’s Liquor Control Board. These licenses are extremely valuable, as each one represents a limited opportunity to sell one of America’s most popular commercial products.

The Responsibilities of Liquor License Ownership

Along with this monopoly power comes remarkable responsibilities for the license holder, however. The duties include requirements to keep precise records, available upon demand by the Pennsylvania State Police, and to keep licenses separate in ownership from one another. Generally, a person may not own more than one license, and other rules restricting the transfer of licenses to people of “sound character” mean that a liquor license is a valuable commodity.

This also means that penalties against this license are a big deal. If the Liquor Control Board receives citations filed by the State Police or other enforcement agents, they retain power to penalize the license. Such penalties “go with” the license if it is sold or otherwise transferred. This means that the value of the license is diminished permanently by “bad acts” or negligence of the owner.

If you’ve been cited as a liquor license owner, it is important for you to contact a lawyer immediately to discuss your options. It is also important to ensure that you are abiding by formalities as required and ensuring your license stays “clean” and up to date.

There are also a number of strategies available to you if you’re having trouble paying costs or taxes, including escrowing the license for a period of time, or even putting the valuable liquor license up as collateral for a loan. Anything is better than losing or damaging the license.

Conclusion: Contact Cornerstone Law Firm

Liquor licenses are controlled very carefully in Pennsylvania by the Liquor Control Board. If your business owns a liquor license, it is important that you comply with the regulations and keep it clean from citations, back taxes, and other issues. Furthermore, when transferring liquor licenses, you have to be careful to comply with all appropriate rules and regulations. If your business owns or is buying a liquor license, contact Cornerstone Law Firm so that we can help you to comply with the law.