Without an estate plan can, business owners and entrepreneurs put themselves in serious jeopardy. Proper planning will address difficulties businesses can have in keeping the business running if the founder is unable to continue in the business for any reason, and other important issues.
Legal Reader’s recent article entitled “What Small Business Owners Should Know about Doing Estate Planning” explains that estate planning is necessary to ensure business continuity. Think about who can take control when you’re no longer around to have the business continue according to your wishes contained in your estate plan. An experienced attorney can help business owners create a comprehensive estate plan, so things do not become chaotic for their family in the event of premature death or any temporary or permanent disability. Consider these steps when it comes to good estate planning for business owners.
Create an estate plan if you haven’t already done so. A trust is designed to detail your wishes about who will own and control the business at your death. A power of attorney allows an entrusted individual to undertake your business transactions and manage your finances, if you are incapacitated by injury or illness. A healthcare directive permits a trusted agent to make medical decisions on your behalf when you can’t do so yourself.
Plan for taxes. Tax planning is a major component of estate planning. Our tax laws keep changing frequently, so you have to stay in constant touch with your attorney to develop strategies for decreasing your tax liability, as well as creating a strategy for minimizing inheritance/estate taxes.
Buy life and disability insurance. Small business owners should think about purchasing life insurance, so their families can have a source of income after their death.
Create a succession plan. In addition to estate planning, a business owner should have a succession plan that specifies exactly how your company, and your family will prepare for a transition of ownership. The purpose of a well thought out succession plan is to keep the business operating or to take steps to sell it. This plan also includes the organizational structure of the business in case of maintaining business continuity.
Finally, you should keep everyone impacted by your decisions apprised of your estate plan and your business succession plan.