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Estate Planning For Business Owners

How To Provide For The Passage Of Your Interest In The Business

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Speak with your attorney about the best manner for you to pass your interest in your business to your heirs. If your business and other assets are worth in excess of $5,120,000, you'll want to consider how to minimize estate taxes.

With respect to your Will:

  • Be sure the provisions correspond with the provisions you make about the continuation or sale of your business.
  • Make arrangements for who will continue the business or fulfill any agreements such as a buy/sell agreement.
  • If your executor/personal representaive is not business savvy, consult your attorney regarding appointing co-executors.
  • One person would be directed to handle the business aspects of your estate. The other would be directed to handle the personal aspects. Check with your attorney to find out if such an arrangement can be legally binding in the state in which you live, or whether it will just be an informal arrangement.
  • Include provision for what happens if the two people disagree and an action needs to be taken.
  • To avoid confusion, it would help to have a discussion with co-executors together, and to then memorialize the discussion in writing.
  • Let your executor/personal representative know where your List Of Instructions is stored, as well as your Business Ethical Will if you have one.
  • Make sure it is challenge-proof, and that it is up to date both with respect to your assets and the people to whom you want to leave them.

Keep in mind that the bank in which you have your safe deposit box may seal the box on learning about your demise.

  • If you are a sole proprietor or a partner in a partnership, the bank will likely seal the box.
  • If your business is a corporate entity, the odds are the box will not be sealed if the box is in the name of your business-- but you need to make sure other people have authority to enter it.

Consider writing a Durable Power Of Attorney. Depending on the state in which you live, it will empower a person to carry on your affairs while your estate is being settled.

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