As a business owner, you have many considerations to make daily, from scheduling employees and ordering inventory to meeting with partners and ensuring your company is operating to standards. Since you take a considerable amount of pride in your company, given all the time and effort you pour into it, you should take additional steps to protect your business upon your passing. Keep reading to learn how to shield this valuable asset upon your death with the help of Pennsylvania estate planning attorneys.
How can an estate plan protect my business?
Though thinking about your death is unpleasant and can be upsetting, failure to create an estate plan can have detrimental impacts on your business. If you do not have a plan in place, you have very little control over what will happen to your company. Because you’ve worked hard to build up your reputation, taking the time to plan is critical, as it will allow your company to live on in your legacy.
By creating an estate plan, you prevent your assets, including your business, from being handled by the state of Pennsylvania. Those who pass without a will die intestate, and the state takes over the distribution of assets according to the line of succession. As such, those who you may not wish to gain control of your business could be entitled to a portion.
What documents should I create?
When you are ready to start planning your estate, understanding what documents you must create is essential to protecting your assets. Generally, a will is most common for business owners, as it allows you to dictate which assets will go to which beneficiaries. If you have decided that your daughter will take over the business, you can leave this to her in the will to prevent the state from giving all three of your children an equal portion.
Additionally, you can consider setting up a trust fund that will house assets for your beneficiaries until they are ready to be distributed. This can help avoid probate and reduce the tax impacts your beneficiaries may incur.
Finally, you should consider establishing a financial power of attorney. This allows you to grant someone of your choosing the authority to make financial decisions on your behalf. Should you become incapacitated or unable to do so yourself, this entity can make decisions based on your wishes.
If I need help, what should I do?
Estate planning can be complex, as there are many considerations you must make during this process. As such, it’s in your best interest to consult with an experienced attorney to explore your options. Just as you hire an accountant to help your company, an attorney can help ensure you take the necessary steps to protect your business upon your passing.
At Friedman Schuman, our dedicated team has experience helping those with complex assets like businesses plan their estate. Not only does this ensure your wishes are met, as we can help make sure your documents are legally binding, but this will also provide the necessary peace of mind for the future. Contact our team today to learn how we can assist you.