If you’re an entrepreneur, or a small or family business owner, you have more to lose if you don’t have an estate plan. An estate plan helps you protect not only your family and your assets, but also the business you’ve spent years (or decades) building. A recent article at Entrepreneur.com, entitled What Entrepreneurs Should Know About Estate Planning, describes some of the main components of an estate plan and how they can be useful to a business owner.
That article covers eight estate planning components, beginning with a will and a living trust and ending with long term care insurance and disability insurance. All of these components are extremely useful (and in some cases absolutely necessary) and we highly recommend reading through the entire article. We would also suggest that there are three more documents that an entrepreneur should consider to help preserve business and wealth for future generations.
Family Limited Partnership (FLP): A Family Limited Partnership is an asset protection tool which allows parents to take business assets out of their taxable estate and transfer the value of that asset to their children while still remaining in control of the business.
Buy-Sell Agreement: A buy-sell agreement is a formal plan or contract between business partners establishing what will happen to the business should one of the partners die. This document specifies whether a partner may or may not buy your ownership shares for your heirs and for what price, or whether you want to block certain family members or individuals from having any ownership share in the business.
Succession Plan: A succession plan should be a key element in any business plan, but especially for small or family businesses. A succession plan is exactly what it sounds like, a formal plan outlining your wishes for passing your business on to your successors. You may design a succession plan to facilitate your retirement, or to provide a smooth transition in the event of your death. In any case, a succession plan is essential for any business owner.
Don’t leave your business—or your family—out in the cold. Take the necessary steps to protect them both in the event of your death with a well-designed estate plan.