When you decide that it is time to plan your estate you have a lot of things to consider, but when you own a small business the matter becomes even more complex. Everyone should have an estate plan in place, even at a young age, but business owners really need to think ahead. The primary reason for this is that your long term intentions have a lot to do with how you should structure your business along the way.
People who have a professional practice or some other type of owner-dependent business may not be planning for the next generation to take over after their death. They are going to have to structure their business differently than others who are planning to pass their business along to a family member, or to a partner or associate. Some small business owners may want to structure their business for marketability after they pass on with the intention of leaving the proceeds from the sale to their heirs.
People who are in business for themselves generally work hard and stay focused, and this is clearly the pathway to success. But when you are thoroughly engaged in building and maintaining a successful business you may never stop to consider exactly how your business fits into your estate plan. If you don’t have a plan in place at present, ask yourself what the executor of your estate would be looking at if he or she had to sit behind your desk tomorrow. How would your death impact your family and employees? These are questions that even young and healthy people need to address, because anything can happen to any one of us at any time.
For small business owners estate planning is a must, and the sooner you have a plan in place, the better.