The old adage of the only things guaranteed in life are death and taxes continue to be as true today as it ever was before. And, the realities of death have never been more acute than they have been in recent memory. This is why we often get questions from business owners about the best timing for estate planning.
When is the best time to estate plan for business owners?
Now! We never know how many days we have left on Earth. That is simply a fac of life. But, think about the effect the sudden loss of an owner or even a key employee, who knows all the ins and outs of a business. Think about the chaos that loss will invite. And, think about the family that is left behind to fight over that business. Would it survive? Would those family relationships survive? This is why estate planning, or more accurately, transition planning, is so important for business owners.
Business transition planning is part of the estate planning process for business owners. It is the process whereby the drafter is setting out how they want their business to transfer to the next generation. The goal is simple: ensure that the business survives after one’s death by empowering the next generation to take over. This process can actually help one’s current business too because it really forces business owners to think about how and why their business is growing and how to keep that momentum.
Keeping familial relationships strong
For business owners, regardless of the size of the business, family is likely involved in some way. Whether it is passing the business along to children, empowering a family member to always be on the board of directors, etc., familial relationships are key in business. Through estate and transition planning, one can manage familial expectations and goals. This will reduce the likelihood of family feuds and destroyed relationships.
The first step
For Geneva, Illinois, business owners, the first step is calling an attorney. One cannot know what they do not know, but it is the estate planning attorney’s job to know. They can walk business owners through the process to ensure that one’s transition plan is in place, along with the litany of other estate planning resources needed for one’s end-of-life care and post-death needs.