Dependable Estate Planning for Ohio Small Business Owners
If you own a small business, it is critically important to have an estate plan established to ensure your family members, friends and other beneficiaries uphold your wishes after you pass away. Taking this step can provide you with the greater assurance that your company will continue to operate successfully, while also helping your beneficiaries making important decisions well into the future.
The Ohio estate planning attorneys at Seif & McNamee have years of experience assisting business owners with their diverse needs, allowing them to create sound wills, trusts and other important documents. We are dedicated to formulating an estate plan that meets all your goals, while preserving the business you’ve worked so hard to build.
Starting the estate planning process
The first step in developing your estate plan is to take the time to think about what you would like to see happen after you’re no longer around to run your business. If you have minor children, you may opt to give them their shares of the company right away, or place those shares in a trust until they reach a certain age. You should also know who you would like assume control of the business—or if you would like it to be sold, with the proceeds going to your family members.
Another key decision is who you would like to serve as your general or durable power attorney agent, as this person will need to make important decisions on various financial issues likely related to your business. And, you should consider what types of medical care and treatment you’d like to receive (or not receive) if you become incapacitated due to a serious illness or injury.
Planning for the future of your business
The structure you use for your business can impact the ability of creditors to claim your personal assets to pay off any debts you owe upon death. A limited liability company (LLC) or S corporation, for example, allows you to avoid personal liability in most instances. However, you will still need to consult an estate planning attorney to ensure your company remains totally protected and that you are accounting for all possibilities.
Of equal importance is having a succession plan that provides clear direction for your family members, business partners and employees after you pass away. This plan should cover where you would like your shares to go and who will run the company. Many owners opt to have their businesses sold after their death.
How can you minimize taxes through estate planning?
Taxes can have a major impact on a small business owner’s estate upon death, often ranging from 35 to 50 percent under current tax law. These taxes are due within nine months of the deceased’s passing, and they are likely to come out of beneficiaries’ inheritance if you do not plan properly.
Through a sound estate plan, you can minimize these tax burdens while still maintaining your company for the foreseeable future. A knowledgeable estate law attorney can provide further guidance on the mechanisms available.
What is an asset protection plan?
It’s common for small business owners to personally guarantee loans or lines of credit to help fund their companies. Through an asset protection plan, you can protect both your interests and those of your beneficiaries, preventing the negative impact of creditors or a potential lawsuit. It’s a fairly simple step that can pay off dividends in the long run.
How does a business buy-sell agreement work?
A buy-sell agreement allows you to transfer ownership to one of your business partners in the event of your death. It establishes a price for your partner to buy out your shares of the business, possibly using funds from a life insurance policy that you set up in conjunction with the buy-sell agreement. The proceeds of the sale would then go to your spouse or other beneficiaries.
Meet with an experienced Ohio estate law attorney
For the reliable guidance and advice you need when preparing for the future of your business, consult a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer with Seif & McNamee. From our offices in Waverly and Chillicothe, we proudly serve clients throughout Ohio. Please contact us at 740.835.4882to get started today.