If you are a small business owner and you pass away, what happens to your company? The answer may depend on the effort you’ve put into your estate plan. If you have not left behind an estate plan with elements that focus on your business, your company’s very existence could be put into doubt, especially if you have not prepared any sort of succession plan. Your loved ones will be forced to hire attorneys to get through the probate process and not lose a significant amount of money and assets.
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If you own your own small business, it’s important that you take the time to carefully plan the lines of succession after you retire or pass away. Your succession plan essentially stands on its own, but it can also be built into your estate plan to ensure anyone reviewing your plan understands your wishes regarding how your business will be passed on and continue to operate after you’re no longer involved.
Some people assume that the only reason someone would contest a will is out of self-interest. While there are certainly times in which people attempt to contest a will solely for financial gain, there are other circumstances in which the deceased might not have provided clear guidance within their estate planning documents, which could make contesting a will necessary. This is one of the most pressing reasons why it is so important for people who are drafting wills to be as thorough as possible. They should everything they can minimize the risk of a will being contested, as it could create a mess in court and lead to harmful arguments among friends and family members.
The most basic definition of power of attorney is that it provides legal authority another person or organization to act in your behalf in certain circumstances. While this may come in different forms (healthcare, special, durable, etc.), each contains the common element that the person who assigns power of attorney is giving another party the ability to act in his or her stead. Assigning general or durable power of attorney is an important step in creating a thorough estate plan. It protects you and your property in the event you become incapacitated, as you know the person to whom you have assigned power of attorney—known as your “agent”—will act in your best interests and per your wishes.
Many people attempt to avoid estate planning at all costs, as it by its very nature involves conversations about some topics we would much rather not confront. This common desire to avoid discussing estate planning in turn leads to some common myths and misconceptions about wills and probate—among other estate planning issues.
Are you getting ready to commit to estate planning for the first time? Below is a simple checklist with steps that will help you draft an estate plan that is as comprehensive as possible.
It is unfortunately common for families to get into heated arguments over inheritances and estates of their deceased loved ones. In some situations, these disputes can tear families apart and cause lifelong feuds. Even if you assume your family will handle the issue of their inheritances maturely, it is a good idea to ensure you are doing everything possible with your estate plan to prevent disputes from arising. Here are a few tips to help you accomplish this.
Living trusts can be an incredibly useful element of your estate plan, but many people do not understand exactly what a living trust is, how it works and the benefits it can offer. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we receive about living trusts.
Durable financial power of attorney is a relatively simple means of arranging for another person to manage your finances in the event of your incapacitation. The primary benefit of this estate planning tool is that it allows for continuity for your estate, while preventing any stress and disputes that could otherwise arise among family members about who is best suited to take charge of your money and assets.