Many people hesitate when it comes to estate planning. The subject of their own death is exceedingly difficult for many to confront. However, everyone should get his or her affairs in order, and this is especially true for business owners. Keep reading to learn about the special steps you need to take when planning your estate if you own your own business.
Decisions that all individuals need to make
Certain documents ensure that your wishes are carried out after your passing. They include (but are not limited to):
• A medical power of attorney
• A financial power of attorney
• A last will and testament
• A living trust
• Life insurance documentation
A last will and testament should cover issues such as custody of children and/or pets as well as the disposition of personal property.
Business succession planning
The first thing to determine is whether your business will carry on after your passing. If your business is a trade or provides a specialty service requiring specific skills, there is often no one to take over the running of your business after you are gone. In this case, you would create a specific plan of action for your estate’s administrator that details how to dispose of any business assets, such as equipment, brand name (if applicable) and customer lists.
In the case of a business that does not require specific, licensed skills to continue, such as a restaurant or retail store of some kind, your succession planning documents will lay out who will be responsible for running the company after you are gone. Your estate’s administrator would make sure that all the business’s assets would be transferred to your designated successor. He or she will be responsible for keeping the business up and running and will assume ownership of all business assets and liabilities.
Indiana state-specific laws
An attorney licensed to practice law in the state of Indiana will have the most up-to-date information on estate planning statutes. A lawyer’s advice can be invaluable as you navigate the estate planning process for yourself and your business.