Business owners and estate planning

Georgia entrepreneurs might want to consider creating an estate plan because if something unexpected happens to them, it could leave their business and colleagues in jeopardy. A will can cover both business and personal affairs and can appoint an executor to distribute business assets. A business owner might also want to consider using a revocable living trust for privacy reasons instead of or in addition to a will.

Business owners may also want to consider a durable power of attorney that allows someone they trust to manage company and financial affairs if they become incapacitated to avoid having a court appoint a guardian. They should also consider leaving password information for electronic assets to accounts online and social media sites.

Small businesses with more than one owner need a buy-sell agreement. This puts a plan in place for what to do with each owner's portion of the business in the case of death or incapacity, and it may include how to assess the value of the business and what happens to the individual's stock. Finally, a succession plan that identifies who will step into needed roles and how the transition will occur may be necessary.

Often, people may not have thought of the various components of an estate plan or may not know how many different options are available, and they may want to meet with an attorney so that they can learn about some of these options. For example, in addition to using a trust for a business, it may be used to pass assets down to family members if they want to tie the inheritance to specific milestones or accomplishments such as graduating from college. A trust can also be designed to only give money at certain intervals if a family member tends to be irresponsible with finances.

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