This article encourages business owners to plan ahead and create a trust or will to leave a legacy plan for their business and family.
New Year’s Resolutions
At the beginning of a new year, many people make resolutions and look to make personal improvements for the year ahead. One resolution should be to make certain that your business affairs are in order and include your legacy plans for your business in your will or trust. This will ensure that your desires for your business and family are fulfilled and not left to others.
Make a Plan
We highly recommend that every person have a will or trust when they get to the point in life when they can afford one. This is especially important for business owners. With business ownership and company equity involved, there needs to be an explicit passing of the guard when the business owner or partner passes away. A clear legal path forward is necessary for someone new to assume the responsibility, claim the business equity, and act on the behalf of the deceased owner’s interests. Do not leave this to chance. It is important to decide and declare in a will or legal trust document who assumes responsibility, equity, and can act on behalf of the deceased business owner.
Some people assume that passing a deceased person’s business equity to a spouse is automatic. This is not always the case. There is a lot at stake and this should not be left unaddressed. There may be something in the law or a business operating agreement contract that complicates the matter.
Coordinate Legal Documents
Let’s walk through a hypothetical situation for a moment. Imagine a case where a business operating agreement declares that equity will be split evenly among remaining partners when a partner passes away. The deceased partner’s will states that his wife will claim his equity and assume his role in the partnership. These documents are in conflict and could complicate an already emotional and difficult situation. We strongly recommend a legal review and coordination of all legal documents to simplify the process and bring peace of mind for the future.
Which is Better- a Will or a Trust?
Wills and trusts are both great tools to prepare for the legacy needs of businesses and individuals. Trusts are non-business entities that behave like businesses in some ways and may have certain tax advantages. Wills are a great way to assign and divide assets at the end of life. Both wills and trusts have merit and provide a clear legal path for the fulfillment of individual desires at the end of life. We suggest reviewing your individual business and personal needs to see which one is right for your situation.
Whether you are a business owner or not, you should have a plan in place in case the worst happens. As business owners you need to be thinking about the future of your business and so we highly recommend you meet with an attorney who can help you with your will or trust.
Contact us today for a free 15-minute Zoom consultation to review and discuss your legal needs.
DISCLAIMER- This website talks about various business topics and various legal situations. The statements given by the host or guests or author do not constitute legal advice given to any individual or business. The host and/or guests are giving their personal opinion based on their personal and professional experience. Examples given are given broadly as examples with names removed for privacy. If you do have questions about your business or legal situation, please reach out and email firstname.lastname@example.org to discus your business or legal situation.