If you own an interest in a closely held or family-run business, your business and estate plans, including your plan for asset protection, should go hand in hand. Most often, a successful closely held business constitutes a substantial portion of the owner’s wealth and estate that must be protected. It is also important to protect personal assets that are outside of the business from exposure to the risks of the business.
Consideration should also be given to the method of passing your business on to future generations, as well as which family members are capable of managing its future affairs. Who do you want to carry on your life’s work? Do you have one child who is the better choice to take over the business, but you want to leave an equal legacy to all of your children? Often, it is obvious that one child will be interested in and capable of participating in the future of the business. However, this is not always the case. Proper estate planning will not only help you obtain an orderly shift in control of the business, but may also provide significant tax savings to you and your family.
If you or your estate owns or runs a business, that is — in and of itself — significant exposure to legal liability and other risks that must be planned for.
Our attorney can help you answer important questions regarding your new or established business, including:
- Should the business be operated as a corporation, partnership, limited liability company, or sole proprietorship? Should there be related trust planning?
- Are there benefits to using a captive insurance company, even if your business is relatively small? What is your plan to manage overall risk, and what is and is not covered by your insurance?
- What estate tax planning benefits can be derived from “special use” valuation under the federal tax laws? Are there other ways to coordinate your business and estate planning objectives?
- If the business is a corporation or partnership/limited liability company, to what extent can a shareholders’ or a buy-sell agreement be utilized to keep the business in the family and to save estate taxes? How will family members and business partners or key employees get along if you are no longer able to be involved? Should you plan for a buyout under certain conditions?
- What if you become disabled and can’t work in the business? What if you die?
- Maybe the business is ready to sell and your goals involve moving on to a new venture or to retirement?
Including business considerations in your estate plan requires the advice of professionals knowledgeable not only in estate planning, but also in business and tax law. A closely held and/or family owned business can present both challenges and many advantages in your estate and financial planning. At the Law Offices of Robin S. Gnatowsky, our lawyer can help you with starting a new business, with business succession planning, with asset protection planning, and with other business related legal matters. Contact our Virginia estate planning attorney online or call 804-935-8510 to schedule an appointment. We help individuals, families and family trusts, charitable organizations, and small and family owned businesses in Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., and Florida.
Contact a Business Succession Planning Lawyer
Business considerations are an important part of estate planning. Contact our Glen Allen business succession planning attorney online or call 804-935-8510 to schedule a consultation to discuss your needs. We help individuals, families and family trusts, charitable organizations, and small and family owned businesses in Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., and Florida.