When, in May of last year, TD Wealth released the results of its annual survey of estate planning professionals, 89% of the attorney and trust officer respondents reported that their female clients had been especially negatively impacted by job losses, with the biggest concerns involving:
- prolonged life expectancy
- increase in healthcare costs
- dealing with blended families
- family conflict and divorce
- dealing with tax law changes (and anticipated future changes)
Meanwhile, tax and accounting firm Moss Adams reported unease among business owners relative to the pandemic. Factors that need to be considered in re-evaluating family-owned business estate plans include:
- preserving the value of the business
- changing interest rates
- tax issues
- attracting employees
- family issues
At Geyer Law, we help our business owner clients wrestle with all these factors, devising succession plans, partnership agreements, and employment contracts that are consistent with family as well as business goals.
In many cases, as the California estate planning attorneys at Baker Tilly point out, the impact of COVID has caused current generation family-owned business owners to consider exit options. The surprising thing is, despite the fact that 80% of all business owners have 90% of their net worth tied up in their business, the majority report that they have had no formal plan for exiting those businesses! The pandemic is causing business owners to think about transition/succession plans.
As estate planning attorneys in Indiana, we were fascinated by the following CNBC headline:
“Two-thirds of wealthy business owners plan to sell or retire sooner due to Covid pandemic, survey finds.” What the survey of 150 business owners revealed was that the pandemic caused them to value their time and families more.”
Meanwhile, until a business is sold or closed, there are many pandemic-related issues that must be confronted by owners:
- safety measures
- loan forgiveness
- protection from lawsuits
- telecommuting policiesThe pandemic is certainly forcing all of us to face the need for estate planning!
– by Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer blog team