Even business owner clients who love their work and can’t imagine ever slowing down need estate planning. That’s because, as we know at Geyer Law, even those who believe themselves infallible (a respected colleague refers to them as “pine box planners”) need to allow for the unexpected while putting in place plans for the ultimately inevitable…
While an estate plan is important for everyone, it is especially important for small business owners, fundera.com explains. That’s because, to put it bluntly, it’s not about only you, but about your employees, your customers, and your family members.
Even “They’ll-take-me-out-of-my-business-in-a-pine-box-ers” need to consider how to maximize the value of the business when it is transferred after the owner’s death to employees, to family members, or to outsiders. Even “pine-box-ers” want to use the estate and gift tax exclusions to minimize hard-earned money lost to taxes. Even “pine-box-ers” want to provide a future path for loyal employees who survive them. On the most practical levels, those who outlive them must know how to access customer files and business documents.
As Julia Chung writes in springplans.ca, “What we rarely consider, because we, as business owners and entrepreneurs are naturally superhuman, is what happens if you cannot – physically or mentally – show up for your business?” As a frequently seen ad on the sides of Indianapolis buses states “It happens!” How will these things be handled right then:
- cash flow issues?
- customer acquisition?
- staff management?
- marketing strategy?
- process management?
Business planning creates a process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, or stress, “creating a business that is strong enough to not only support and expand your vision, goals, and dreams, but also to run without you, should you need it to,” Chung explains.
Even if you are one of the fortunate who indeed remain fully functional and active up until it’s time for the “pine box”, planning is essential. As legal advisors to business owners, we find that one decision too rarely considered is creating – and updating -the right type of property inventory. An inventory of your personal and business assets will need to be completed so that your final state and federal forms can be filed.
“Infallible” business owners need reminding: Even when it comes to pine-box estate planning, it’s not all about you!
– by Ronnie of the Rebecca W. Geyer blog team