It is best practice for a business owner to outline their wishes in his or her Last Will and Testament. In this document, a business owner can divide their assets among beneficiaries, and name an executor to oversee the distribution of both personal and business assets. If your business happens to be a sole proprietorship, in which you are the only owner, the executor should also be given access to the business’s digital identity; namely email accounts, bank accounts, accounting information, and social media sites. As wills are a matter of public record, this information should not be included in the body of the document itself.
Power of Attorney should also be established in the estate plan, to ensure that should the owner ever become incapacitated for any reason, an individual is named who has the authority to handle the everyday affairs of the business. This ensures that all facets of a company continue to work in the absence of its owner, including asset management, paying bills, making payroll, and all other vital functions that will ensure the company’s survival in the interim.
A strong succession plan should also be included in any comprehensive estate plan for business owners. This plan should be written out formally and prepared years in advance. A succession plan lays out the transition of a business’s leadership following the exit of its owner, and a new owner is established to take the reins. This person can be a family member, long-time employee, or anyone the owner fully trusts with the continued future of their company. For more information on succession planning, check out our blog entry HERE.
If your business is a partnership, in which you and another person share ownership, it is vital to have a buy/sell agreement in place. This important document details how an owner’s stake in the company will be distributed upon his or her departure. Whether a business partner dies, retires, enters bankruptcy, or files for divorce, your business must be protected. For more information on Buy/Sell Agreements, check out our blog entry HERE.
A strong and complete estate plan is vital to ensure that your business will continue to grow and thrive without you, or that your loved ones will be taken care of following the disillusion of your business assets. The attorneys of The Orlando Law Group are at the ready to help you create a strong and comprehensive estate plan, to ensure that your wishes will be upheld. Call 407.512.4394 to schedule a consultation today!