Small business owners in Texas and elsewhere around the country have a mountain of details to manage. Whether dealing with day-to-day operations or future goals, it is important to consider the long-term viability of the business. Most owners have likely not given much thought to how their companies should be run after they are gone. However, experts strongly suggest that business owners go through the estate planning process to avoid future complications.
Aretha Franklin recently passed away, and it was noted that she died without a will, leaving family members in a quandary about how to disperse her estate. Countless people, whether celebrities or not, have done this through the years. Unfortunately, when someone dies without a will, a court will determine who gets what according to the state’s laws of intestacy. This prospect seems unimaginable to the owners of small businesses.
How assets are divided in these circumstances is unique to each state; however, no one wants those decisions to be made for them. Therefore, it is much more advantageous to develop an estate plan unique to a given situation. One lawyer in another state told of an instance where a business owner and his wife had been separated for a long period of time, yet had not gotten a divorce. The business owner had gotten involved with another woman and had children with her before he passed away. Unfortunately, since there was no will, his business and other assets went to his legal wife.
An effective estate plan should include a will and/or a trust. Both documents may be helpful, particularly if minor children are involved. It is also imperative to include directives regarding health care to address how medical decisions should be made in the even of incapacity. It is also wise to name a trusted person to handle financial decisions on one’s behalf in designated circumstances. Finally, specified beneficiaries of accounts and policies should be reviewed periodically and changed accordingly, as warranted.
Estate planning can prevent many disputes and problems among families, particularly if a small business is involved. It is also key to ensuring that one’s wishes will can be carried out as desired. A Texas estate administration lawyer can help clients determine how best to proceed in the planning process.