Writing a will is often a complicated task, but it is especially so when you own one or more businesses that will contribute to your estate. Here are some tips to simplify the will writing process as a business owner.
Consider What Will Happen to the Business
First, consider what would happen to your business should you pass away. If you are the sole owner, would you want the business to pass onto one of your dependents, or would you want to have the assets liquidated and included as part of your estate? Whichever your choose can have big implications for how you write your will.
Understand Your Business Responsibilities
Even if you decide to liquidate the business, consult an accountant about how that process would actually work. You might have several tax amounts owed as well as debts to pay before the liquidated assets go into your estate.
Make Sure Your Business is On Track
Be sure that your business is headed in a financially sound direction before you include it in your will. You wouldn't want to leave the family business to a dependent, only to discover it's not worth anything or, worse, that you're leaving a huge liability on someone else's plate.
Hire a Lawyer
The laws surrounding your business and your will can be difficult to navigate. This is really the case when you have several business partners; it can be difficult to extricate your share of the assets from a business that will continue to exist after your departure. A lawyer can help you learn what you can and can't do when including your business assets in a will. It can also be difficult to imagine how many assets your business will include, especially since you don't know what kinds of debts and profits that you'll have in the future. A lawyer or accountant can help you do some financial planning so that you know what to expect when splitting your business assets.
If the situation is fairly complicated with your business, hiring legal services with estate planning experience may be your best option. Your lawyer's fees may leave a small dent in your estate's assets, but the alternative could mean that your estate doesn't get carried out as you intended at all. The expense is sometimes worth it to have the assurance that the assets you've worked for will be used as you plan. Talk to an attorney like Gregory J Hermiller for more advice on how to include your business in your will.