One of the benefits that go along with retaining the services of an estate planning attorney is the personalized service that you will receive. The reality is that no two cases are identical, and everyone has a different situation. Your wishes may well differ from the next person, and assets can take many forms and the best way to transfer them is going to vary based on a number of factors.
We are not talking about a low level endeavor here. The stakes are high when you are preparing to transfer all the assets that you have been able to accumulate throughout your life to your heirs. They are high on a financial level, and they are high on a personal level because this will be the last act of giving you are capable of and there’s little doubt that you want to feel as though you provided an adequate safety net for your loved ones.
A relatively common scenario that underscores the reality of how different situations call for different strategies would be that of succession planning for small business partners. If you are a partner in a small business your share may represent a significant portion of your overall wealth. But if you simply leave that share to your family and they sell it to whoever comes along, your partners may be left in a situation that they don’t feel comfortable with. Of course you may feel the same way if a partner passed away before you and that share was sold without your input.
There is a solution however in the form of buy-sell agreements. The two such agreements that are most commonly entered into are the entity plan and the cross purchase plan. With the entity plan the business itself takes out insurance policies on all the partners. One of them dies the proceeds from the insurance policy are used to buy that share from the family of the deceased. Under the cross purchase plan each of the co-owners takes out an insurance policy on every other. When one of them passes away, the combined benefits of the insurance policies are pooled to purchase the share of the deceased from his or her estate.
If you are interested in potentially entering into a buy-sell agreement, get in touch with an experienced estate planning attorney who has a background in succession planning for small business owners.
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