Estate planning is a multifaceted endeavor and there are many things that need to be taken into account regardless of the size and scope of your estate. This is true for everyone no matter how you earn a living, but people who own small businesses face an added layer of complexity when they construct their estate plan. They also may find themselves so wrapped up in their work that they find it difficult to make the time to formulate a plan, but the reality is that the responsible business person really needs to make the time.
The proper approach to small business estate planning depends on the long term intentions of the owner. Some people plan on keeping the business in the family over multiple generations, and this requires a specific planning approach. Others may want to build up the marketable value of the business with the intention of selling it at some point. And other business owners may proceed with the knowledge that the business will no longer exist after their passing.
As a small business person, the sooner you sit down with an estate planning attorney and elucidate your wishes the better. The decisions that you make today should logically be impacted by what you intend for the future. As an example, if you are going to leave your business to family members, you may be more inclined to make long term investments in equipment and infrastructure. If you know that the business will in effect die when you do, you will act accordingly along the way. If you intend to have your estate put the business up for sale upon your passing, you will want to do everything possible to maximize its marketability.
When you work hard to establish your business you are building something of worth. The product of your life’s work is a considerable asset, and it should be maximized to the utmost though intelligent long term planning.