Estate planning is about more than leaving your belongings to loved ones; it is also about protecting the things you own for future generations. Nowhere is this more evident than in the case of small business owners seeking to keep the business in the family or ensure its survival.
Suppose you own a small grocery store. Far from a major operation, you handle store finances, stocking orders, property taxes and even work at the counter most days. The store is a fixture in your neighborhood and you would like to keep it that way by passing store ownership and management over to your daughter.
Leaving your family without a set plan for transferring ownership and management to your daughter can thwart even the simplest plans. Creating an estate plan which establishes who is in charge of what, how store assets are to be managed and how the business is meant to continue into the future can prevent the ambiguity of an unofficial request.
You may also wish to separate store ownership and store management, perhaps passing the latter on to a trusted employee. Building this into your estate plan is the best way to ensure that it actually happens according to your plans.
You might have cause to build in protection for the store. Is there anyone you definitely do not want taking any part in the store’s future? Perhaps an irresponsible family member? Again, comprehensive estate planning can make this clear and make sure that your wishes are realized.
- The Four Goals of Estate Planning (Investing Daily)