small family business owners

Estate Planning Tips for Small Business Owners

Owning and managing a small business on a day-to-day basis is no easy matter. Too many small business owners feel so pressed for time that they delay when it comes to estate planning, not realizing that such planning helps to ensure the future of the business they worked so hard to build. If your business is in Southeastern Massachusetts or Cape Cod, the seasoned estate planning attorneys of Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. have the knowledge, skill, and experience to help. 

Like many small business owners, you may have a structured business plan, but not an updated estate plan. Now is the time to create the latter so that you can protect your family, your bottom line, and the stability of your company. Contact our estate planning attorneys to discuss your goals and your best options to achieve them.

Begin by Creating a Will or Establishing a Trust for Your Small Business

You do not need to be overwhelmed by the thought of creating an estate plan while simultaneously managing your business. Our capable estate planning attorneys will help you take the necessary steps responsibly and efficiently. First, we will assist you in deciding whether you want a will-based or trust-based estate plan

A will-based estate plan will clarify how you’d like to distribute your business and other property upon your death so that your business doesn’t end up in probate court being divvied up according to Massachusetts succession laws. Having a will can ensure that your business remains intact when you pass and that your family can access its assets easily.

Alternatively, you can create a trust-based plan in which your trust owns your business. This will make business succession easier since your spouse or other next of kin won’t need to go through probate court to inherit your business. Having named a trustee and/or beneficiary of the trust will be invaluable if you become incapacitated or when you pass away. 

Create a Power of Attorney So Someone Can Take Over

Giving someone you trust power of attorney enables you to protect your business operation if you become unable to manage it so that your small business will continue to thrive. More often than you might think, the unexpected happens. It will give you and your family peace of mind to know that if you are incapacitated by illness or injury, a smooth transition has been arranged. We will prepare the necessary documents to make this possible.

Why Two Business Succession Plans Are Needed

When you’re planning for the future, it pays to consider various possibilities. Because you might become less able to manage your business as you age, or on the other hand might become suddenly incapacitated, you need two business succession plans: an emergency business succession plan and a long-term business succession plan.

The Emergency Business Succession Plan will name a person with leadership qualities whom you trust to take over the business if you are unavailable and if, for example, the person you have named to take over is still a minor. Our business succession planning attorneys will help you choose someone suitable for this interim position.

A Long-term Business Succession Plan can incorporate the previously noted transitional period into the long-term plan. This can be done by detailing how the interim CEO and the beneficiary of your business will work side by side for some period of time so that as the long-term business owner becomes more familiar with the tasks at hand, the interim CEO gradually cedes control. 

When you come to Surprenant & Beneski, we will provide you with the personalized attention you deserve, paying close attention to the nature of your business, your financial circumstances, and whether you have picked out someone to take your business over when you want to retire or need to leave.

Contact Our Experienced Small Business Estate Planning Attorneys Today

Creating a comprehensive estate plan for a business, however small, is a serious undertaking. Our lawyers will make sure you do it properly with a minimum of effort on your part. We will guide you to make sensible decisions and help to execute them effectively. Contact us now to keep your small business protected well into the future.