Your will is your last way to ensure that your wishes for your property are carried out. Many people assume it is literally the last word, that everything in the will stands.
When doing your succession planning for your family business, an important part of the estate planning process, it's critical to remember that things are not going to happen overnight. It takes time. It takes work.
Opening your own business is a testament to your hard work and determination. Naturally, many small business owners start a company because they want financial security for themselves and their families. That is part of why it is so disheartening to learn as many as eight out of every 10 businesses fail within the first 18 months in the United States.
Perhaps the most common way to leave assets to heirs is simply indicating in the will which heirs will get which assets outright. For instance, you have $1.5 million saved up and you have three children. You leave all of them $500,000, a gift you know they'll enjoy.
Powers of attorney
You worked hard to build your company from the ground up. You've been at it for 40 years. Now you're hoping to pass it on to your kids, but you know just how complicated that can get.
If you've accumulated considerable assets, you want to do everything legally possible to protect those assets from lawsuits, taxes and creditors both while you're still around and after you are gone.
Estate planning and probate issues are often misunderstood. For example, many people believe that estate planning is important only for extremely wealthy people, but that isn't true.
Watching your parents age can be immensely difficult, and this may be particularly true if your parents are suffering from dementia. At some point, it may be wise for you and your parents to sit down and talk about creating powers of attorney.
You're doing your estate planning, deciding how you're going to pass your assets on to your children. You're picking roles for them, such as naming one the executor of the estate, and deciding what you think is best for their lives moving forward.