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Services: Estate Planning for Small Business Owners

You built your business from the ground up, and you hope it will remain successful for years to come. The last thing you want is to leave your family and business partners without guidance in the event of your untimely death. Estate planning is important for everyone, but for small business owners, it’s an absolute must. Port Legal can help small business owners create a plan to ensure that their legacy lives on.

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What Should Small Business Owners Include in an Estate Plan?

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Buy-Sell Agreements

This is an essential if you co-own your business with a partner (or partners). A buy-sell agreement states that, upon specific conditions (such as the death of a partner or shareholder), parties to the agreement will sell their shares at a fair marketing price to the other parties.

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Tax Minimization 

Estate taxes are a big fear for many small business owners; the last thing you want is for your heirs to owe a great deal of money they don’t have, resulting in the last-minute sale of your business. Planning to minimize the amount of tax that will be due after your death is a big part of a successful estate plan.

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Life Insurance

If you own your business with a partner or partners, it’s very likely that your heirs will want to sell your share of the business to them after your death. The money for that  often comes from life insurance; each partner takes out a policy that names the other business owners as their beneficiaries. Your partners will have tax-free funds to pay for your portion of the business.

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Succession Plan 

If you are the sole owner of your business, a plan for succession is a must. You don’t want your heirs to be fighting over who will take over the business after you’re gone. Or, conversely, say that none of your heirs are interested in taking on your business. If that’s the case, you’ll need to have a plan in place to ensure that selling the business is simple and inexpensive for those you leave behind.

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What to do when small businesses are run by family?

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If you have multiple heirs, with some who are interested in keeping the business afloat after your demise and others who have no interest in working in the business at all, you’ve got to come up with plan to fairly distribute your assets. Often, people in this situation choose to distribute their assets based on the level of contribution by each heir. If two of your three children have been a part of the business and hope to continue with it after your death, should the uninvolved heir get a share? Make these decisions now to save them pain later.

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Give us a call at 614-641-7399 or fill out the form to schedule a consultation.