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Protecting a business through estate planning

Nevada residents may think of estate planning as an important thing to do to protect their personal assets for their loved ones, but for small business owners, the process may be critical as well. Without proper planning, between taxes and claims from outside parties, a company's value can quickly be reduced after the owner's death.

Estate planning can also be important in maintaining the stability of a business. For example, a person might own a company with a partner. If one of those people dies, then the business may pass to a spouse or other family member. Having a buy-sell agreement in place means that if one owner dies, their share passes to the other owner or owners. This can also ensure a company's strength and viability. With a plan in place to keep strong management at the helm, a business can survive the death of an owner.

Taxes can be minimized with a grantor retained annuity trust. This also ensures that an owner receives an income and that assets are passed down to children. Making a small business estate plan also helps the owner set up clear succession plans. It also helps the owner plan ahead including anticipating future tax changes and policies.

Owning a business nearly always will make estate planning somewhat more complex, and a person in such a position might want to have the assistance of an attorney during the process. Among other variables are whether or not family members work in the business, whether family members will continue to receive income it and whether the company is in a position to continue without the owner at the helm. The owner may also want to consider who should take over in the event of temporary or permanent incapacity.

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