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How to include a business in your estate plan

On Behalf of | Dec 11, 2020 | Estate law |

Connecticut business owners are strongly encouraged to include company assets in their estate plan. This is true whether you plan on passing the company down to future generations or plan on selling it and giving the proceeds of the sale to your heirs.

Business assets can be placed in a trust

Placing your company in a trust can be ideal if you are married and are worried about losing the business in a divorce. Generally speaking, trust assets are exempt for being allocated in such a proceeding. Additionally, the trust itself can be overseen either by yourself or someone who you believe is capable of managing it on your behalf.

The company can be included in a will

It is possible to include language in your will stipulating who will become the company’s new owner after your death. Alternatively, the document can stipulate how the proceeds from the sale of the business should be allocated.

It might be worthwhile to create a succession plan

Ideally, you will create a succession plan while you’re relatively young and can reasonably expect to remain in your current role for several years to come. This will give you plenty of time to identify the person who is best suited to be the future CEO.

It also gives you an opportunity to identify individuals who are best suited for the roles that the new CEO will need to vacate to accept the position. A succession plan can be included as a separate element of your overall estate plan. When structured correctly, it may be legally binding on surviving family members or others who are affiliated with the company.

If you own a business, it is important that you include it in your estate plan. Doing so might help to ensure that the business has the chance to survive after you are no longer its top executive. An estate planning attorney may be able to provide insight into the various ways that a company can be transferred to a surviving relative, a key employee, or an outside entity.