Estate planning team evaluates an effective strategy for assets

Estate planning goes hand in hand with being a small or medium sized business owner. Whatever the business legal structure at hand, the need to effectively handle one’s business assets remains always an important task. Estate planning in Minnesota and elsewhere attempts to maximize the use of a person’s assets and to distribute them as he or she wishes. With a business owner, the same goals exist, but the needs of the business will often add factors to be evaluated.

Business owners as well as anyone else need to have certain basic protections in place to protect against unexpected disease, disability or death. Although we feel immune to the idea of death, it will come around to veto our imaginary immortality at the time that nature dictates. That inevitability of life and death is why every person, and perhaps especially a business owner, should be vigilant in preparing a comprehensive estate plan.

The legal instruments during life can include a living trust, which can transfer designated assets to a revocable or irrevocable trust during one’s lifetime. The funds can still be managed by the maker of the trust, and the trust can be revoked if desired. However, the disposition of assets into a structure designed to immediately distribute the assets to the beneficiaries at the right time can be an appreciable benefit. The living trust also remains private at death and does not go through the probate process.

In Minnesota and elsewhere, a durable power of attorney to handle business affairs and personal day-to-day activities is an all-important instrument in the event of incapacity. The health care directives, living wills and the like are designed to give the most say in health care decisions that have to be made when health becomes an issue. There are numerous methods of handling the business assets in a way that will maximize the person’s wishes and preserve the worth of those assets to the extent possible. However, the terrain is complicated enough and the choices are so varied that a true estate plan can only be made in working consultations with one’s estate planning attorney and any financial experts that are also a part of the team.

Source:, “Safe and Secure: Every business owner needs an estate plan“, Peter K. Smyth, May 25, 2016

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