Estate planning for business owners

April 22, 2011

What will happen to your business when you die or become incapacitated? If you haven’t taken the time to put together a succession and estate plan, your business might lose momentum and become unprofitable while the leadership and ownership of your company gets worked out in probate. Even worse, your estate may have to sell the business or its assets in order to pay estate taxes.

At the very least, a business owner should execute a last will and testament and a power of attorney. If properly designed with your succession plan, this will help eliminate questions and disputes about ownership of the company and should speed up the process of probating your estate.

However, for many business owners, setting up a trust is a better alternative than relying solely on a last will and testament. A trust can allow a business owner to pass the benefits of the company to loved ones without incurring the estate taxes that might apply if the company is part of the decedent’s estate. Further, a trust can enable a business owner to control the way the business is owned and managed after death.

Proper estate planning is essential to ensure that your business will be owned, controlled, and managed according to your vision after your death. Austin Business Attorney James Blake advises business owners in succession plans, wills, trusts, and estate planning, and will be happy to consult with you to develop a plan that fits your needs.

Topics: Featured, Business Best Practices, Legal, Strategic Planning, Articles, Risk Management

James Blake

The Blake Law Firm, PLLC.

James Blake is a growth-oriented business attorney who strives to be a creative business partner, to identify value-add opportunities, and to crystallize the relationships, structures, and processes that will drive your commercial success. James Blake practices law in Texas and Hawaii, and has protected the interests of businesses across a broad range of industries, including technology, construction, service and retail, food and beverage, franchisors and franchisees, product manufacturers, and investors. His work experience encompasses commercial transactions, litigation, and advising business operations in the U.S., Africa, and Asia. James was an editor of Law Review at the University of Hawaii and conducted international commercial law research for the Institute of Asian Pacific Business Law. He served as the Official Reporter for the 2008 IAPBL China Enterprise Bankruptcy Law Symposium held in Hong Kong, and in the same year worked at a large firm in Singapore. James currently advises clients in international business and investment issues in addition serving his client’s legal and business needs in Hawaii and Texas. Currently based in Austin, Texas, James is an avid writer and enjoys speaking at business-law seminars in addition to his legal practice. In his spare time, James enjoys sculling and kayaking on Ladybird Lake, outdoor photography, and supporting visual and performing arts.
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