PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE OF YOUR BUSINESS
When the average person thinks of estate planning, they usually think that it either only applies to “wealthy” people or the elderly. This could not be further from the truth. In addition to the average, middle-class family, another demographic that overlooks the need for an estate plan is the small business owner.
All too often in our profession, we see hardworking individuals build their businesses from the ground up, own and operate a successful company that begins to grow and prosper, then completely neglect to implement any succession planning for that business. That business is just like a child – you want to protect your loved ones and provide for them in the future; additionally, you want to ensure that child is going to be in the right hands in the event something happens to you. Your business – your “child” – also needs to be incorporated into an estate plan in order to protect it, to provide for it, and to ensure it will continue to grow and prosper long after you have passed.
Because no one can predict the future, it becomes essential to start early and build the foundation now, even if the business is young. We cannot forecast what the future of this business will look like or whether it will be easy or difficult to sell (should you choose to). In the same vein, it takes time and planning to groom the successor of your choice. Much like you would not want your children going to a random guardian appointed by the court, you do not want your business going to someone that is not properly groomed to handle it. Without a proper succession plan, all the hard work you put into the business could be negated at your death by a successor that might not have the same objectives and vision as you would like for your business.
We encourage long-term planning not only because time is not on anyone’s side, but also because while you are alive, vibrant, and well, you can be thoroughly involved in the planning process with the help of a professional. Don’t make a last minute, ironclad decision that could destroy everything you have built – plan, prepare, and be willing to take the steps in the present to safeguard your business in the future.