VanNess & VanNess, P.A.

How business owners can create an effective estate plan

While Florida entrepreneurs may spend most of their time trying to grow their companies, it should not come at the expense of estate planning. An estate plan may help to ensure that a lifetime of work doesn't unravel because of a sudden illness or becoming mentally incapacitated. A will may help ensure that business assets are distributed in a controlled manner in accordance with the wishes of the testator.

A will also allows a testator to appoint an executor to oversee the distribution or management of those assets. Preparing a power of attorney may also be beneficial to business owners in the event that they become mentally incapacitated. With a durable power of attorney, the principal may appoint someone to oversee and manage the company in the owner's absence. If there is no power of attorney, a guardian may be appointed who may or may not be the right person to oversee the company.

While a will may be helpful for many small business owners, a trust may be more effective. For instance, trusts may help keep sensitive business information out of the public record as their language is kept private. Keeping assets in a trust may also help to avoid potential delays associated of going through probate, which may cause interruptions to the business.

Those who are interested in creating an estate plan may benefit from talking with an attorney to learn more about the benefits of doing so. Legal counsel may also be able to review any existing estate plan documents to see if they meet the needs of the person who created them. If documents need to be altered or edited in any way, an attorney may be able to ensure that those changes are done in accordance with state law.

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