The recent deaths of prominent and even legendary musicians has emphasized the importance of estate planning to many in Florida. Aretha Franklin died in August without a will, despite having an estate worth approximately $80 million and a valuable music catalog with years of revenues to come. She was not alone, of course; Prince passed away in 2016 without a will, despite a $300 million estate and one of the most iconic music catalogs of all time. Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Tupac Shakur and Bob Marley all passed away without wills, leaving it up to others to distribute their assets.
While a small business owner may not have the wealth and fame of these celebrities, they have particular reasons to care a great deal about how their property is distributed. In order to continue to thrive and survive the passing of its owner and founder, a small business needs a succession plan. This means that a will or other form of transfer should lay out in detail who will receive the business and in what shares. In addition, discussing the plan in advance can help to get all family members on board and supportive of the eventual outcome.
When no will is in place, state intestacy laws will simply split the entire estate according to designated shares. This could lead to conflict and confusion as heirs determine how to manage that division.
Entrepreneurs can help to plan for the future success and growth of their businesses by setting out clear guidelines for the future. An estate planning lawyer can help a small business owner to create a will, health care advance directive or power of attorney as well as trusts and other documents to transfer property outside the probate courts. By making a clear plan long in advance, business owners can help to ease a difficult period for their loved ones.