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Small Business Estate Planning
Steps to estate planning for small business:
An Estate Plan encompasses many things, so here is a simple 5 step checklist to start your Estate Plan;
Start with a tax effective Estate Plan.
Ask yourself what happens if I lose legal capacity, who will step in and manage the business? What if I die, what will happen to my business? To deal with these issues you need to:
- Prepare a Will – This can be standard or complex. Talk to your Solicitor about your specific needs, profession and business structure.
- Prepare a Power of Attorney:
- General – for specific time periods, or functions;
- Enduring – for loss of capacity;
- Specific – to meet the needs of your governing professional body.
Consider your personal and business asset holdings and structure. For example, ask yourself these questions:
Do you need to transfer the whole or a portion of a property to a spouse or third party?
Do you need to change the structure of or formalise your business? Should you be trading as a company instead of a sole trader? Are your personal assets vulnerable?
Do you need to amend the constitution of your company or trust deed? E.g the appointer clause within your Family Trust must be consistent with your Power of Attorney or Will?
Do people owe money to you? And if so, how is this formalised and secured?
Insurance, Insurance, Insurance.
See how this is written three times? That is because being properly insured is vital! What type of insurance should you consider you ask? Types of insurance can include:
- Industry specific insurance;
- Business Insurance; and
- Personal Insurance.
Create a Succession Plan.
Consider who will succeed you so your business will carry on. Ask yourself these questions:
- Who are the key stakeholders in your business, who should you be mentoring, upskilling and investing in now?
- How will you entice quality employees, so that when you wish to retire, you can do so easily?
- Do you need to change the structure of your business to accommodate this?
- Is your business structured to provide ongoing income for your family on your passing?
Talk and advise
Keep your family, business partners and associates advised as to your plans. Let them know what basic plans and structures are in place should something happen to you.
If your circumstances change, book an appointment to talk to your Solicitor, as you may need to update your estate planning documents.
The above process is inter-disciplinary, which means you will usually require advice from a financial planner, insurance broker and/or accountant, as well as your Solicitor. Every business owners’ needs are different and they vary from simple/standard estate planning to complex estate planning depending on your business, asset holdings and profession.