Estate Planning for Business Owners
Houston business owners and other professionals face unique estate planning concerns. Whether your interests focus on developing an effective succession plan or protecting your individual or business assets, an estate planning lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best pursue them. At McCulloch & Miller, PLLC, we believe that effective estate planning for business owners requires an individual approach that considers the nature of the business as well as your long-term goals. Our Houston estate planning lawyers take the time to sit down with you to learn about your needs, as well as those of your business, so we can work together to develop a custom-tailored solution that exceeds your expectations.Estate Planning Considerations for a Business Owner
While every estate plan should be catered to the needs of the individual, there are some estate planning basics that pertain to most business owners. The underlying goals of a business owner’s estate plan are twofold. First, to arrange for the effective transition of ownership of a business when you retire or are no longer able to run the business. And second, to ensure the orderly transfer of your personal assets to loved ones upon your death. Depending on the type of business, protecting assets from creditors may also be an important consideration.
When thinking about estate planning for business owners, the first place to start is with the basic elements of an estate plan. This includes a will, a power of attorney, and a healthcare directive. From there, business owners should assess whether their estate may be subject to estate taxes. While Texas does not impose a state estate tax, local business owners are subject to the federal estate tax if the value of their estate exceeds a certain amount. These are the basics; however, these tools do not address the ongoing needs of your business after your departure.
A business owner’s estate plan should also cover what will happen to the business once they are no longer interested in running the business or can no longer do so. This is referred to as succession planning. For businesses with multiple owners, this may involve drafting a buy-sell agreement that lays out the terms under which the other business owners will buy you out. For family-owned businesses, succession planning can be particularly tricky, especially if only one child is interested in taking over the business. However, an estate planning lawyer who regularly works with entrepreneurs and business owners can offer valuable assistance in this area.
Doctors, lawyers, landlords and others who operate in a highly litigious business climate may also consider an asset protection plan. An asset protection plan is a comprehensive strategy to shield personal assets in the event of a lawsuit against your business.
There are many asset protection strategies, including:
- Asset protection trusts;
- Umbrella insurance;
- Professional liability insurance;
- Effective use of business structures that offer limited liability;
- Depositing money in a retirement account; and
- Transferring assets to loved ones.
Of course, each of these asset protection strategies come with certain drawbacks, so discussing your situation with a Houston estate planning attorney is a necessary step before you make any decisions.Are You Interested in Learning More About Estate Planning for Small Business Owners?
If you are a business owner, you likely have additional estate planning needs that may be unmet by generic, run-of-the-mill estate plans. At the Houston law firm of McCulloch & Miller, PLLC, we have a robust practice that focuses on meeting the diverse estate planning needs of small business owners. Our attorneys have more than a half-century of combined experience creating estate plans for business owners and understand the complexities of both estate planning as well as the nature of the business environment. To learn more about the services we provide and how we can help you—and your business—prepare for the future, give us a call at (713) 333-8900 today. You can also reach us through our online contact form.