Most business owners probably have at least a vague idea of what should happen to their business after they let it go or after they're gone. But an idea that you don't detail in writing isn't likely to help you or your heirs in matters of business succession.
What will your legacy be after you're gone? It's a difficult question. With the right planning, though, at the very least you can protect your loved ones from disputes over your assets and debts. For you and your heirs, effective estate planning can provide the great benefits of clarity and peace of mind.
A well-drafted will is a foundational estate planning document. Every estate owner should have a will. However, a will does not offer the full range of options for protecting your assets from the costly and time-consuming probate process. If your goal is to keep your assets and your loved ones out of probate, then creating a trust is a good decision.
More and more American baby boomers are reaching retirement age and planning their estates. Remarkably, it's been estimated that in the next 35 years, $30 trillion will change hands in the biggest transfer of wealth in the nation's history. However, according to a recent survey of wealthy Americans, 43 percent of respondents said they didn't feel that inheritance planning was a pressing issue.
A comprehensive estate plan should include powers of attorney. You can set up powers of attorney for an individual -- your agent -- to make financial or health care decisions on your behalf in the event that you become incapacitated by injury or illness.
During the most recent Kentucky legislative session, Senate bill 59 was signed into law. The bill resulted in the establishment of KRS 281.592. The statute is intended to protect motor carriers from contracts with customers or others requiring indemnification or a liability insurance policy to cover the negligence of the promisee (i.e. the customer or delivery recipient) by deeming these provisions void. The pertinent section of the statute states as follows:
In the simplest terms, estate planning is two-fold: numerical and emotional. Your estate has to be inventoried and accurately valued, and assets have to be distributed in such a way that limits the emotional burden placed on your heirs. This emotional aspect can be particularly tricky in some cases, and you may have to ask yourself some important questions to come to the right decision.
Step one: do the planning. Too many families are thrown into frustrating, time-consuming, expensive probate disputes because a comprehensive estate plan simply wasn't in place. You can start with a detailed list of assets with a name by each to indicate who should receive what. Your attorney can help you with this, as well as with estate valuation and the proper documents to ensure a smooth and smart distribution to heirs.
Many bases have to be covered in a comprehensive estate plan. Essentially, you're not only planning for the future, as if it's an unknowable set of circumstances; you're actually creating the future for you and your loved ones. By organizing your estate and drafting the appropriate documents now, you can reduce the number of unknowns and rest assured that your loved ones are provided for.