As a business owner, you hold yet more responsibilities than the average person – and that means that the onus of making preparations for your business and loved ones after your death lies very heavy on your shoulders.
In its simplest form, creating a will means ensuring that everything important to you will be accounted for, according to your own wishes, after you have passed away. Your personal and business estate must both be treated very carefully within this document, in order to ensure that nothing is left to chance or kept out of the hands of those who, in your eyes, should have it.
If you are still on the fence about creating a will, then read more below.
Your shares in the business represent a significant component of your estate, and your family’s inheritance after you have died. If you do not leave behind a valid and up to date will, then your estate – including your business interests – will be subject to the rules of intestacy, which severely limit the ability your loved ones have to inherit in accordance with your wishes.
For instance, if you and your partner are not married, then they will have no right to your assets – a fact which could make it incredibly difficult for them to survive in the weeks and months after your death.
Alternatively, your shares could pass to someone who, in your eyes, is not equipped to ensure the continuity of your business. This is why estate planning for business owners is so important; not only does it ensure protection for your loved ones and family, but also that the business you have worked hard to cultivate over the years is in the best possible position to survive in your absence.
Lasting Power of Attorney
In addition to ensuring that your estate is apportioned appropriately after your death, you should also use this as an opportunity to give lasting power of attorney (LPA) to someone whom you trust to make decisions – and ensure that they are carried out properly – if you become ill or incapacitated in some way.
This represents such an important step for business owners or majority shareholders that, in many circles, it is a professional requirement.
As a business owner, you likely remain central to its ability to operate and function. If you are in an accident, or become ill very quickly, then your LPA will be perfectly placed to take over from your role within the business, and ensure that it does not fall apart – or go in an undesirable direction – in your absence.
Consider your LPA as yet another insurance policy for your business – and, by extension, your personal life and family’s interests.
A will is a crucial document for any adult, but this is never more so than it is for those who own and run their own business. Reach out to an experienced solicitor and ensure that proper measures for estate planning are undertaken as soon as possible.