Probate and estate planning for business owners involves several steps to ensure the smooth transfer of assets and management of the business in the event of death or incapacity.

Here's a general guide:

  1. Assessment of Assets and Liabilities: Determine the value of the business assets, including physical assets, intellectual property, and financial accounts, and identify any outstanding debts or liabilities.

  2. Create a Will or Trust: A will is a legal document that outlines how you want your assets to be distributed after your death. Alternatively, a trust can be established to hold and manage assets for the benefit of designated beneficiaries. For business owners, a trust can offer more flexibility and privacy compared to a will.

  3. Appoint an Executor or Trustee: Select a trusted individual or entity to oversee the distribution of assets according to your will or trust. This person will also be responsible for managing the business affairs during the probate process.

  4. Consider Business Structure: Depending on the business structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation), different considerations may apply. For example, if you own a partnership, there may be specific provisions in the partnership agreement regarding succession planning.

  5. Plan for Business Succession: If you want the business to continue operating after your death, develop a succession plan. This may involve grooming a family member or key employee to take over management or selling the business to a third party.

  6. Review and Update Beneficiary Designations: Ensure that beneficiary designations on retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other financial accounts are up-to-date and align with your overall estate plan.

  7. Consider Tax Implications: Estate taxes can significantly impact the value of your estate. Work with a tax advisor to understand the tax implications of transferring business assets and explore strategies to minimize taxes, such as gifting or establishing trusts.

  8. Draft Buy-Sell Agreements: If you co-own the business with others, consider drafting a buy-sell agreement that outlines what will happen to your share of the business upon your death or incapacity. This can help prevent disputes among co-owners and ensure a smooth ownership transition.

  9. Please review and Update Regularly: Life circumstances and business dynamics change over time, so it's essential to review and update your estate plan regularly to reflect any changes in your assets, family situation, or business structure.

  10. Seek Professional Guidance: Estate planning and probate can be complex, especially for business owners. Consult an experienced estate planning attorney and financial advisor who can provide personalized guidance based on your specific circumstances and goals.


Dorsey's Realty Disclaimer - Remember, consult with an attorney who specializes in probate and trust matters to ensure that the disclaimer meets the specific legal requirements and addresses the unique circumstances of your situation. This disclaimer is a general example and may need to be customized to fit the specific circumstances and legal requirements of the probate estate or trust you are dealing with. It is always advisable to consult with a legal professional to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

Contact your dedicated Certified Residential Real Estate Probate Specialist Fred Dorsey "Prince of Probate" to schedule a telephone conversation.


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