Article 65-Estate Planning Series: How Can the Structure of Your Family Business Help Your Estate Plan?

Written by Wright Law on . Posted in Estate Planning

At some point, every family business owner considers what will happen when they are no longer able to run the business.  Will they be able to retire – when they are ready -- and successfully pass on the business? 

To minimize the chance of failure, family business owners must be willing to explore all their options.  This cannot be done passively.  Owners who commit to this step will open up many possibilities.

Article 64-Estate Planning Series: Can I Pass on the Family Business and be Fair to All the Kids?

Written by Wright Law on . Posted in Estate Planning

Successfully operating a family business - and preparing to pass it on - may seem like separate issues.  In reality, they are not.   The strengths, skills and persistence that built a successful business can also help prepare that business for a successful transition.  That is why it is difficult to watch the value of a family’s most significant asset evaporate for failure to “plan when you can.”   

Once you have committed to identify your options, the next step to a successful transition is to identify your desired result.  This may sound simple but it seems to be where most business owners stall because they can’t see how to get from where they are to where they want to be.

Article 63-Estate Planning Series: The First Steps to Successfully Passing on the Family Farm, Ranch or Business

Written by Wright Law on . Posted in Estate Planning

Last column I discussed the challenges facing families attempting to pass on the family farm, ranch or other business.  Family owned businesses play a critical role in society.  Those of us who reside in rural agricultural areas know this to be especially true. 

However, according to the Harvard Business Review, 70% of family owned businesses do not survive the transition to the next generation.  This is an incredible statistic.  Why would this process result in the end of so many businesses?  I am convinced that this result is entirely unnecessary.

Article 62-Estate Planning Series: Are You Prepared to Pass on the Family Farm, Ranch or Business?

Written by Wright Law on . Posted in Estate Planning

A substantial part of my practice is spent helping families prepare to pass on the family farm, ranch or other business.  Given that this is usually the family’s largest asset; it is critical this be done properly.

Unfortunately, the majority of family businesses fail transitioning to the next generation.  However, the likelihood of success dramatically increases when the family prepares for this transition.  As the second generation owner of a firm started by my father almost 50 years ago, I understand the importance of this issue personally and professionally.

Article 61-Estate Planning Series: A Simple Way to Protect Your Family

Written by Wright Law on . Posted in Estate Planning

A common thread of my columns is the need to “plan when can.”  This stems from what I consider to be the first rule of proper estate planning . . . ensure you maintain control of your estate.

In this case, “estate” means not just your possessions or “stuff.” It also means you.  Should you become incapacitated, it is important that the decisions made about you be based on your instructions, not the wishes others may have for you.

Article 60-Estate Planning Series: Will the “Complications of Life” Continue After Your Passing?

Written by Wright Law on . Posted in Estate Planning, Trusts, Will

In the past months, we have read and heard a great detail about a rock musician who passed away unexpectedly.  Although I have no doubt he was extremely talented, I did not consider myself a fan of his music and was not aware that he was still performing.  I was surprised, therefore, by the amount of publicity generated by his passing.

However, I became keenly interested after reading an article about what would likely happen next.  It appears that this musician’s estate had been valued at $300 million, a value that will apparently significantly increase due to his passing.

It also appears he did not have a Will or trust. 

Article 59-Estate Planning Series: Will You Be Untangling Your Parents’ Lives?

Written by Wright Law on . Posted in Estate Planning, Trusts, Will

Recently I read an article published in the Wall Street Journal® titled “The Difficult, Delicate Untangling of Our Parents’ Lives.”   The author and his wife are in their 50s and dealing with the challenges of parents too incapacitated to handle their own affairs. 

Significantly, the frustration was not that their parents needed help.  Most children would consider such help to be an opportunity to repay the sacrifices made by their parents.  (However, parents who plan to rely on their children should not underestimate how significant this burden may be.  Perhaps I will discuss this more in a future column.)

Article 58-Estate Planning Series: Planning for Your Estate After a Crisis Hits

Written by Wright Law on . Posted in Estate Planning, Will

Recently I met with a heartbroken couple facing an aggressive, terminal diagnosis for one of them.  There is likely little time left.  From that meeting I headed to a health care facility to review estate documents with a man hopefully recovering from a very serious health condition.  He was lucid but so weak he could barely sign the documents I prepared.

Article 57-Estate Planning Series: Who Makes the Final Decision for You?

Written by Wright Law on . Posted in Estate Planning

Last column I explained that a Living Will is the document that tells health care providers if you want to be removed from life support.  This is an important document because, if your wishes are not clear, loved ones and health care providers will be left to make that terrible decision.  This can create serious disputes at a most difficult time.

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