If you have a business, you have likely thought about what would happen to your business after your death. A well-run, well-managed family business could potentially provide for your loved ones long after you are gone. Unfortunately, according to the Family Business Institute, less than one-third of all businesses survive into the second generation. The reason for this is largely due to a failure to plan for the future on the part of the owner of the business. Business succession planning is like writing an estate plan for your business. Few people are enthusiastic about estate planning, but most adults do recognize the wisdom in doing so.
If you have poured your time and energy into your business, you want to make sure it succeeds you. What you don’t want is your death to cause infighting among family members, and you certainly don’t want your business to collapse or end up in liquidation. In a best-case scenario, you will have planned so thoroughly for your business succession that every family member will know his or her role in the business, and the business will continue, as strong as ever.Read More
It can be difficult to plan for the unthinkable, but if you have minor children, not only is choosing a guardian a “must-do,” it can also afford you peace of mind. You may find choosing a guardian to be challenging, but it does not need to be overwhelming. Sit down and consider the people you would be comfortable with raising your children. Once you have a shortlist, ask yourself the following questions about each potential guardian:
- Where does the person live? It is unrealistic to expect a guardian who lives a significant distance from you—and has their own life—to suddenly move into your home with your children. It is more likely the children will move into the guardian’s home, so think about whether the proposed guardian has a home large enough to accommodate your children—and if you are okay with your children being raised there. You may also want to consider how a move could affect your children, particularly if it takes them away from their current school or it puts them a significant distance from their friends.
- Do you know what the person’s religious, political, and moral beliefs are—and are you comfortable having your children’s views shaped by those beliefs? Obviously, you will never find a guardian who holds 100 percent of your personal beliefs, but you want to try for at least similar beliefs.
- Does the person have his or her own children? If so, are you comfortable with their views on child discipline, education, sports, etc.? If the person does not have children, have they spent time with yours?
- How old is the person? While an older guardian is likely in a better financial position and may have more time to spend with your children, he or she could also have little understanding of today’s kids, and current trends. On the flip side, younger guardians may be heavily involved in getting their career off the ground, having little time for children.
- Not only is age a factor, health is a factor as well. While you could never anticipate all eventualities, it is probably not a good idea to choose a guardian who currently has health issues.
- Is the person married? If so, you have to be equally comfortable with his or her spouse and have to determine how stable the marriage appears to be. If the person is single, are you confident in his or her ability to choose a partner you would approve of to help raise your children?
- Is the person financially stable? If not, will you be able to leave enough money to cover expenses for your children? Like it or not, the financial situation of a potential guardian can have a significant impact on your children.
- Perhaps most importantly, is the person you are considering willing to be guardian to your children? It is essential that you have an honest conversation with the proposed guardian to ensure he or she really understands what being a guardian entails and is willing to take on the responsibility.
The things that matter the most to you in regard to your children are as different and unique as you and your family. While you certainly want to name a guardian that will love and care for your children in much the same way as you would, you also want a guardian who is responsible. It is important that you always choose an alternate guardian just in case your first choice is unable or unwilling to step in. Finally, consider splitting the tasks of caring for your children by asking one person or team to handle finances and the inheritance of the children (be the trustees on the trust you leave for your children) while another serves as guardian and does the actual parenting.
Finally, do not let intimidation over choosing the perfect guardian keep you from choosing one at all or doing any estate planning. Remember, any guardian you choose is better than not having a guardian at all (and the state choosing for you). And if you are part of our ongoing client care program, you can always change your mind and update your guardians without us billing you for it.
How Family Estate Planning Law Group Can Help
Whether you need help choosing a guardian for your children or need assistance with other estate planning concerns, we at Family Estate Planning Law Group are here for you. We want to help you address your family’s unique concerns in all areas related to estate planning in today’s world. We understand that children grow, situations change, and you should have an estate plan that grows and changes with you and your family. We do this through our ongoing client care program, as well as our Family Care Meeting™, which encourages our clients to include trusted advisors and family members in the planning process. Together, We Plan for Life® Explore our blog, and schedule your complimentary consultation today.Read More
While the uncertainty in today’s market because of Covid-19 may have you nervous about your investments and the value of your assets, there are ways to take advantage of the opportunities that this drop in the market may create for you and your family.
We recently came across an article by Bob Carlson on Forbes.com about tax and estate planning opportunities that have come up in this time of uncertainty and volatility in the market. He discusses certain actions you can take now while the market is low that may be advantageous to you. We encourage you to read Mr. Carlson’s article (here).Read More
As discussed in our overview of the CARES Act, small businesses nationally may be struggling to stay open, retain their employees, and keep up their cash flow all while making sure they keep themselves, their employees and their clients safe and healthy. The CARES Act has several programs that can help small businesses through these unprecedented times including two different loan programs and some tax provisions. You can read a great article by Michelle Black from Forbes.com (here) that we reviewed in putting together this blog.Read More
This is Part 2 of our Caring about the New CARES Act series. You can read Part 1, an Overview, here.
While we know everyone is aware of the stimulus checks that the government has promised, there are other provisions under the CARES Act that may help individuals and families who are struggling and nervous during this time. We wanted to outline some of the provisions in the CARES Act including who can benefit from them.