Protecting your Business Estate

Estate Planning for business clients is about much more than just having a Will. It should include:

When we investigate our clients' Estate Planning we often find that while a Will has been done, not all of the important factors may have been addressed.

Understanding your Entity Structure

As your business has grown and developed over time so, too, has the complexity of your entity structures. You may now have a complex web of companies and trusts and possibly even a Self Managed Super Fund.

It is vitally important that your potential estate considers all of the ramifications of your current entities and that the difference between control and ownership are fully understood.

Many businesses are run through Family Discretionary Trusts for tax purposes, yet we often find that people don't understand who ultimately controls the Trusts, and the impact that this may have on them or their loved ones if they pass away.

Having a Corporate Will that sets out what happens to your business in the event that you pass away is critical to all businesses and is a key trait of successful businesses.

Having an Exit Strategy and Succession Plan is also vitally important. To draw up an exit strategy, business owners need to think through what they would want to happen in the event of their death, disability or retirement.

Business Plans (when they are actually completed) often deal with the 1-year and 5-year plan for the business. However, most business plans assume that there will be no catastrophic events in that period. If the future security of your family depended on the business continuing after the death of the business owner, in order to achieve a controlled sale and a good price, what would need to happen? The Executor of your Will would be responsible for running the business in the interim, is this person up to the task? Is there a plan to try and hire a replacement general manager/CEO, and if so is there a list drawn up of potential candidates. Would your employees feel that their jobs were secure if you passed away, or would they all abandon ship? Would the Bank call the business debt in, and if so how would this impact events? All of these scenarios need to be addressed clearly and concisely and all relevant stakeholders need to understand the plan.

Business Estate Planning – the Process

After meeting with you, we will produce a comprehensive Estate Planning Report for further discussion. Once this report has been discussed and you have made all of the necessary decisions, the final Estate Planning report forms the basis of instructions to your Solicitor.

The Report covers:

  • Review of current estate documents
  • Analysis of your estate objectives and whether they will be currently achieved
  • Review of your current entities from an estate perspective
  • Review of superannuation
  • Review of life insurance policies
  • Recommendations of changes required to achieve your estate objectives
  • Commentary on taxation implication of your estate
  • Checklist of who will be responsible for implementing changes

We then project manage the estate planning process to ensure that your accountant and lawyer are fully involved in the process and that you receive the correct advice from all professional parties – working together on your behalf.

At the end of this process you will have peace of mind in knowing that should something happen to you (or your business partner) the estate will be transmitted as you planned and in an orderly manner.

Contact us to have a full analysis of your Business Estate Planning.

your success. your life – it matters at Ulton!

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