A will is a document that spells out your wishes for what should happen to your property and possessions after you die. But wills are not just for individuals — they are also crucial for businesses. Having a will can designate a legal representative to ensure business continuity in case of death or incapacity. It will outline the orderly distribution of assets upon dissolution of the company if necessary, and also minimizes estate taxes and other administrative costs associated with winding up a business after death.
What Happens if You Don’t have a Will
The state will dictate how your assets are distributed using the intestacy laws if you don’t have a will in place for your business. This might not be what you want and can lead to confusion and chaos after death. For example, suppose you are married and have children. In that case, your spouse will inherit most of your estate, and your children will inherit what remains. But if you want to ensure your assets are divided in a way that reflects your wishes, you should make a will that specifically states that. It’s important to have a will to explain your wishes regarding how your estate is divided and your business is handled.
Choosing the Right Heir for Your Business
If you’re a business owner, it’s essential to have a will in place that spells out how your business should be handled in the event of your death. Without such a document, your heirs may not know what to do with your company and could wind up liquidating it or selling it off piecemeal. When choosing an heir, they should have a vested interest in continuing the business. You should determine which among your options has shown the competency and capability to potentially manage the business independently. Likewise, you should also consider if inhering these new duties and responsibilities is what they would want. That way, you can be confident that your business is in good hands and will continue to thrive even after you’re gone.
The Different Types of Wills Available
There are different types of wills available, and you can choose the one that best suits your needs. Before creating a will, you should understand the different types of wills and how they work. Here are the most common types:
- Simple Will – a document that tells who should get your property after you die. It’s a basic will, and it’s the simplest type of will.
- Testamentary Trust Will – a special kind of trust that you put in your will. This trust will help make sure that your property goes to the right people after you die. It’s possible to have more than one testamentary trust in a will.
- Joint Will – a document that two or more people sign to show that they want their wills to be combined into one and is usually created by married couples, but it can be signed by anyone who wants to share property jointly.
- Living Will – a document that says what kind of medical care you want if you cannot make decisions yourself because of severe illness or being unconscious.
Drafting a Will for your Business
If you’re a small business owner, one of the most important things you can do to protect your company is to have a will. It’s usual contents may include:
- Name and Address of Business
- Type of Business Entity
- Date of Business Formation
- Principal Place of Business
- Duration of Business
- Names and Addresses of any Principals, Shareholders, Partners, or Members
- Statement Describing the Nature of the Business
- List of Assets Owned by the Business
- Liabilities of the Business
- Name and Address of Beneficiary/ies (or Trustee/s)
Getting Legal Assistance
When you make a will, you tell the world what you want to happen to your things after you die. It is crucial to have a will if you own a business because it can help ensure your business continues running after you’re gone. This is often correctly distributed to your beneficiaries, but if anyone were to contest your will, they would all have to go to probate. Hence, getting legal assistance is necessary to ensure your wishes are properly carried out and help your beneficiaries receive what you want them to. You can do this by assigning a qualified probate litigation attorney who can help your beneficiaries with the process in case anyone else might attempt to claim your estate when you’re gone. This way, you can still protect your business and your beneficiaries as much as possible.
A will is an important document that can help protect your business and its assets in the event of your death. Having a will in place can give you peace of mind knowing that your business is taken care of by the beneficiaries you trust to leave it with.