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Estate planning may protect one's business legacy

Most entrepreneurs in Oklahoma do not spend their lives and fortunes establishing businesses that will fold when they die. Many believe their legacies will continue for generations after they are gone. However, they must do some careful planning and preparing if that is to become a reality. There are many estate planning tools that can provide that security.

Business owners can use their wills to detail their wishes regarding their companies. For example, a business owner can name the representative he or she has chosen to manage the company and its assets. The will should also give clear permission for a trusted person to access any digital assets. Bank accounts, social media and emails are protected by privacy laws and access to them may be denied unless it is specified in a will.

Many who begin with the basic will also include a trust in their plans. Trusts allow the assets to bypass costly and time-consuming probate that may disrupt the flow of business operations. Another way to avoid any business interruption is to establish a formal plan of succession. Choosing qualified people to accept the transfer of ownership and responsibilities may spare one's family or employees frustrating uncertainties and disputes.

Business advisors say that designating a power of attorney is essential and is best done sooner than later. Appointing someone who can handle the accounts, assets and debts, as well as the day-to-day operations, will allow the business to continue running smoothly if the business owner suddenly dies or becomes incapacitated. Without a power of attorney, the courts will appoint a guardian who may not know or agree with the owner's business plan.

Starting a business in Oklahoma is an enormous undertaking, which is why it is important to protect it for the future. Entrepreneurs can obtain sound advice from a dedicated estate planning attorney. Experienced lawyers will work with business owners to find the best tools to protect the companies they have worked so hard to build.

Source:, "5 Estate Planning Tips for Entrepreneurs", Fred Cohen, Nov. 8, 2016

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