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Estate Planning for Business and Non-Business Owners

July 7, 2020

Though Florida already has better tax laws than many other states, having an estate plan is beneficial in several ways, beyond just saving money in taxes. Without a last will and testament in place, a person’s assets are “intestate,” and they are passed on according to a certain order of succession as set forth by Florida law. Having a will or a trust helps ensure that the right people get control of a person’s assets after that person’s death.

Creating an estate plan is particularly important for business owners. Even people familiar with basic estate planning may not be aware of the protections available for businesses. For instance, key person insurance that names a business as a beneficiary can provide coverage for business expenses if the person who owns the business dies or becomes incapacitated. Business owners should also consider drafting a succession plan, which spells out who they want to take over the business or what they want to happen to the business after they are no longer in charge.

Both business owners and non-business owners may want to consider giving someone the power of attorney over their financial and medical decisions if they are unable to do so. Similarly, an advance healthcare directive directs others as to how a person wants to be treated medically in an end-of-life situation (such as when and whether to resuscitate).

There are also other types of insurance policies to consider if a person has dependents, such as life or disability insurance. When it comes to the distribution of assets, individuals may want to seek assistance from an estate planning attorney to determine whether they would rather have a will or a trust fund. If a trust fund is a better option, an attorney can help explain the differences between different types of funds, like revocable and irrevocable living trusts.