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Estate and Business Succession Planning

Comprehensive estate and business succession plans are crucial for securing the future of your personal and business assets, preserving the legacy you’ve worked tirelessly to build. Everyone should have a will, power of attorney, advanced medical directive, and, in some cases, a trust(s). Small business owners should also have a business succession plan that coincides with the terms of their personal estate documents.

Our experienced team of estate and business succession planning attorneys understand the importance of preserving your legacy, protecting your assets, and ensuring a smooth transition for your loved ones and business partners. We are here to guide you through every step of the process and create a tailored plan to meet your unique needs, providing security for both you and your enterprise. Our services are al-la-carte, and you don’t have to be a business owner to get our help with your personal estate.

Wills

The cornerstone of any comprehensive estate plan, a well-crafted will allows you to dictate how your assets will be distributed after your passing, ensuring your wishes are carried out precisely. We’ll work closely with you to first understand your specific circumstances and goals. Then we’ll navigate the complexities of estate law to draft a clear, legally binding document that reflects your intentions.

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Simple and Complex Wills

We offer a range of options to accommodate various family and financial situations, from straightforward distributions to more intricate arrangements involving multiple beneficiaries, trusts, and business interests.

Guardianship Provisions

If you have minor children, it’s crucial to designate a guardian who will care for them in the event of your passing. We can assist you in legally formalizing this important decision.

Executor Designation

Choosing the right people to manage your estate is a critical decision. Our attorneys can advise you on selecting executors who will handle your affairs with competence and integrity. Yes, that’s right – people plural – because if your executor passes or becomes incapacitated before you do, then you need to have a backup – or two.

Asset Protection Strategies

We collaborate with your aligned financial services professionals to provide guidance on how to structure your will to minimize tax liabilities and protect assets for future generations.

Trusts

Trusts offer powerful tools for managing and protecting your assets while providing flexibility in how they are distributed. They can be instrumental in avoiding probate, minimizing tax burdens, and safeguarding wealth for your beneficiaries. We have extensive experience in establishing and administering various types of trusts, including:

Revocable Living Trusts

Maintain control over your assets during your lifetime while providing a seamless transition to your chosen beneficiaries after your passing.

Irrevocable Trusts

Designed to provide maximum protection and tax benefits.

Special Needs Trusts

If you have a loved one with special needs, ensure they receive the care and support they require without jeopardizing their eligibility for government assistance programs.

Charitable Trusts

Support the causes you are passionate about with tax advantages.

Older couple laying on the ground relaxing together

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney grants someone you trust the authority to make financial and legal decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so. This essential document helps ensure the continued, effective management of your affairs, even in the face of unforeseen circumstances. We’ll establish a Power of Attorney that aligns with your wishes and provides peace of mind.

Medical Directives

Advance healthcare directives, including living wills and healthcare proxies, allow you to outline your preferences for medical treatment in circumstances where you are unable to communicate your wishes. Our team will assist you in creating clear and legally binding medical directives that provide guidance to your healthcare providers and loved ones in accordance with your desires, beliefs, and values.

Business Succession Planning

How a business succession planning attorney can help you.

A well-thought-out business succession plan is crucial for the continued success of your company and the security of your stakeholders, and it helps ensure a seamless transition to the next generation or designated successors. If you don’t have a clear, legally binding plan, there are a host of potential consequences that could jeopardize your firm’s stability and continuity:

Money burning because they didn't hire a business succession planning attorney

Disputes Among Family Members or Business Partners

Without a clear plan in place, disagreements among family members or business partners about who should take over the company can arise. This can lead to internal conflicts, strained relationships, and even legal battles, ultimately impacting revenue and performance.

Loss of Value

Poor planning can result in a rushed sale or inefficient transfer, leading to financial losses and a diminished legacy.

Operational Disruption

If key personnel are suddenly absent or if there’s uncertainty about who will lead the organization, this can affect day-to-day operations, employee morale, and customer confidence.

Tax Implications

A well-designed succession plan can help mitigate unintended financial consequences and tax liabilities and ensure a smoother transfer of assets for the firm and its heirs.

Inability to Retain Key Employees

Employees may feel insecure about their future within the company if there is no clear leadership transition plan. This uncertainty can lead to the departure of key employees, negatively impacting institutional knowledge and expertise.

Lack of Preparedness for Unexpected Events

If your company is ill-prepared to handle unexpected events such as the sudden incapacitation or death of a key leader, this can lead to a chaotic and reactive response which could put your business at risk.

Loss of Customer and Supplier Confidence

A smooth transition reassures customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders about the organization’s stability and reliability. Without a plan, uncertainty may erode the confidence of these essential partners, affecting relationships and overall reputation.

Man angry because of poor estate planning

We can help you navigate the complexities of the laws around transitioning your business. Services provided by our business succession planning attorneys include:

Woman signing a shareholder agreement

Succession Strategy Development

We will work with you to create a comprehensive plan that addresses key aspects such as leadership transition, ownership transfer, and management continuity.

Buy-Sell Agreements

These legally binding contracts outline the terms under which business interests can be bought or sold in the event of specific triggering events, such as the death or retirement of an owner or member, so that someone’s spouse doesn’t suddenly become your new business partner with equal voting rights.

Shareholder Agreement

Though a shareholder agreement is not specifically part of business succession planning, every business with multiple owners is well-served by having a carefully negotiated and precisely written shareholder agreement. These agreements limit the terms for the sale of stock or an LLC membership and provide guidance for redemption of an ownership interest.

Tax-Efficient Planning

We collaborate with your aligned financial services professionals to minimize tax liabilities during the transition process, ensuring that your company remains financially viable.

Employee and Management Training

We collaborate with aligned professional on resources and training programs to help prepare the next generation of leaders within your organization, ensuring a seamless transition.

Contact an Estate and Business Succession Planning Attorney

If you are ready to take the first step in securing your legacy and ensuring the future success of your business, Book a Free Consult today. Our dedicated team at Dunlap Law is committed to providing you with the highest level of expertise and personalized service. Let us help you navigate the complexities of planning for the future, so you can enjoy peace of mind today.

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