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  • Attorney Griggs Harris

Know What Can Happen to Your Business If You Become Incapacitated or Pass Away


Preparing your company for your incapacity or death is vital to the survival of the enterprise. Otherwise, your business will be disrupted, harming your customers, employees, vendors, and ultimately, your family.


For this reason, proactive financial planning -- including your business and your estate plan -- is key. Below are some tips on how to protect your company and keep the business on track and operating day-to-day in your absence.


Preparing for the Unexpected

If you are a small business owner, your focus is likely on keeping the company running on a daily basis. While this is important, looking beyond today to what will happen if you can’t run your business should be on the top of your to-do list. If you die or become incapacitated without a plan in place, you will leave your heirs without clear instructions on how to run your company. This can jeopardize the business you worked so hard to build. The right plan along with adequate insurance can help keep your business running regardless of what happens.


Execute the Proper Business Documents

If your company has several owners, a buy-sell agreement is a must. This contract will outline the agreed upon plan for the business should an owner become incapacitated or die.


Provisions in the buy-sell agreement will include:

● how the sale price for the business and an owner’s interest are determined,

● whether the remaining owners will have the option to buy the incapacitated or deceased member’s interest, and

● whether certain individuals can be blocked from participating in the business.


Execute the Proper Estate Planning Documents

A properly executed will or trust will allow you to state how you would like your assets to be transferred -- and who will receive these assets -- at your death. A will or a trust also lets you identify who will take charge of the assets and manage their disbursement (including your business accounts) according to your wishes.


Although a will can be used to pass assets at death, creating and properly funding a trust allows any assets owned by the trust to bypass the probate process making distribution of assets to heirs much faster, private, and may reduce the legal fees and estate taxes your heirs will owe.


Additionally, a trust can help your loved ones manage your trust assets if you become incapacitated. While you are alive and well, you typically act as the trustee of the trust, so you can manage your business and assets with little change from the way you do now. But unlike a will, a trust allows your successor trustee to step in manage things if you become incapacitated. This process avoids court involvement, allows for a smooth transition of trust management (which can be very important if your business is an asset of your trust), and proper continuing care for you in your time of need. Although having a will can be a great way to start, most business owners are much better off with a trust-based estate plan.


Purchase Additional Insurance

Whether you own the business by yourself or are a co-owner, it is important to have separate term life insurance and a disability policy that names your spouse and children as beneficiaries. The money from these policies will help avoid financial hardship while the buyout procedures of buy-sell agreement are being carried out.



Contact an Estate Planning Attorney

Having a plan for your business in the event you are unable to continue managing the company is essential to keep the company going. An attorney can explain the many options you have to protect your enterprise so that you can focus on what you do best -- running your company. Give us a call today to get started protecting your business!

  • Attorney Griggs Harris

You have worked hard for years, have family members and friends you care about, and have approached a time in your life when “estate planning” sounds like something you should do, but you are not exactly sure why.


You may feel that you are not wealthy enough or not old enough to bother or care. Or you may already have a Will and feel that you are all set on that front.


Whatever your current position, consider these common misconceptions about estate planning:


1.) Estate planning is for wealthy people.


False. Anyone who has survived to age eighteen and beyond has likely accumulated a few possessions that are of some monetary or sentimental value. While things like your home, your car, and financial accounts are self-evident assets, that collection of superhero figurines or your iTunes library also deserve proper attention. There is no minimum asset value required to justify having a Will, especially since there are many low-cost options, including estate planning attorneys who will not charge an arm and a leg for a basic Will.


2.) Estate planning is for old people.


False. Tragedy can strike at any moment, and it is best to have your affairs in order so as not to put your loved ones in a financial or bureaucratic bind while they are grieving. Young parents should ensure that proper guardians are in place to take care of their children if they are no longer around, lest the children end up with the most irresponsible member of the family or, worse, a complete stranger.


3.) Estate planning means having a Will.


False. Having a Will is smart because it puts you in charge of the disposition of your assets. A Will allows you to pick your executor, designate the guardians for your minor children, and name any individuals and charitable organizations as beneficiaries of your estate. If you were to die without a Will (i.e., intestate), the law of the state where you reside at your death would govern who receives what part of your estate, who administers your estate, and who takes care of your children. There are some situations where state law may override the provisions in your Will (e.g., a spouse’s elective share), but for the most part, you are in the driver’s seat.


However, a Will is only one tool in the estate planning toolbox. There are other vehicles that allow you to remain in control of your possessions and family’s future during life and upon death. Depending on your situation, a Will alone may not be the most efficient or the most cost-effective means to achieve your goals.


Upon your passing, your Will has to go through probate – a process whereby a court reviews your Will and determines its validity. It is a lengthy and often costly process in many states to begin with and can become even lengthier if a Will is contested (e.g., on the grounds that someone coerced or cajoled their way into an inheritance). The delay in disposition of your assets and the accompanying legal costs may put your family members in financial straits. If your goal is to ensure that your survivors’ cash flow is uninterrupted after your death, it would be wise to incorporate a trust or a life insurance policy into your estate plan. These assets are considered “non-probate” – they pass outside of your Will.


There are other non-probate assets that may constitute a part of your estate. For example, a joint tenancy arrangement on your home, IRA, and payable-on-death (POD) or transfer-on-death (TOD) accounts designate specific beneficiaries upon your death, and the assets pass to them without the delay and cost of the probate process. If your Will provides for a different beneficiary of your IRA account or another non-probate asset, it will be superseded by the beneficiary designation form on file with that account’s or asset’s administrator. Therefore, it is wise to review all of your beneficiary designations periodically, but certainly upon life-altering events like marriage, birth of a child, or divorce.


You are neither too young nor too poor to engage in estate planning! Just remember that a Will may be a necessary, but not the only means to plan your estate in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Keep on top of your assets, and your survivors will have another good thing to say about you at your memorial.


Call us to discuss your options!

#estateplanning #generationalwealth #will #probate #livingwill #powerofattorney #livingtrust #family #familyplanning



Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to have wealth like Oprah, or a summer house in the Hamptons, or a private art collection big enough to rival a museum to consider yourself the owner of an estate.


In fact, virtually anyone who owns anything has an “estate” in the eyes of the law. Although the term may conjure images of expansive country properties, expensive cars, or other symbols of high wealth, for the purposes of estate planning law, the term “estate” covers a whole lot more.


What Constitutes An Estate?

Ordinary possessions like homes, jewelry collections, bank accounts, cars, furniture — basically anything you can own — are also under the purview of your estate, meaning estate planning is something that profoundly impacts virtually everyone, not just the “country club” crowd.


So even if you wouldn’t ordinarily consider yourself the owner of an estate, it’s quite likely that you are. The answer to the question “I don’t have an estate. Do I really need an estate plan?” is, “Yes, virtually everyone who owns property could benefit from estate planning.” And estate planning covers more than just property, too: It’s also about ensuring someone you trust can make critical medical decisions for you if you’re unable to do so.


4 Key Advantages of Estate Planning:

Estate planning may seem overwhelming. But you don’t have to go it alone. We know what it takes to create a comprehensive estate plan tailored to your exact needs.


Here are the core principles of what’s involved in estate planning and how you stand to benefit from the process:


1.) It allows you to remain in complete control of your property while you’re still alive and well.


2.) It helps you provide for yourself and your loved ones if you become incapacitated or disabled - without expensive and distracting court hearings.


3.) It minimizes the impact of professional fees, court costs, and taxes.


4.) It provides a framework so you can give what you have to whom you want, the way you want, when you want.


Are you ready to sit down to discuss how you can ensure a better future for yourself and your family? There is no time to waste — the sooner you take stock of your estate and get critical documents like wills and trusts completed, the better!


Give us a call today at 352-559-0959 to find out how we can keep your health and wealth in the right hands for good.


#ghlawgroup #estateplanning #estateplan #wills #powerofattorney #livingwill #trusts

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             The GH Law Group, PLLC

309 N.E. 1st Street,

Gainesville, Florida 32601 


Post Office Box 5513,

Gainesville, Florida 32627

352-559-0959

***The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, you may ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience.***

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©2019 by The GH Law Group, PLLC.