With our busy lives, important things sometimes slip into the “I will get to it” bin. Something that often gets put off is estate planning. Maybe this is because it is not pleasant to think about or your estate is not large and you feel no urgency to put it in writing. Unfortunately, there is a need to look into a Seattle Estate Attorney.
Estate planning is more than who gets what when you pass on. When planning your estate, your estate attorney will encourage you to complete an advanced medical directive and appoint someone you trust to grant a durable power of attorney. The advanced directive has your instructions for your health care decisions in the event that you are unable to do so. The durable power of attorney only lasts for the time you are incapacitated. The moment you can make your own decisions, the durable power of attorney is no longer in effect.
If you are a small business owner and become incapacitated due to illness or injury, you may end up needing help making the business decisions. A trusted employee may be more informed about the business than a family member and may be the best person for a durable power of attorney. It is only effective during your period of inability to make decisions. Once you are able to make decisions again, the durable power of attorney is no longer valid.
You also must make provisions if the illness or injury is fatal. Estate planning is critical to family-owned small businesses. You can add the succession arrangements for your business in your estate plan. You can retain family ownership but in your written estate plan specify who you want to run it and for how long. It might be your brother-in-law until your child is old enough to take over the business. This works well unless your child is unwilling to comply.
This is where estate planning is especially useful. Many small business owners set up a living trust. It is faster to implement than a will and mitigates inheritance taxes. The living trust can both sell the business and keep the profits for those who receive money from the trust, or can continue to own the business and hire an outsider to manage it.
Estate planning by a well qualified Estate Attorney Seattle makes complicated situations, such as domestic partnerships, succession issues and other important matters, easy to manage after you are gone. It is important that you take care of this matter as soon as possible. If you have already implemented an estate plan, it is crucial to review it each year with your estate attorney to make sure that any changes you want to make are incorporated.