Weinstein & Randisi
Toll free:800-768-1780

Resize the Content Text

Why small business owners need an estate plan

Creating an estate plan is an important responsibility that can help you ensure that your family is taken care of in the event of your death. If you’re a small business owner, this responsibility is even more important, as both your business and your family could face financial disaster in case of your untimely passing. Despite this, an estimated 30% of business owners do not have an estate plan.

As an entrepreneur, your business may represent a significant portion of your assets. Planning to pass such assets down to your desired beneficiaries can be more complicated in these cases due to tax, liquidity and other considerations.

Maintaining business operations

If you don’t have a will in place when you pass, the state will decide for you how to distribute your assets. While this situation is almost never ideal, it can be catastrophic for business owners.

If you have not left instructions for how your business should be run, your estate will go through a lengthy and complicated process known as “probate.” A probate judge will oversee distribution of spousal allowances, payment of debts and even management of the company. This could cause the business to fail upon your death.

Passing down the family legacy

Many business owners want to pass the business down to the next generation. When structuring your estate plan, you will detail the process for transferring your business interests to your next of kin. The way you structure this may be dependent on a variety of factors, including:

Tax considerations

While your business may not exceed the federal limit for an estate tax, transferring your business to your beneficiaries might incur state estate and inheritance taxes. You can minimize these tax costs with a variety of estate planning methods, including dividing your estate into multiple trusts, or creating a family limited partnership.

Other business partners

If there are others involved in your business, your estate plan may address their best interests as well. For example, a buy-sell agreement can preemptively set up parameters for your partners to purchase your interest in the business. This can give you more control over who your business interest goes to.

Family dynamics

You might have more than one child, and one of the siblings may have a greater interest in taking over the family business. If you leave them both with an equal share of the company, you are likely to make them both unhappy. Instead, it might be prudent to give the whole of the business interest to one child and compensate the other with other assets. Understanding these dynamics can help you create a more tailored plan for your business and your family.

All estate plans are different and tailored to the individual’s situation. As a small business owner, it is especially important that you have a plan in place to make sure the business you’ve worked to build is protected.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • I wanted to write to say how pleased my wife and I were at your professional handling of our estate planning and preparation of new wills. We were put at ease by your visit to our home for an interview and were pleased that you listened to us and captured the things that we felt were important.

    --Robert and Christine Simonson, Fairport
  • In order to finalize the documents we came to your office and were greeted in a very professional manner and we could not have asked for finer service. We left with copies of everything we needed and feel very confident our needs have been met. Thanks again. We will surely recommend you should the opportunity arise.

    — Christine and Robert Simonson, Fairport
  • I have been working with Weinstein & Randisi for about two years now. Elizabeth Randisi, through a very thorough process, has helped my wife and me determine what is really important in our lives. Thus, we were able to draft a living will that reflected our most important values regarding our estate.

    --David and Ajia Cherry, Fairport
  • I would like to give a testimony for Elizabeth Randisi, an estate attorney with Weinstein & Randisi. Her knowledge of wills and estate planning was clearly demonstrated in her presentation to us. Realizing our need for a will, my husband and I went to see Elizabeth.

    --Kathy and Gary Gray, Webster
  • Filing for Medicaid is never an easy or fun process. However, working with the Weinstein & Randisi firm made the process simple and streamlined. We were able to obtain all files and records regarding Medicaid enrollment within a few days using specially prepared checklists and verbiage recommended by our assigned paralegal.

    --Ajia and David Cherry, Fairport
Awarded Top 50 Estate Planning Blog
Email Us For a Response

How Can We Help You?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Blog Feed


Weinstein & Randisi - estate planning

290 Linden Oaks, Ste. 200
Rochester, NY 14625

Toll Free: 800-768-1780
Phone: 585-310-1578
Rochester Law Office Map


Call us now for a free, 100% confidential consultation: