In This Edition:
- Firm Announcement: We are expanding!
- Learn How to Secure Your Business with an Estate Plan
- Complimentary Estate Planning Webinar
Dear M&B Family,
We are excited to announce that Myatt & Bell, P.C. is expanding!
Myatt & Bell recently acquired Washington-based estate planning law firm, Salmon Creek Law Offices. This opportunity represents a pivotal point in our firm’s history as we expand our service offerings into the Pacific Northwest, underlining our commitment to delivering personalized, white-glove estate planning and trust administration services to clients located throughout the region.
With offices now in Washington and Oregon, our multiple-attorney team practices in the areas of estate planning, business and tax, probate and trust administration, trust and estate litigation, guardianship and conservatorship matters, elder law, as well as Medicaid Planning.
Please feel free to share the good word that we are now available to serve those in Washington State, and who are looking for legal services that are designed to build, strengthen, preserve, and protect families for generations. As a reminder, all Myatt & Bell attorneys follow the same estate planning processes, and so we look forward to matching new clients with the right attorney for their specific needs.
Thank you for your continued trust and confidence in Myatt & Bell. We remain grateful to you and our M&B Family!
Justin R. Martin
Secure Your Business with an Estate Plan
By Attorney Bryce Kaufman
In last month’s issue, we discussed the importance of business formation and which legal structure might be right for your business. This month, we’re diving into the critical interplay between estate planning and business planning.
The Intersection of Business Planning and Estate Planning
Business planning and estate planning are closely related and should be considered together to ensure that your assets are protected, your taxes are minimized, and your family and business interests are taken care of.
In general, having a comprehensive business succession plan in place from the beginning sets proper expectations. It removes elements of uncertainty and the potential for surprise among your owners, partners, and managers. Creating a plan early in the life of your business also means that should any unforeseen event occur, your business will be less impacted by loss or incapacity.
Key Elements of a Business Succession Plan
A critical aspect for all business owners is to plan for what will happen to their business if they become incapacitated or pass away. To plan for incapacity, all business owners must have a Power of Attorney. A Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows someone else (an “agent”) to make decisions and act on another person’s behalf. You may choose to have two separate Powers of Attorney, one for personal matters and the other solely for business matters. Whoever you appoint as your agent in the Power of Attorney needs to be someone who you trust and can run your business, such as negotiating contracts, accessing financial accounts, placing orders, and writing checks.
Business succession planning ensures that your business continues to run smoothly without interruption and that your heirs are taken care of. This involves creating a comprehensive plan that outlines how the business will be transferred, who will take over the business, and how the transfer will be funded. The plan can involve:
- Selling the business outright.
- Transferring ownership gradually.
- Creating a plan for the orderly dissolution of the business.
The goal is to ensure the business’s long-term viability and protect its stakeholders’ interests.
When identifying potential successors, consider who is best suited to take over the business, whether a family member, a key employee, or an external buyer. Assessing each potential successor’s skills, experience, and commitment to the business is vital. If you plan on leaving your business after your death to one or more co-owners, a buy-sell agreement can ensure unintended beneficiaries, including spouse or children, do not unintentionally become an owner.
When transferring ownership to family members or business partners, setting up one or more trusts can help protect assets and avoid any tax consequences. Ensuring that your personal assets are not subject to the liabilities of your business requires proper business and trust formation. When set up correctly, your personal assets are protected from potential creditors and lawsuits. Then when your business is passed onto your family, this same protection is also in place for them.
The Role of Tax Planning
Tax planning is a large part of any succession plan. Minimizing any potential state and federal tax for your estate and your heirs must be considered. Setting up trusts during your lifetime, such as Intentionally Defective Grantor Trust (IDGTs), Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRATs), or Grantor Retained Unitrust (GRUTs), can help minimize tax consequences. Further, if the business or assets in trust continue to grow, the appreciation will not be subject to estate taxes. If taxes are unavoidable or terms of a buy-sell require liquid assets, setting up an irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) can also be beneficial. The main benefit of an ILIT is that the life insurance proceeds are not considered part of the grantor’s estate for tax purposes but still provide money to pay for expenses.
Charitable giving can be an effective business and estate planning strategy. For example, making donations of company stock to a nonprofit organization during your life or setting up a charitable remainder trust. A Charitable Remainder Trust (CRTs) is a type of trust that allows the donor to provide income to themselves or other beneficiaries for a specified period, after which the remaining assets in the trust are distributed to a designated charity. CRTs offer several benefits to business owners, including a charitable income tax deduction for the value of the remainder interest that will eventually pass to the charity and the ability to avoid capital gains taxes on appreciated assets transferred to the trust. Additionally, CRTs allow donors to make a meaningful charitable gift while still providing income for themselves or their designated beneficiaries.
These are just a few tax planning strategies that can help minimize tax liability.
The intersection of estate planning and business planning is critical. It affects how your business will continue operating and how your estate is managed after your death. It’s important to work with an experienced attorney here at Myatt & Bell who can help you navigate these complex issues.
We’re ready to help!
Estate Planning & Peace of Mind
Have you found yourself making excuses for why not to get your estate in order? Maybe you’re convinced that you really don’t need estate planning. If you have assets and loved ones, you need an estate plan. Having an estate plan that is right for you ensures your loved ones are taken care of and that the transition is as easy as possible.
Attend one of our complimentary estate planning webinars and see for yourself. Having your estate plan prepared and understanding the why’s behind the importance of estate planning can bring you the peace of mind you have been needing. Join us at our next Estate Planning Informational Webinar by clicking here.
What Clients Are Saying:
“We were needing to update our trust. Myatt & Bell, P.C. was referred to us by a friend and it couldn’t have been a better referral. The office staff greeted you warmly and we were made to feel very relaxed. The attorney handling our trust presented herself confidently, yet very down to earth. We felt we had engaged with someone who was extremely knowledgeable about trusts, kind, yet forthright in leading us to be able to make the best decisions for our trust. We were extremely satisfied with the outcome of our trust and very pleased and thankful for the input, teaching and understanding of our attorney. Their rates are reasonable and worth the cost when you see your end product.” – Amy R.
“An excellent experience. Thorough, organized and professional. Justin Martin is a top-notch attorney. We would recommend this office to anyone.” – Michael M.
Families choose Myatt & Bell to design their estate plans with honest optimism and meticulous attention to detail.
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