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Estate planning tips for business owners

Planning for the future can be challenging for anyone, but business owners have particular considerations when preparing wills. Ontario business owners should be careful to include detailed information about the future of their business in estate plans if they hope for their business to survive the owner or owners. Plans should not only designate future management and ownership of the business, but also answer any questions that may arise about the transition and assets within the business. Here are some considerations for business owners looking to plan for their futures.

First, it is important to remember that businesses can change over time. So, a succession plan that made sense five years ago may not be the best option following such changes. Additionally, laws governing estate taxes and businesses can alter over time. To build a tax-efficient and sustainable estate plan, regular review is imperative.

A business is usually only part of a person's overall estate planning considerations. While it may be the largest or most complicated piece, a holistic view of all assets and liabilities will help inform a full picture of distribution and succession. Insurance, trusts, multiple companies and shared ownership can all be potential tools to make estate administration much easier for all involved.

Many Ontario business owners neglect important pieces of their estate plans. In certain cases, this can lead to conflict within a family and even estate litigation. Executors and beneficiaries involved in such disputes can benefit from the help of a lawyer to understand how business, tax and estate law impacts their particular case.

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