Business Tip: Where There’s a Will There’s a Way

Ericka L. Abrams, MPH

Ericka L. Abrams, MPH
Licensed Insurance & Financial Services Advisor

Many people know they need to put an estate plan in place but often times are unsure as to how to best go about it.  It may seem daunting, tedious – expensive even.  Do you need to hire an attorney?  Many questions arise and you may get lost in the paralysis of analysis.  Then you do nothing at all.  Well my hope is to motivate you to action.  Even if you believe you don’t have any assets to protect, you probably do.  Take a moment to take a mental inventory.  Look around you.  Do you have possessions that you treasure?  Family heirlooms, jewelry, photographs, intellectual assets like manuscripts, patents, inventions?  More importantly, do you have a family?  Do you own a home, rental property, a business?  These are all essential reasons to create the first essential element of an estate plan – a will. 

Dying intestate (without a will) can prevent the transference of wealth in the form of real estate, assets and more.  A wIll is an official means to communicate your wishes when your voice can no longer be heard.  You communicate with your family, the State and any other interested parties as to how you want your estate, no matter how big or small to be distributed amongst your heirs.  Once drafted, a will should be officially filed in your local municipality at the local probate court or other appropriate governing body.  This cost should be less than $50 depending upon where you reside.  

If you have minor children, or children from a blended family (children from previous relationships or marriage) it is imperative that you create a will.  What if both you and your spouse, or partner perish together?  Who is going to raise your children in your absence?  You may be fortunate to have a loving, caring extended family or grandparents eager to take over your parenting roles.  But if you don’t, or you have several different groups of family in play, as in a blended family situation, your children may become pawns in a bitter custody dispute, as competing families vie for control of custody.  Leaving both the State and Juvenile Court System to decide for you.  A will that demonstrates your wishes as to who will raise your minor children will prevent this.

As an entrepreneur, you have worked hard to build your business.  What better way to continue your family’s pathway to generational wealth than to will your business to your heirs.  It is important to communicate how you’d want your enterprise to be bestowed upon a partner, or distributed to beneficiaries.  Otherwise, all that you have worked hard to build over the years could fizzle away if you don’t leave clear directives as to how your business legacy can continue on.   

According to a Caring.com survey, odds are you may be one of the 6 of 10  Americans who do not have a will, or an estate plan in place.  I urge you to take action now.  Not only consider drafting your will, but also consider other essential estate plan elements.  Start with life insurance; more specifically the new form of whole life and term life insurance which is Living Benefit Life Insurance.  At no additional cost in premium, this unique insurance affords a policyholder the opportunity to get paid from their death benefit if they suffer from a qualifying illness like cancer, heart attack, stroke, etc.  From this, you can use as you see fit, like to supplement lost income if you cannot work while recovering. Moreover, you should consider establishing both a healthcare power of attorney, and financial power of attorney so that your wishes in both regards will be executed if you are mentally incapacitated. 

For more information on how to get a complimentary will and how to best establish your estate plan or business succession plan please visit us at www.legacy42insurance.com or 1-888-372-2444 and via email at info@legacy42insurance.com.  We serve clients in Ohio, Georgia, Texas, Alabama, Pennsylvania and Michigan.  We are happy to help!

Disclaimer: This information is purely education and is to not serve as legal advice provided by a licensed attorney.

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