Ohio Law Supports Estate Planning for Business Owners

Ohio business owners can benefit from establishing estate planning provisions for the protection of their families, partners and employees. In the personal context, a business owner will benefit from setting up some basic estate planning instruments that are suited to all individuals. The most well-known of these is the person's last will and testament.

The will appoints a personal representative (executor) to carry out the dictates of the maker (testator). It contains provisions for disposition of the testator's assets after death. A will is equally if not more important for a business owner because it may set forth the testator's specific instructions for the business. Without a will, the assets may be distributed according to the state's intestate laws, which may conflict with the individual business owner's needs and wishes.

Another popular estate planning instrument is the revocable living trust. The living trust is a versatile tool that directs the implementation of assets while the maker is alive. The maker retains control over the assets and can always change how they are used. The trust may shield assets from having to go through post-death probate. The trust corpus does not pass through one's probate estate, thus streamlining the transfer while saving time and money in the process.

The power of attorney, a key estate planning tool, allows a designated, trusted person to handle one's financial affairs during incapacity. Ohio also provides for health care powers that direct one's physicians in their approach to one's final days. There are other instruments that empower a trusted designee to make medical decisions for the incapacitated patient.

For the business person in Ohio, a buy-sell agreement is a powerful estate planning tool. The agreement is signed by all the business owners and contains provisions for disposition of the decedent's share of the business upon death. It is a very useful tool also in providing for an organized procedure of succession for the business owners. In some cases, there may be insurance that is in place to finance the sale of the decedent's interest and provide timely funds to the designated heirs of the decedent.  

Source: lcsun-news.com, "Estate planning provides protection for business owners", Sumer Rose-Nolen, Jan. 11, 2018

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