BUSINESS OWNERS: CHECK YOUR ESTATE WELLNESS

Florida residents should not only be concerned with their physical wellness. They should also consider their financial wellness by frequently reviewing their estate value. This is particularly true for wealthy families who may own their own businesses.

Experts advise wealthy clients to perform a mid-year checkup on their financial holdings. This is because tax savings tend to be time-sensitive. If you decide to make any changes to your estate, it is best to start that process during the middle of the year so you are not rushing as December approaches.

You can take an inventory of your financial assets by first having your business valued. A good appraisal can eliminate the likelihood of the IRS attempting to collect additional taxes after the owner has passed away. Additionally, there are many discounts and tax exemptions that may apply depending on the value of your business, so it is important to obtain a valid estimate.

Additionally, business transfer documents need to be created in advance, because they are usually time-consuming and complicated. Transferring stock, for example, is not always as simple as signing the stock certificates.

Business owners might also choose to create trusts in order to avoid negative tax consequences when transferring ownership of the company. By using an irrevocable trust, the business owner can ensure that family members receive fair treatment, and exorbitant spending by some beneficiaries may be curbed. Life insurance is also a critical consideration, primarily because it can be used to absorb extra tax fees associated with the business transfer.

Keep in mind that this is the last year that business owners may gift $5 million tax-free. Next year, that figure drops to just $1 million. Completing a comprehensive estate plan can help you avoid excessive taxation and ensure that your business lives on.

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Written by Luis E. Barreto

Luis E. Barreto

Luis is a probate and guardianship litigator with over 23 years of experience in the field. Determination of heirs, will contests, breaches of fiduciary duty, removal of personal representatives, guardians and trustees are just some of the types of litigation he addresses. In addition, he administers non-contested estates and guardianships.