Estate Planning for Business Owners

Estate planning for business owners deals with the transfer or dissolution of your business and ultimately ties into your personal estate planning. Business estate planning can be complicated because of:

  • Complex business and personal relationships
  • Tax issues
  • Business continuation or dissolution
  • Funding the payout of shared ownership to the estate

We’ve put together an infographic checklist that can help you get started on this and some things to consider:

Funding Partnership agreements (U.S.A.)

  • Use life insurance to fund your ownership in a partnership. This eliminates the use of operating funds or going to the bank to borrow to pay out your estate.

Adult Children

  • Fair vs Equal. Adult children who are not part of the family business may want to remain separate from those who are involved in the company.
  • Do your adult children have the capacity and ability to deal with a large inheritance?

Family Meeting

  • Encourages open conversation between parents and adult children so context can be provided behind the decisions, there are no surprises and allows the children to express their interests and concerns and decreases the chances of resentment later.


  • Make a list of everything you own and owe


  • Ensure your Will is up to date and been created with your Lawyer.
  • Home made Wills can create legal issues that end up costing thousands of dollars to settle

Taxes and Probate

  • Set up your investments to avoid delays in the transfer of assets due to probate
  • Use life insurance to reduce your corporate tax liability and transfer assets to your beneficiaries on a tax preferred or tax free basis

Consider the following:

  • The use of trusts for privacy
  • The use of a holding company for effective tax planning.
  • Insurance to pay taxes and transfer company assets to your beneficiaries on a tax preferred or tax free basis

Execution: As a business owner its prudent to enlist the help of professionals such as:

  • Financial Advisor
  • Lawyer
  • Accountant/Tax Specialist