Topic

I am the owner of a closely held family business. Why do I need both an estate plan and a succession plan?

Advice

You should have both to preserve your legacy. If you direct or own stock in a closely held business, an estate plan may not be sufficient. I cannot begin to tell you about the numerous families and businesses I have seen divided in costly litigation over how the family business or fortune should be managed after the death of prominent relative. Each time, I wonder why the decedent did not take the time to better communicate his or her wishes to family members and colleagues, particularly on business management and succession details. In many cases, a cohesive estate and succession plan would have shortened or eliminated litigation and, more importantly, promoted family harmony. Consider taking a fresh look at your situation with experienced legal advisors this year. The investment could pay dividends for decades.