Neil Askew, January 2014

Courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I suspect Christmas and New Year all seem long and gone now and we are all back to work. Many New Year’s resolutions will already have been broken. However, all business owners should commit to making one that will benefit you long term …financially. Most personal resolutions have become second nature, but the new year should also be the time when business owners review their business affairs and make sure their house is in order.

Your business may well be the largest asset in your estate and if you were to die or become disabled, what would happen to it? I am often asked by Clients “What are the priorities or business financial resolutions I should make for my business and my family?”.

Well here are six questions you should consider to help get you started in 2014 and to include in discussions with your financial advisor, lawyer and accountant:

  • Have you made all of the necessary arrangements in regards to buy-sell agreement, legal documents, funding etc., with your business partner(s) if you become disabled or die?
  • Do you have an up-to-date will drawn up by a solicitor that includes a business succession plan as part of your estate plan? The successful transfer of a family business from one generation to the next can be notoriously difficult.
  • Have you discussed the issue of your online legacy upon death with your solicitor?
  • Does your family and/or executor know where all of your important documents are filed?
  • Are all of your tax affairs in order with all of your previous tax returns and in one place?
  • Do you need to have a family gathering to discuss your estate plan? The estate plan is useful to provide comfort and security for your family. It is not uncommon for estates to be challenged by unhappy family members.

Winston Churchill famously said “No one ever plans to fail – they fail to plan”. Personal planning is important enough. But when you throw a business into the mix, it really adds a layer of complexity. Taking time to meet with the proper professionals, setting up the necessary plans and getting your affairs in order are just as important if not more to a business owner as having a great product, good customer service and happy clients. If you need help with any of the above matters, contact our offices. Askews offer advice on both financial and legal matters.

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