Are there special considerations on entrepreneurial estate plans?

On Behalf of Griswold LaSalle Cobb Dowd & Gin LLP

Entrepreneurs are a special breed. They have trained themselves to learn on the fly, solve problems, create solutions and have become the main economic engine of the U.S. economy. However, this honed ability to pivot and problem solves breeds a mentality that focuses on short-term, pragmatic thinking, which can be unhelpful for estate planning. Never fear, we have a pathway to help entrepreneurs get their estate plan done.

Honed problem solvers

First, let us dive into what has made entrepreneurs successful, but what will hurt estate planning: prompt, immediate reward seeking mentality. This is a honed problem solvers mindset. It is the mentality to fix the problem immediately in front of them, and not necessarily thinking about getting long term rewards. This is because, as they are their own bosses, entrepreneurs must put out every fire and fast. The trick for estate planning though, is turning off that gut reaction, at least during the estate planning process.

Start with the goals

First, before one can plan, they must outline their goals. This is step one. Think about one’s long-term goals for everything. This includes all of one’s cash, assets and property, including real and electronic assets. Electronic or e-assets are everything that needs a username and a password to access, including website subscriptions, social media sites (think, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), cryptocurrencies, etc. Where should these assets go? Who should receive them? Is a trust needed? Which taxes will apply and how does one avoid them? These are all things that must be thought about.

Write out the estate plan

Remember, if it is not written, it does not exist. One’s wishes do not matter until they are put onto paper. This is why the next step is to start drafting the estate plan, and if one needs help in this, they may need to contact an estate planning attorney. Do not put this part off. Set a repeating calendar reminder. Pay a friend to keep calling about it. Whatever it takes to push the plan into action, do it.

Estate plans are not set it and forget it

What many of our Hanford, California, and Central Valley readers may forget, especially our entrepreneurial clients, estate plans are not one-step or one-stop documents. They require periodic updates for life events and modifications for law changes. The key is making sure that, at any given moment, the estate plan effectuations those goals written down at the beginning of the process.


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