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San Francisco Estate Planning Lawyer For Business Owners

San Francisco County business estate plan law firm

Attorney For Asset Protection and Business Succession in the North Bay and East Bay

Estate planning is important for anyone who has assets they want to pass on, regardless of the size of the estate, but it is especially crucial for business owners. Not only does a business often constitute a significant asset in its own right, but it can also be a steady source of income for future generations and a means of preserving the business owner's legacy. However, in order to ensure that your business continues to function after your exit, incapacitation, or death, it is important to have a clear succession plan in place.

At the Law Office of Martin Alperen, we help business owners with basic estate planning needs, including wills and advance health care directives, as well as specific measures aimed at protecting and ensuring the successful transfer of their business assets. Whether you own a small family business or a significant share in a larger corporation, we can help you find a solution that works for you.

Early Estate Planning Strategies For Bay Area Business Owners

Before creating a business succession plan that addresses events surrounding your death, there are steps you can take to protect your business and personal assets during your lifetime. These include:

  • Business formation: Establishing your business as a limited liability partnership (LLP) or limited liability company (LLC) can protect you from excessive liability in the event your business faces a lawsuit. This allows you to maintain the assets you need for personal use and pass them on through your estate plan.
  • Liability insurance: Purchasing liability insurance for your business is a must. Not only does it pay the damages for parties who have a claim against your business, it also automatically provides you with a lawyer to represent you.
  • Power of attorney for property: A power of attorney can grant decision-making authority over your property to a person whom you trust. You can create a power of attorney specifically for matters related to your business. Depending on your needs, the power of attorney can be durable, meaning that it continues after your incapacitation, or it can simply take effect when you are unavailable to make a decision yourself.

San Francisco Business Succession Planning

Business succession refers to what happens to your share of a business after your exit, perhaps due to retirement, or your death. A thoughtful succession plan makes it possible for the business to continue without you, and it may help you avoid an unwanted external takeover. There are several options for a business succession plan, including:

  • Transfer of ownership to a successor: You may choose to pass on your business ownership to a successor, perhaps your spouse, child, or another family member, by direct transfer through your will, or in installments through a trust. Whatever the transfer method, you should make sure your successor has the training, preparation, and access to business records necessary to run the business effectively.
  • Buy-sell agreement: If your business is a partnership or corporation, you may consider creating a buy-sell agreement in which the business entity or the other partners purchase your share of the business upon your death. With this option, it is usually important for the business or partners to have a life insurance policy on you so that they have the necessary funds to buy your share.
  • Selling the business: If you feel that selling the business upon your death will provide greater benefits to your family than maintaining it, you may choose to plan to sell to a person or entity whom you trust to manage the business well and in accordance with your values, rather than leaving it up to chance.

Contact an East Bay Estate Planning Lawyer for Business Owners

With our experience in estate planning law, we can help you follow the appropriate procedures to protect your business assets and establish a succession plan that you are comfortable with. Contact us today at 415-534-1200 for a free consultation. We serve business owners throughout the Bay Area, including in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, and surrounding locations in the North Bay, the East Bay, and the Peninsula.

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