By: Pooja Patel, Esq of DPA Attorneys at Law
You have invested significant time, money, and effort into building your multi-million-dollar business. But this sacrifice will be lost without a plan for your assets. We often assume that we have plenty of time for our future, but life is unpredictable. To shield our families from unforeseen circumstances, we must take matters into our own hands and ensure our intentions are in writing. This is called estate planning.
Executing a comprehensive will and trust protects your assets, and ensures your beneficiaries are not burdened financially or emotionally. For independent hoteliers, you only stand to benefit from this process. Allow us to explain the importance:
- Minimize taxes for your beneficiaries. Without a will or trust, estate taxes are hefty. This significantly reduces the amount of wealth passed down to heirs. Business owners can instead maximize their estate funds by taking advantage of tax strategies such as gifting, trust creations, and tax-exempt transfers.
- Detailed succession plan. At the core of estate planning is a succession plan – this is especially crucial for hoteliers whose families are involved in the business. Attorneys who understand your business can help you navigate decisions such as how the business will be transferred, who will oversee operations, who will be the decision maker, and what decisions beneficiaries are allowed to make.
- Avoid probate court. If you leave without a will or a trust, you are relinquishing control to a probate judge. You are giving a judge full power to decide the future of your assets. You are putting your family in jeopardy of not being able to touch your assets or any money until the court decides three years down the road.
- Mitigate risk of loss and liability. Your wealth and your business are essentially one in the same. Without a trust, you are exposing your hotels to the risk of loss due to unanticipated events such as bankruptcy, legal action, or death. Estate planners can advise you on the best approach to mitigate these threats.
- Make decisions now for later. You are currently in the state of mind to make health decisions. Decide what will happen when you are not physically or mentally able to later. Decide now what will happen to your house, pets, and personal belongings.
If you are a business owner without an estate plan, you must act now. There are significant advantages to executing a comprehensive trust, and without these documents, your family is vulnerable to dire consequences. Take the time to protect your legacy and hard work. Reach out to an experienced estate planning attorney who has worked with hotel owners to guarantee a sound strategy and approach.