You put a lot of work into building your business, but what will happen to it after you die? That all depends on how you set up your estate. Good estate planning will preserve your assets and Las Vegas business when you die and transfer everything to your chosen beneficiaries. Here are some options for protecting your business and the consequences if you don’t make the proper arrangements.

How Can You Protect Your Las Vegas Business And Beneficiaries?

The best way to protect your business and beneficiaries after your death is to work with an estate attorney to include plans for your business in your will. But what kind of arrangements should you make? Your attorney can help you decide on a strategy that fits your exact circumstances and desires. But here are a few routes Las Vegas business owners can consider:

  • Create a living trust that transfers ownership of your business to a trusted successor. This option keeps your business out of probate and minimizes your estate’s tax burden. 
  • Form a partnership with the person you want to take over your business. Make your desired successor a partner and make a buy-sell agreement that lists events (such as your death) that would trigger a sale of your shares to your partner.  
  • If you have a small business, you might be able to pass on your business to a trusted successor and avoid a tax penalty by simply gifting it to them. However, gifting must happen when you are still alive and ready to hand the business over. 


What Happens To Your Las Vegas Business When You Die Without A Will?

So what happens to your Las Vegas business if you die without a will? That depends on your business structure. Without specifying what happens to your business after death may open your family to civil litigation, but in general here is what could happen:

  • If you own a sole proprietorship, your business will end with your passing, and all assets will go towards satisfying debts. Then your next of kin receive leftover assets.
  • For an LLC, your operating agreement should include what happens to the business after your passing, such as who will take over for you. If there is no will, your business shares usually pass to your next of kin.  
  • Ideally, in partnerships, you already have a signed agreement for what happens to the business if a partner dies. But if a partner passes without such an agreement, intestacy law gives that partner’s business shares to their next of kin.
  • Corporations usually have several shareholders to keep a business running if an individual passes away. However, if you are the only shareholder and die without a will, your estate becomes the “owner,” and stocks will be distributed according to intestacy laws. 

In the absence of a will, your loved ones will have to navigate the often confusing probate process. Part of that means settling any business debts. If the debts exceed your assets, this can create a heavy burden for grieving loved ones. Then how your family uses your assets to pay off debts can also cause contention with your business partners and destroy what’s left of the business. Speaking to an estate planning attorney as soon as your business becomes profitable can prevent these problems.

Talk To Williams Starbuck About Las Vegas Business Estate Planning

If you’re a Las Vegas business owner who hasn’t started estate planning, take your first steps today by calling the estate attorneys at Williams Starbuck. Call us at 1-720-660-9847 or send us a message for a free consultation.

Many Las Vegas residents feel overwhelmed by the process of estate planning because it encompasses so many things. Breaking everything down into individual steps can make the task less daunting. Use this Las Vegas estate planning checklist to organize your estate planning and make it much more manageable.

1.) Find A Las Vegas Estate Planning Attorney

If there’s one person who doesn’t feel overwhelmed by issues like wills and probate, it’s an experienced attorney. Choose an attorney to help you tailor your Las Vegas estate planning checklist to your specific circumstances and answer all of your questions. 

2.) Identify Physical Assets

Physical assets include tangible valuables that you want to bequeath to others, like motor vehicles, real estate, or jewelry. For estate planning, you should 

  • Make an inventory of your assets and their values.
  • Note to whom you want to bequeath each item.
  • Put all titles and deeds in a safety depository box or home safe.
  • List whom you want sentimental or less valuable items to go to.

3.) Identify Non-Physical Assets

Your non-physical assets are financial accounts and policies like bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement plans, and life insurance policies. Take these steps to ensure your money goes to the right beneficiaries:

  • List your non-physical assets, including account numbers and financial institutions or insurance companies. 
  • Review retirement accounts and insurance policies and update the beneficiaries if needed.
  • Put pertinent documents for your accounts and policies in a safe deposit box or home safe.
  • List your beneficiaries for each account and policy, including any organizations or charities to which you would like to donate.
  • Consider setting up a transfer on death designation for qualifying financial accounts. 
  • Consider consolidating retirement or investment accounts to simplify your finances. 


4.) Identify Your Debts

Any debt you leave behind will come out of your estate before your heirs inherit anything, so identifying and settling them now will make the probate process easier later. 

  • List your debts, such as credit cards, mortgages, home equity lines of credit, and other loans. Include account numbers and institution or company names. 
  • Invest in disability and life insurance if you don’t have them already. 
  • Make a plan to pay off debts and preserve more of your estate. 

5.) Draft A Last Will And Testament

A will records your wishes for the distribution of your assets and care of any dependents. Draft yours with the aid of an attorney to ensure it will hold up in probate court. 

  • Make an appointment to draft your will with your attorney. Your Las Vegas estate planning checklist will help you prepare. 
  • Select a trustworthy estate administrator.
  • Appoint a guardian for minor children, if applicable. 
  • Ask your attorney if a living trust is right for your estate.
  • Sign your completed will in the presence of two witnesses. They must sign too. 
  • Have your will notarized. 
  • Place your will document in a safe place and give a copy to your estate executor. 

6.) Consider A Power Of Attorney 

A power of attorney authorizes a trusted agent to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated. Your Las Vegas estate planning attorney can help you navigate setting up different kinds of power of attorney. 

  • Set up your financial power of attorney.
  • Set up a health care power of attorney. 
  • Create a living will for your end-of-life care plan.

Complete Your Las Vegas Estate Planning Checklist With The Attorneys Of Williams Starbuck

When you begin your estate planning, call Williams Starbuck Attorneys at Law first. We’ll guide you through every step and give you legal strategies for protecting your property and loved ones. Call us at 1-720-660-9847 or send us a message for a free consultation.