Small business owners in Georgia may be particularly concerned about how to handle their business after they pass away. With the news that music legends Aretha Franklin and Prince died without a will, the consequences of passing away intestate have been widely discussed. Family members have been caught up in ongoing legal disputes about these musicians' substantial estates. However, these celebrities were far from alone; according to one survey, 58 percent of Americans don't have a will. While most entrepreneurs' estates may not rival Franklin's or Prince's, it can be equally important to create a clear plan for the future.
By creating a will, people can determine what will happen to their properties after they die. Without a will, the decision is left to state law and the courts, regardless of sentiments expressed by the person who passed. Family feuds can become bitter and disputes develop over the assets. This can be especially true for small business owners. The future of the business may be at stake in a lengthy court and probate process, and much of its value may be squandered in legal fees. Without someone operating the business, it may cease to do business and even fall into bankruptcy in the long run.
Therefore, small business owners should take care to create a will and other key estate documents that details how the enterprise's assets are to be passed on. By including clear specifics about the business, its future growth and income can be protected. A written succession plan can also be critical to a positive transition.
Other documents, like a power of attorney, may be especially important for small business owners to ensure that financial operations continue even while the estate is being probated. An estate planning attorney may help business owners develop a plan and design key documents to protect their legacy.