Probate Lawyer Chandler, AZ
If you own your own company or small business, you may be wondering if you should meet with a probate lawyer in Chandler, AZ at Citadel Law Firm, PLLC about putting a plan in place in the event that you retire or pass away. When you create this kind of detailed process that transfers your business ownership to someone else—whether another business or a family member—it is called a business succession plan.
However, you might not know the first thing about creating this type of plan, and this is where we can help you. We know that you have worked hard to create this business and we want to see it succeed even after you leave the company. For more information on business succession plans and how we can help, schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team today.
Why put a business succession plan in place?
If you are getting older and considering retirement, you may be faced with two options: do you want your business to shut down or would you like it to remain open and continue accruing revenue? If you prefer the latter option, you should consider creating a business succession plan. When you think of a business succession plan, you can consider it to be similar to an estate plan. After you pass away, you want to ensure your estate goes to people who will take care of it.
However, the “inheritance” that someone gets with a business succession plan is the actual company and they would need to maintain certain procedures to keep it running and successful. It is important to note that if you unexpectedly pass away without a business succession plan in place, your ownership interest in your business (along with the rest of your property and assets) could be forced into a complex, expensive and burdensome probate process. An experienced probate lawyer in Chandler, Arizona can help you to avoid this scenario.
Choose Your Successor
This is one of the most important aspects in creating a business succession plan because you want to ensure the person you put in place to take care of your company will allow it to thrive and succeed. Many business owners likely have someone in mind when it comes to who will take over their business, and this may be assistants that they have worked with over the years or different family members.
You want to ensure that you have properly assessed the strengths and weaknesses of who you want to take over the business so that you know you are leaving it in good hands. Similar to estate planning and wills, there is a possibility of resentment, especially if you leave the business to certain family members and not others. If you have questions about how to choose a successor, our lawyers would be happy to help.
Estate planning with support from an Arizona probate lawyer in Chandler is an important step in securing your assets and your family’s financial future. The most common type of estate planning individuals choose is a last will and testament. This is a document where you write specifically how you want your estate to be distributed after you pass away.
If you choose to use a will as your main entity for which to name your beneficiaries when you pass, it will have to be taken through the probate process which can be lengthy and costly depending on how complex your estate is.
Purpose of Probate
The purpose of the court proceedings is to ensure the will is executed as you intended. As well, if someone contests the will’s contents, the court is there to determine the document’s authenticity and whether the person who signed it was mentally capable at the time of signing. If you do not make your will as detailed as is necessary, the court fills in the holes and makes the final decisions. The court is also responsible for making sure the designated executor adheres to your final wishes, pays all outstanding debts, and correctly distributes the remaining property.
It is highly recommended that you name someone as your executor in your will, so the court isn’t held responsible for choosing someone for you. After you pass, this person will be responsible for taking your will to the local courthouse in the county where you lived or owned property. Once this is done, the court officially names this person as the executor and legal representative of your estate. The executor has a number of responsibilities beyond this point, including:
- Giving notice of your death to known creditors, who then have the right to stake a claim on assets to cover their debts within a limited period of time. This period of time varies by state.
- Taking an inventory of the assets in the estate. This includes everything from real estate, investments, bank accounts, collectibles, vehicles, and anything else you owned. All assets that are not cash must also be appraised.
- Paying all debts, taxes, and funeral expenses. If there isn’t enough cash, this person may be required to sell items.
Once all bills are paid, the executor asks the court for the authority to begin the asset distribution process. This includes transferring all property and titles to the beneficiaries named in the will.
Organize Your Will and Assets
Because the probate process can become complex and lengthy, it is incredibly helpful if you have your accounts and assets well organized and documented to simplify your executor’s job. If you have a very complex estate, you might consider a living trust to remove some of your assets from the probate process altogether and decrease the court time and associated fees for your heirs. Consult with a Chandler probate lawyer to ensure your estate is set up in the most beneficial way for you.
Do you need a probate lawyer?
When it comes to transferring your business upon retirement or death, it can become complicated quickly, and you want to ensure you have the legal help on your side necessary to make this transition go as smoothly as possible for the sake of your company. It is important that you speak with a Chandler, AZ probate lawyer about having your company appraised and getting the proper documentation in place regarding the business successor’s name and their information.
If you are planning on retiring or would like to have a business succession plan in place for when you pass away, it is important to get this information documented as soon as possible. For more information on business succession plans, please speak with a probate lawyer in Chandler, AZ from Citadel Law Firm, PLLC today.