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Estate Planning 101: Protecting the Family Business

Table of Contents

Family Businesses Drive the American Economy

Small business owners are the heart beat of America. They are the engines that drive American cities, big and small. For small business owners, it can be a terrifying prospect of what will happen to their business once they pass. Sadly, most small business owners pass without a proper estate plan. Even more disturbing, is what may happen to the business you spent a lifetime building if you die without proper estate planning that takes into account your family owned business.

Family Businesses Drive the American Economy

Make sure to Properly Form an Entity or Trust to Save the Business from Certain Death

Here is something very important to think about as we move forward: what type of small business do you own? Have you incorporated it or is it a simple sole-proprietorship? Did you form an LLC or is it a standard C corporation? Those are all things your estate planning attorney will ask you in order to determine what needs to be done about your business in the event of your death. It will be important to look at your company's operating agreements to determine how the business, and the assets of the business, will pass when you die. Does the business transfer to a business partner? Do you even have an operating or buy-sell agreement? If not, then you need to speak with an attorney take care of that.

If you have properly formed your business entity with the State of Arizona, then your business technically will not "die" along with you. The entity will still exist. However, the functional reality is that without proper estate and business planning, you may leave a mess behind for your loved ones, and your customers, that may result in your businesses eventual "death". This is why proper estate planning and business planning is so vital to the small business owner. There are steps you can take to ensure that the business needs will be met even after you pass. This can be done through a Last Will and Testament, a Trust, Buy-Sell Agreements, and the like. Your estate plan should take a comprehensive approach that ensures the years you spent building your business will be enjoyed by future generations of family members, business partners, and your clientele.


In conclusion, safeguarding your family business through estate planning is vital for its continuity and legacy. Properly forming an entity or trust can prevent its demise upon your passing.

Consult with an Arizona estate planning attorney to ensure your business is protected and your wishes are honored. Secure the future of your business for generations to come.

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