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Estate planning: Revocable living trusts for business owners

7/9/2015 | Kaplin Stewart Blog

When an individual or family has worked for many years to build a successful business, one of their top priorities is ensuring that their children and grandchildren will have the ability to benefit from that investment of time and effort. There are a great many estate planning options available for Pennsylvania business owners, but many turn to a revocable living trust (RLT) to ensure that their intended heirs inherit assets as smoothly as possible. This powerful planning tool has a number of advantages, some of which are outlined below.

A revocable living trust allows an individual or couple to exert a high degree of control over how assets will be passed down to their intended heirs. In situations in which one or more heirs may need a greater level of guidance or restraint when handling money, periodic disbursements can be set up, as opposed to a bulk inheritance that might be squandered. Another benefit of an RLT is the ability to avoid the probate process.

For business owners, avoiding probate means that the details of their business and personal assets will be kept within the family. Probate is a public process, and the end result can be a loss of confidence on the part of business partners, investors, vendors and customers. By making use of an RLT, the details of how assets will be passed down to the next generation are kept private.

In creating a complete estate planning package, an RLT should be accompanied by several other documents. The list will vary from one Pennsylvania family to another, but typical inclusions are a will, advance medical directives and powers of attorney. By compiling these tools into a larger estate planning approach, business owners can help to ensure that their hard work will pay off for many years to come, even after they have passed that wealth down to children and grandchildren.

Source: Entrepreneur, “Smart Estate Planning Tips for Entrepreneurs“, Mark J. Kohler, June 25, 2015