Planning for the Unplanned – Asset Protection Business Owner’s Guide

We are a nation of entrepreneurs.  Our forefathers coined the phrase “the American Dream” to reflect our big dreams, the big risks we take and the big payoffs we reap.   Today, we continue to dream big and take risks and reap rewards.  The best of us, however, put in place a plan to minimize those risks.  Because while we understand that risk-taking is inherent in any venture, we also know that risk-planning is integral to success.

The American Dream and entrepreneurial spirit of this nation are alive and well.  And like those before us, ensuring financial security for our families is the driving force that propels our big dreams.  The Edwards Law Firm began as a big dream nearly two decades ago.  We have seen other businesses come and go, and understand well the importance of not only taking risks, but also planning for and avoiding risks.  Our team of experienced attorneys and paralegals can help you achieve your business goals as well, whether you are a small-business owner with one employee and little overhead or on your way to the top of an international conglomerate.  Here are a few things we have learned along the way.

Buy-Sell Agreements

One of the most important factors in asset protection and business planning is identifying every tax advantage.  Another key factor is planning for what we at The Edwards Law Firm affectionately call the “what-ifs,” or, as Mr. Edwards commonly tells clients: “Remember what Murphy said.”

A buy-sell agreement is an excellent tool for businesses to plan for the unknown, replete with a wide array of benefits.  Also called a buyout agreement, a buy-sell agreement has the primary purpose of protecting business owners from the loss of a co-owner, whether from death, disability or desire.  In addition to providing for a smooth transition, a buy-sell agreement, for example, can establish the purchase price as the taxable value of an owner’s business interest, avoiding unexpected estate tax consequences at the owner’s death.  The benefits are numerous – but the main take-away is that with a buy-sell agreement in place, business owners get peace of mind knowing there will be a smooth continuation of the business after a potentially disruptive event.  It is an affordable peace of mind, too.   To learn more about the myriad ways in which a buy-sell agreement can protect your business, speak with one of our experienced attorneys today.

Family Limited Partnerships

A strategy that can help you meet such diverse goals as estate planning and protection against lawsuits, the family limited partnership is often an important element in a business structure.  Many business owners assume the sole purpose of a family limited partnership is to pass wealth from one generation to the next.  It is far more versatile and beneficial.  We think of it as an additional asset protection tool.  Is it right for your business?  Give us a call today and we can help you make that determination.

Limited Liability Companies

A limited liability company is a company structure option some business owners prefer because of the many tax advantages and additional liability protections.  The benefits are many.  Because each business is unique, however, an LLC is not the right business model for everyone.  Much of that decision is based upon what you see for the future of your business.  We will explore this option with you so that you can make the most informed decision based upon your needs and your plans for your future.

Finally, we live in a litigious society.  Turn on the television at any time of day and you are bound to find a court show or a news report on a court case.  Anyone with assets is at risk.  We stated above the use of family limited partnerships, LLCs and even buy-sell agreements as tools to protect your assets against lawsuits.  There are many other effective ways to protect those assets.   The key is to think about it now, and not when the legal papers show up on your door step.

We have seen this happen to many clients – they work hard, build their business, get sued and have nothing in place to protect them or their business, and they fold under the burden of litigation costs.  They relied on the laws designed to protect them, the business owner.  Unfortunately, those laws alone will not always protect you and your assets from lawsuit.  A hallmark of The Edwards Law Firm is planning for the unknown – as such, we believe a proactive mindset is the most beneficial tool.  After all, you worked hard for what you have, and we want to help you protect that.  No one knows what the future holds, and we plan for that.

Give us a call today and let us help you plan for success.

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