Business planning tends to revolve around where you are right now, where you’re going in the near future, and hopefully, where you’re going to be quite a ways down the road. One aspect of business planning in Maryland that is easily overlooked, however, is what happens to the business after you are gone. Sure, there may be succession plans in place in preparation for your retirement, but what is going to happen if you pass away unexpectedly instead?
For a lot of people, a business is their biggest asset. Certainly, you want to make sure it’s protected–no matter what happens. By planning now, you can help ensure that your business will go on to survive without you instead of falling apart because you’re no longer at the helm.
Step One: Choose a Successor for Your Business
This should have already been taken care of in the event that you are planning to retire, but other situations can arise in which you are unable to continue to run your business. Having named someone you trust who is prepared to take the reins should it become necessary will ensure your business stays running during an otherwise chaotic time.
Step Two: Share the Knowledge
All too often, the business owner is the only person who is privy to all of the information it takes to make the business run. If you’re keeping everything “in your head,” how can your employees keep things running in your absence? It’s time to gather up operational information that others may need should they be forced to step in and fulfill your role. This doesn’t mean you need to share trade secrets with every employee; it just means that you should at least have a good blueprint for how things work that is accessible to the person or people who will need it if the time comes.
Step Three: Know Your Assets
It’s a good idea to understand the overall value of your business. Creating an inventory of assets is a good start in this process. Many assets are not even tangible items but are digital in nature—such as web properties, online accounts, and more. Talk to a professional if you need help assessing your assets.
Step Four: Work with an Attorney
To solidify your ideas and ensure that you are planning within the scope of the law, you’ll want to sit down with a business planning attorney here in Bethesda or Largo who is familiar with local laws and regulations. Your attorney will help you draw up legal documentation that provides direction for your business when you are no longer able to retain control. It also helps to establish your true intentions and limit the amount of challenges others may face later down the road.
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About Nicole K. White
After losing a close relative, Nicole witnessed the devastation, enormous expense and chaos caused by not having a simple estate plan. It is Nicole’s mission to educate parents, especially single parents, about protecting themselves, their families, minor children, and assets with comprehensive Estate Planning.