When you start up a business, it is generally at a young enough age so that you can imagine it carrying you financially well into the future. Its human nature to think only of the present or, at the very least, the near future. But if you want your business to have a legacy that outlives you, you naturally have to give consideration for the time when you have to hand over the reins.
You also, although it’s not a fun thing to think about, have to figure out just who might preside over your business when you’ve died and how you want that business to look. Many people make the mistake of waiting on those decisions until it’s too late.
Once your business is established, you should make plans for a future when it will be run by someone other than you, either because you’ve reached the age of retirement or passed on. Obviously, that requires naming a successor. But it also means that you have to put legal plans in place that will be enacted in your absence. Protecting the assets owned by a business is of paramount importance. Depending on how the business is structured, the things that you worked so hard to achieve could be in jeopardy once you die unless you make the proper preparations well in advance.
The process of asset protection planning is something that you should only undertake with professional expertise and experience in the field by your side. What you can do on your own is to start imagining what you want once, for whatever reason; you’re no longer in charge.
Deciding who will be counted on to lead your business in your absence will be one of the most difficult decisions you have to make, but also one of the most important. Many people leave the job of running their business to family members. This can lead to a smooth transition if the person in question is qualified and eager to fill the role. Barring that, you should perhaps consider going outside the family to a trusted, long-time worker who knows the business inside and out. They would be likely to carry on the business in the manner you preferred.
It is obviously impossible to predict the future and what businesses will look like many years down the road. But it wouldn’t hurt to work up a basic set of guidelines or tenets to which your company should always adhere. This can be a useful tool for those following in your footsteps.
How the assets of a business are distributed to survivors can be a touchy situation. Your main job, something that will help eliminate all of that angst, is to leave behind documentation that is as clear as possible about how all of that will take place.
It’s not a lot of fun to think about your business without you in charge of it. But if you want your company’s legacy to be something of which you can be proud, it’s absolutely necessary.