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When planning their wills, entrepreneurs should take special care

The purpose of a will is to make provision for the distribution of assets after a person's passing. For most people in British Columbia, those assets will include things such as real estate, material possessions, money and investments. Entrepreneurs and other business owners, however, have one very special asset that should be given space in their wills: the business itself.

If a business owner has an interest in ensuring the business has a future past the end of his or her own life, provision must be made for that in a will, and it should be incorporated into any estate planning. In the case of a sole proprietorship, matters are relatively simple. The executor of the estate is to be entrusted in the will with access to any digital assets of the business, including passwords for social media and email accounts. A detailed succession plan should list those trusted family members or associates who will take over the operation of the business and what their roles will be. 

In cases where a partnership, or an ownership group controls the company, a buy-sell agreement is an essential tool. This document provides for the division of the deceased's interest in the business among the remaining owners. Power of attorney can also be granted to a partner, enabling that person to make business decisions on the late man or woman's behalf.

Many British Columbia entrepreneurs and business owners have poured their hearts and souls into building successful companies. It's only fitting that they implement measures in their wills to protect their life's work after their own life has ended. Working together with a law firm focused on both business and estate law, it may be possible to preserve their business legacy for future generations.

Source:, "5 Estate Planning Tips for Entrepreneurs", Fred Cohen, Nov. 8, 2016

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