Small Business Owners and Estate Planning

Estate planning is one of those subjects that no one wants to talk about. A very important topic, we seem bent on leaving for later or working on when we get older. Some feel that estate planning is only for the very wealthy. Not true!

Estate planning is defined as the creation, conservation, and utilization of family resources to obtain the maximum support and security for the family during the lifetime and after the death of the planner. (Adams, 2005, p. 15). By definition, it seems to me, that estate planning should be just as important to those with less resources with an eye toward preservation as those with ample funds wishing to reduce taxation of their accumulated wealth for future generations.

Statistics show that approximately 51% of Americans between 55 and 64 years old don’t have a will. Estate planning for those under the age of 35 is virtually nonexistent. One survey found that 32% of respondents would rather get a root canal than plan for their estate.

Estate planning for business owners is not any more important than estate planning for employees, but does entail different concerns. Whether a business owner is a sole proprietorship, the head of a family enterprise, or part owner of an enterprise, estate planning is key to continued financial security to a family when the need arises.

Death of a loved one can be very devastating. When that someone is also the business owner, many problems can come with that lose. Possible solutions include continuation of the business, sale at death, or sale/gift of all or part of the business interest during life.


Adams, K. (2005). The Complete estate planning guide. New York: New American Library.

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