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Happy Birthday Estate Tax!

Bigstock-Person-Hand-Using-Calculator-W-89423339One of the more controversial federal tax provisions recently reached a significant milestone. The estate tax is now 100 years old.

Once a tax becomes a century old, it might seem reasonable to assume that everyone agrees that it is a good thing. However, that is certainly not true of the estate tax.

Its existence is likely to play a role in the 2016 Presidential election, just as it has in every recent Presidential election. Republicans continue to call for the abolition of the estate tax, while Democrats ask that it be strengthened.

The two sides could not be further apart on the issue.

Republicans believe the tax hinders small business and family farmers, while Democrats believe the tax is important for revenue and to mitigate wealth inequality.

Forbes reported on the estate tax’s birthday in a recent article, “Estate Tax Hits 100th Birthday And Paul Carron Calls For Many Happy Returns.”

Whatever your own thoughts are on the estate tax, it might be worthwhile to reflect on what it means that it has been with us for 100 years. It could mean that once a law is in place, even a bad law, that it is very difficult to get rid of it. It could also mean that the estate tax has become an integral part of our society.

The two ideas are not mutually exclusive.

It is possible that in another hundred years, Americans will still be debating over the estate tax and whether it should exist at all. We do know that this is an issue that is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.

For more information about estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: Forbes (September 15, 2015) “Estate Tax Hits 100th Birthday And Paul Carron Calls For Many Happy Returns.”

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Planning Your Family Business Legacy / York, PA

MP900422638These two experiences taught me a lesson about family businesses. Making a family business a family legacy takes planning and preparation. While each family business has its own unique issues, there are some common strategies associated with succession planning.

Sometimes, passing along your assets to the next generation is simply a matter of passing them along. You just let the gift and the potential represented by that gift be your legacy (emphasis on the “sometimes”). However, when the asset is a business, it is rarely that simple.

A business is not merely a thing. No, a business is a mindset, an activity and, oftentimes, even a lifestyle. It can get complicated. If your legacy is the family business, then with great responsibility comes the need for equally careful planning, preparation and dialogue.

Because every business is different, as every family is different and every individual is unique, what is right for a family business is something to be figured out and understood. That said, businesses have been coming and going for generations. Some have transferred successfully and others less so. Consequently, there are some tried and true strategies to consider when planning for your own family business succession.

Whether your objective is a sale, windup or succession, Forbes has provided a practical roadmap in a recent article titled “Six Steps For Making Your Business A Family Legacy.

Here are the six steps by heading alone:

  1. Give the family a reason to continue the family business
  2. Develop a management team
  3. Structure a business succession plan
  4. Fund the business succession plan
  5. Wealth replacement for other family members
  6. Have a successful business

So what is right for you, your family and your business? I recommend reading the original article and then consulting with your team of professional advisors. Your attorney, accountant, financial planner and insurance agent will each bring a valuable and unique skill set to the table.

For more information about planning your family business legacy, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: Forbes (February 3, 2014) “Six Steps For Making Your Business A Family Legacy

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Planning Your Family Business Legacy in York, Pennsylvania

Bigstock-Extended-Family-Outside-Modern-13915094These two experiences taught me a lesson about family businesses. Making a family business a family legacy takes planning and preparation. While each family business has its own unique issues, there are some common strategies associated with succession planning.

Sometimes, passing along your assets to the next generation is simply a matter of passing them along. You just let the gift and the potential represented by that gift be your legacy (emphasis on the “sometimes”). However, when the asset is a business, it is rarely that simple.

A business is not merely a thing. No, a business is a mindset, an activity and, oftentimes, even a lifestyle. It can get complicated. If your legacy is the family business, then with great responsibility comes the need for equally careful planning, preparation and dialogue.

Because every business is different, as every family is different and every individual is unique, what is right for a family business is something to be figured out and understood. That said, businesses have been coming and going for generations. Some have transferred successfully and others less so. Consequently, there are some tried and true strategies to consider when planning for your own family business succession.

Whether your objective is a sale, windup or succession, Forbes has provided a practical roadmap in a recent article titled “Six Steps For Making Your Business A Family Legacy.

Here are the six steps by heading alone:

  1. Give the family a reason to continue the family business
  2. Develop a management team
  3. Structure a business succession plan
  4. Fund the business succession plan
  5. Wealth replacement for other family members
  6. Have a successful business

So what is right for you, your family and your business? I recommend reading the original article and then consulting with your team of professional advisors. Your attorney, accountant, financial planner and insurance agent will each bring a valuable and unique skill set to the table.

For more information about Estate Planning & Business Succession, please visit the website.

Reference: Forbes (February 3, 2014) “Six Steps For Making Your Business A Family Legacy

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