Owners who are personally and emotionally involved in their businesses, including farming operations, often consider what will happen to their businesses, farms and business assets when they are no longer involved. Planning for the disposition of a business is different than estate planning. While many think they are the same process, they are really very different.
Estate planning concerns the transfer of assets, including wealth, of an individual from one individual to another or to an entity, such as a trust, and this occurs only when the person passes away. Ownership of a business and business assets, whether they are tangible or intangible, can be transferred to a legal entity, whenever the owner chooses. The Columbus (NE) Telegram’s article, “Estate planning and business transition quite different,” discusses these two different kinds of transactions.
Business transition is simply the transfer of a business asset or the entire entity from an existing owner who has decided to retire or move on. This usually occurs during the life of the existing owner. However, when a business transfer takes place after the death of the owner, it’s usually part of an existing or implied estate plan or asset transfer process.