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Can you protect business assets with estate planning?

You can protect all types of assets with the right estate planning, but how you go about securing those assets depends on a variety of factors. You'll need to know who you want to pass on assets to, what your goals for retirement and legacy are and what type of access you might need to your assets in the future. By working with an experienced business law and estate attorney, you can put these goals into action via a will, trusts and other estate planning tools.

Trusts are one way you can protect investment or business assets in the future, but you do have to be careful that you don't lock yourself into a situation that doesn't work well in the future. Depending on the type of trust you set up, it can be very difficult to undo your choices, which is why working with someone who knows the ropes is critical for success. You might want to set up a living trust, which is a trust that can be active and functional while you are still alive. You can make this trust revocable or irrevocable -- both have benefits and drawbacks, so it's a good idea to work with a professional to understand what options are right for you.

A will is another important tool for protecting your assets, including your business. You can use your will to specify how your business or associated assets will be distributed among your heirs, but make sure that what you put in your will is inline with any business succession planning you do. Training someone to take your place only to leave the business to someone else entirely can set your family and heirs up for lengthy probate battles or hard feelings.

Source: Investor Junkie, "4 Basic Steps of Estate Planning to Protect Your Investment Assets," accessed Jan. 20, 2017

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