“WHILE WE’RE YOUNG!” – Ten Reasons Not to Procrastinate Your Estate Planning or Business Succession Planning

“Good habits formed at youth make all the difference. “  - AristotleHave you seen the United States Golf Association’s recent advertising campaign to speed up play?   The ads depict various famous golfers including Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods in situations where slow play is being admonished by someone exclaiming: “While we’re young!”  The line was made famous by Rodney Dangerfield’s character Al Czervik in the classic golf movie Caddyshack.  Czervik was upset that Judge Smails (played by the great Ted Knight) is taking forever to tee off from the first tee.  My favorite has to be the Tiger Woods spot.As I saw one of these commercials the other day it struck me that “While we’re young!” is also good advice when it comes to estate planning and business succession planning.  People often assume that planning is something you do late in life and therefore put it off until tomorrow.  The reality is the family of an older retired individual may well be in a better position to afford the problems that result from a lack of planning than a younger family.   Here are ten reasons to engage in estate planning or business succession planning – “While we’re young!”10.  Better rates on life insurance – life insurance may be needed to fund a business buy-out or provide income to a surviving spouse or children.  If you wait too long it may not be available or it may be much more expensive.9.  Minor children – plan for who will take care of them.8.  Minor children part II – avoid the complexities that come when minors are placed in ownership of assets, including business interests.7.  Fire sale of business assets.  Are you the business' most valuable asset?  Put a plan in place to avoid the need for immediate liquidation of assets just to pay debts.  Buy your surviving spouse or the other owner(s) time through key person insurance to keep the business viable and running in your absence.6.  Re-marriage protection – avoid a loss of assets or complications to the business in the event your surviving spouse re-marries.5.  Estate taxes – taxes don’t just apply to the elderly.  Put in place a plan to maximize each spouse’s estate tax exemption.4.  Disability – if you become disabled, what happens to your business?  What happens to your family?  The younger and healthier you are, the better rates you will receive for disability insurance.3.  Divorce – Nobody wants it, but the reality is it happens 50% of the time.  Is there a plan for your business in the event of the divorce of one of the owners?2.  Disagreements – opportunity seemingly exists at every turn for disagreement in a business.  Put in place a plan that will help minimize the likelihood of disputes because agreements have been made, not in the heat of a battle, but in advance when people are still getting along.1.  Death - we just don’t know when it is going to happen.  Planning not to die has never really worked.  We hope for the best, but plan for the worst.  The impact of the unplanned death of a young father or mother can be significantly more impactful to the long term well being of the family than the death of the 90+ year old patriarch or matriarch.Whether it is a will, a trust, a buy-sell agreement, life insurance, disability insurance or some other planning tool that is needed, estate planning and business succession planning are not just for seasoned citizens.  Planning is important at all stages of life.  So get it taken care of – “WHILE WE’RE YOUNG!”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTn-eoXDCkwYou can check out the USGA ad spots here: http://www.usga.org/MicroSite.aspx?id=21474856307