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The need for an estate plan for California business owners

In a survey of 513 business owners, it was found that only 70 percent of them have an estate plan. To qualify as having an estate plan, the business owner must have had at least a valid will. Among those who didn't have at least a will, some said that they weren't ready to face their deaths. Others said that they didn't see a need for an estate plan.

Of those who did have an estate plan, many of those plans were more than five years old. This means that they may not be taking advantage of recent changes to federal estate tax laws. In addition, they may have become wealthier since they created the plan or undergone a major life event such as a divorce or the birth of child. Therefore, they may have more to protect in the event of their death.

Those who are familiar with these matters say that it is a good idea to review an estate plan on a regular basis. It may make it easier to make sure that the documents that have been prepared cover those who the testator wishes to benefit. Revising an estate plan as tax laws change and life events occur is the best way to make certain that it adheres to the wishes of the business owner regardless of when he or she may pass on.

Creating an estate plan may make it possible for business owners and other individuals to effectively control their assets after they pass on. An attorney who has experience in the preparation and review of wills and trusts can suggest provisions that may provide a tax-efficient manner in which to pass assets. A proper estate plan may also make it possible to protect minor children and others who the law may not provide for otherwise.

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