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Specializing in Estate Planning for Business Owners

At BFP we specialize in estate planning for business owners. We are business owners ourselves so we understand the unique challenges. Most business owners spend 100% of their time working in the business and don’t have time to step back and take an overhead view of what they have accumulated and what will happen to, in most cases, their largest asset if they are no longer around. The process of estate planning is the same as financial planning in that there are a few main steps you go through:

  • Where are you now?  We prepare a snapshot of your current financial situation, net worth, income, cash flow.  We work with you and your accountant to understand what is the value of your business?   Who owns the shares?  What is the cost base of those shares so we can do an estimate of the tax payable at either your death or the later death of you and your spouse?   Is there a shareholder agreement in place for the business?  What does your will say?  An extremely important question that we can help you answer is how much is enough?  You have to first of all make sure that you are taken care of and a plan is in place to give you the income you need assuming you live a long and healthy life, the balance is the excess assets that we want to make sure goes where you want them to in the best way to maximize their value.
     
  • What do you want to have happen at your death?  Who will own the shares – both in terms of value and control?  What will the tax bill be, and how will that be paid?  If you have children that will eventually inherit the shares will they inherit the shares equally, or will one or two get shares while their sibling(s) get cash or another equivalent value asset?  These are hard questions but if they are handled properly while you are around they can save your family from potentially very real sources of conflict and maximize what you have spent a lifetime building.
     
  • How to get there?  In a lot of cases we end up managing the process for you like a general contractor does when you build a house.  We work with your accountant and lawyer, or if you don’t have one we can recommend one for you, and put together a plan from conception to implementation.   We understand the tools that can be used such as trusts, holding companies, estate freezes, life insurance, and work with the other professionals to put the plan together with whatever tools make sense.  Building a long term plan for your long term wealth. 

 

 

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