May 16, 2016

This Blog Has Nothing To Do With The Glass Business—You Better Read It Anyway

By Paul Bieber

After watching all the news about the tragic death of Prince, I was saddened. He certainly was a musical talent. But not so smart when it came to planning for the future. He left no will, no sure path to see that his affairs would be managed the way he would have wanted. I am betting that 30-40 percent of my readers are in the same category. Read on.

None of us are planning to die. We are all active in work, we are able to feed ourselves and be smart enough not to wear one brown sock with one black sock. The main reason people don’t have wills is that it puts death on the table in front of them. Get over it. It is by far easier for you to lose a night’s sleep working a plan than it is for your wife/husband, your kids and your employees to be in the middle of an expensive and time-consuming legal dog and pony show. If you have a previous spouse or kids living with that spouse, they are going to want their share of the pie. Old employees will suddenly pop up because they are owed money if the company gets sold.

The A#1 question is: who is going to run the company and what is the course to take? Who is authorized to do the hire?  What are the criteria?

If you are in a partnership talk with your insurance company to create a policy that will be the equivalent of a buy out, and your family and the survivor partner will be happy. You need to speak with a professional to prepare everything. Every state is different, so don’t copy Uncle Joe’s will from a state 500 miles away. After you do talk with an experienced estate planning firm, they should give you a questionnaire to fill out asking hundreds of questions about yourself and your long-term plans for the company and your family. They will then craft the will to fit your desires.

When I received this questionnaire from my attorney a long time ago, I was totally flummoxed on the depth of this. The ten or so hours I spent on this were worth it. It forced us to come up with solid plans for my estate and for our kids. 

So, make a promise to yourself to do this. I don’t know if any of you have $500 million in song royalties, but you do have an active business that should be able to continue after you have died.