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Step 21 – Estate Planning

Succession Planning

Step 21 – Estate Planning

By , October 20, 2023

In the exhilarating journey of exiting your business like a boss, we arrive at a topic that might not be at the top of your list: estate planning. Yet, considering the inevitable course of life, it’s a critical step that ensures your hard-earned assets find their rightful destinations when you’re no longer around. Let’s discuss why estate planning is a vital aspect of your exit strategy.

The Inevitability of the Future

No one likes to dwell on the notion of their mortality. However, the truth remains that life follows its course, and we must prepare for the inevitable. Whether it’s through passing away or facing a health crisis, we need to ensure our assets are protected and allocated according to our wishes.

Certainty of Outcome

Estate planning offers certainty of outcome. It involves crafting a will and estate planning document that clearly dictates what happens to your assets post your absence. This is particularly crucial if you’ve used asset protection structures like trusts, super funds, or companies, as it defines how these assets are managed and who benefits from them.

Navigating Modern Challenges

Today, we face additional challenges such as dementia that could render us legally unable to sign a will or estate plan. It’s not just about planning for death; it’s also about planning for incapacity. This is where powers of attorney come into play, allowing someone else to handle your affairs when you cannot. All these elements – wills, estate plans, powers of attorney – are interconnected and contribute to a comprehensive strategy.

Learning from Past Mistakes

We can draw valuable lessons from unfortunate instances where proper estate planning was overlooked. Imagine having successfully sold your business, receiving a substantial payout, but failing to formalize your estate plan. In a tragic twist of fate, an unforeseen accident claims you. The absence of a will and estate plan leaves your family in a legal and financial predicament, overshadowing an already tragic event.

Given these possibilities, the urgency to draft a solid estate plan cannot be overstated. Seek the expertise of financial advisors and lawyers to guide you through this process. It might involve several steps and a plethora of documents, but the peace of mind knowing that your loved ones are protected and provided for is priceless.

Continuing the ‘Exit Like a Boss’ Journey

Exiting your business isn’t a conclusion, but a transition to the next chapter. It’s about securing your legacy, ensuring that the wealth you’ve accumulated enriches the lives of your family and supports causes close to your heart. The journey continues, and estate planning is a pivotal part of it.

In conclusion, embrace estate planning as a responsible and forward-thinking business owner. It’s a way to protect and provide for your loved ones, preserving the legacy you’ve worked so hard to build. The essence of exiting like a boss extends beyond the sale – it’s about securing your legacy and ensuring a bright future for those you care about.

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Craig West

Craig West

Executive Chairman | Succession Plus

Craig West is a strategic accountant with over 20 years of experience advising business owners. His background as a CPA in public practice has provided invaluable experience in the key issues of concern to business owners.

In March 2014, Craig was appointed Executive Chairman of the SME Association of Australia, Australia’s largest small business organisation representing over 300,000 business owners.

In October 2014, he was awarded the Exit Planner of the Year at the Exit Planning Institute Annual Conference in Texas, USA, due to his innovative development of an exit planning process to help business owners maximise business value and achieve a successful exit.

Craig’s proprietary structure - a Peak Performance Trust - has won the Australia-wide award for the Employee Share Ownership Plan of the year twice in four years.

In November 2018, Craig launched SME Experts in partnership with Mark Bouris’ Mentored on Podcast One and quickly grew the monthly podcast audience to over 26,500 downloads; in October 2019, he released a new podcast focused on medium-sized businesses - Mid-Market Matters.

In July 2021, Craig joined the NSW Committee for STEP (Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners) – focusing on advising families across generations.

Craig has also launched a SaaS platform, Capitaliz (which captures the 21-step process), to assist other advisers internationally deliver advisory services at scale.

In November 2021, Craig was appointed Executive Chairman of NSW Leaders, a business mentoring group for leading NSW businesses.

In July 2022, Craig West received the award of Doctor of Business Administration for his research thesis titled “Examination of the key factors driving business exit options in Australian Small and Medium Enterprises.”

Craig is passionate about encouraging business owners to think strategically, maximise the value of their business and achieve a successful exit.

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