Succession Plans Versus Estate Plans: What Is the Difference?

Every person, regardless of their age or how many assets they own, should have an individual estate plan. If that person also owns or co owns a business, however, further planning is required to cover all the most important issues in that person’s estate. In those cases, both an individual estate plan and a strategic succession plan help to cover key issues and concerns.

If you own a company, it is important to have both a personal estate plan as well as a succession plan for the business. Estate plans help to pass along assets or things. If you’re primarily concerned about passing on physical items associated with the business, the building itself or the value of stock in the company, estate planning should be sufficient.

But if you intend for the company to live beyond you, it is important to have a succession plan. A succession plan documents who will be responsible for what and the process by which you will train this next generation of leaders. In some cases, the generation of leaders for the future may already be working in your company but could require advanced training and support to get to a level of comfort. In other cases, you may need to bring in outside talent or begin working on promoting and training the talent in house.

The succession plan is there to help support the future of your business when something happens to you. Your estate plan is more about liquidating many of the assets inside your estate to pay creditors and debts before transitioning them on to beneficiaries.

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