Integrating Business Planning and Estate Planning for Entrepreneurs

For many small business owners, the lines between business assets and personal finances can be easy to blur, sometimes with highly unfortunate results. If you don't keep business and personal assets and liabilities strictly separate through proper organization and registration, personal assets can be reached to satisfy contract, tort or tax liabilities of the business.

Contact the Salt Lake City business formation attorneys at Alder Law Group, P.C., for a free consultation about your options for shielding personal assets from business liabilities. We can also show you how estate planning tools can strengthen your business and protect its smooth operation.


The first step is to choose the form under which you want to organize and operate your enterprise. Business entity selection decisions should be guided by several factors: your management style, the composition of your equity group if you're not going it alone, the importance of tax considerations in your situation, your level of capitalization, the nature of the risks you're assuming, and your goals for future growth.

These factors will affect your choice from among S corporation, C corporation, sole proprietorship, general partnership or limited liability company (LLC). In certain industries, such as real estate, it makes sense to plan for multiple corporations or LLCs to shelter important assets from the risks that other assets might be exposed to.

Our attorneys can then help you document the basic agreements that will add substance and protection to your basic organizational structure. These can include operating agreements, shareholder agreements, buy-sell agreements, key person insurance, or even prenuptial or postnuptial agreements to insulate business assets from division in a divorce settlement.

For family-operated businesses, a combination of business formation documents and estate planning tools can define management or ownership succession within a family, or trigger sale or buyout options under certain defined circumstances. A family business trust can keep operations proceeding smoothly within a family upon the death of a founding proprietor, which can be especially important for a family farm or ranch.

Our attorneys also advise families about such assets as recreational property or family cabins that can otherwise generate problems after the death of a parent. We can work with you to help define your interests and your goals, which can then be expressed in an enforceable agreement.

For additional information about the relationship between business planning and estate planning in Utah, contact a Salt Lake City business formation attorney at Alder & Robb for a free consultation.

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