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How important is selecting an executor for business owners?

Most of our Michigan readers probably know that estate plans are very specific to each individual's situation. For instance, a Michigan resident of even modest means will need a will to designate property distribution and appoint guardians for minor children. However, someone with substantial assets may need more than a will. An estate plan for a wealthy person could include a number of different trusts, designed with separate and specific goals in mind. Every person's estate plan will differ depending on who they want to receive their assets and by what means they would like to achieve their goals. A recent article, however, focused on one type of person in particular - business owners.

Business owners may find themselves in the unique situation of not having a particular person in mind to take over their company in the event of their untimely death. Although small businesses remain the backbone of the American economy, far fewer businesses are passed on from one generation to the next nowadays than there used to be. So, what is a business owner to do in this type of situation?

The recent article suggested that the selection of an executor is crucial for a business owner. In the usual probate process the executor of an estate is the person who will marshal assets and personal property, inventory what is and is not present, locate potential heirs and beneficiaries and distribute the estate in accordance with the estate plan. However, for a business owner, the executor may also need to have the authority to make certain financial transactions in order to make sure assets are passed on as they should be. The article pointed out that, in these situations, the executor should not only be a trusted companion, but should also probably be a competent businessperson.

Source:, "Estate planning for every business owner," Kelly Guarino, Oct. 4, 2013

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