Estate Planning Checklist

Considering your own mortality is never a pleasant task, but it is necessary to assist both your family and your business to transition after you’re gone. One way to plan ahead is to work with an experienced estate planner. He or she will provide a list of the information you’ll need to gather so the paperwork necessary to effectuate your wishes can be developed. Your advisor will request many documents some of which are: Wills of both spouses Power of Attorney Directive to Physician Community property agreement Transfer to minor account information Trusts Tax returns Birth and marriage certificates Divorce decrees with settlement information Employee benefits statements Loans information Vehicle registrations Bank and brokerage statements Insurance policies Excerpt from Exit Insight: Getting to “Sold,” pp. 163 Copyright © 2014 by Joseph M. Maas. All rights reserved. There are many more steps needed to prepare an appropriate estate plan, but this checklist will get you started. Have questions about estate planning? The financial planning experts at Synergetic Finance can help. Call us today at 206-275-5455 for a complimentary consultation....

Why Do I Need A Business Valuation?

Whether you own a start-up business or a seasoned enterprise, your business must be evaluated to determine its value today as represented by its future economic benefits. You can see that the valuation of your business can quickly become complicated, and is even further compounded by the multitude of lenses through which the valuation can be measured. Should your business valuation be conducted using the income method, or the market or asset methods? Which one of these methods is the best choice for your circumstances? How do such influences as economic trends, industry factors, regulations, competition, and intangibles affect the value of your business? This is why you will need the advice of a person professionally trained in business valuation, such as a Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA). While certainly not an easy task to complete, trained professionals who know how to work closely with you to identify the financial strength of your business will expertly guide the valuation process to the best conclusion for your purposes. What is your purpose? What is the reason for your business valuation? We call this ‘defining the engagement’, and like most first steps, it sets up the subsequent pathway of our work together… this is the first important detail. Among the more common reasons for conducting a business valuation: Selling or acquiring a business Establishing or updating a buy/sell agreement Bringing in a new partner or new investor Establishing an estate tax planning or gifting tax planning strategy Settling a divorce Liquidating a business Considering providing stock options Preparing for buying new or more insurance Buying out a partner Seeking business financing Establishing...

What’s An Exit Plan Got To Do With It? Part 2

It is widely agreed by Baby Boomer business owners that a clearly written and current exit plan is important, but only one in 10 owners have one! On top of that, most businesses aren’t even ready for sale because they are flawed in ways that make them unattractive to the market. It’s much like trying to sell your home. You have to fix the leak under the sink, repair the fence in the backyard, prune the apple tree, and replace the tile on the kitchen counter before a buyer will consider a purchase. It’s the same with your business; only then can you expect to achieve your sale, and hopefully your retirement security. Most business owners who sell their business soon regret their decision; they believe they did not receive the full value of their business, or their timing was poor, or they didn’t realize they had more options, or did not receive good advice. They suffer seller’s remorse and wish they could go back in time and sell their company again, and they would prepare more thoroughly and be better rewarded for the years of hard work they invested. Can you imagine the disappointment of these owners? Years of labor with only a portion of their dream fulfilled? Watching their business die, or selling for only part of what is needed? This is a heart breaking situation and is fast becoming an unavoidable reality for the tens of thousands of business owners who will soon be offering their company to an unresponsive marketplace in the next five to 10 years. Time is a commodity, and for many owners...

What’s An Exit Plan Got To Do With It? Part 1

Have you planned an exit date? Have you planned a successor? Some quick research on the Internet will quickly reveal the odds are about 9:1 you have not yet done these two essential tasks for accelerating and securing your financial success. You’re in for a tumultuous experience if you’re thinking about selling your business in the next five to ten years. The Baby Boomers, and you may be one of them, will soon be trying to sell their businesses as they approach retirement. The first of these Boomers are now in their early to mid-60s, and will soon want to cash out and enjoy the next 20 years or so. The situation is, however, there will be a glut of businesses for sale resulting in the likelihood of more supply than demand. It is very probable that most business people seeking retirement will be unable to sell their business at a price equaling the cash flow they are now able to draw from their business, which means they are stuck and have to continue working to maintain their current lifestyle, maybe for the rest of their lives. An added complication is that there are likely to be even more businesses for sale than would normally be anticipated for a Baby Boomer retirement wave. Because of the economic setbacks due to the recent lengthy recession, retirement timing for many was delayed, and these businesses, that should have already been placed for sale, have been in abeyance and may be added to the already extraordinary number of businesses soon coming to the block. This circumstance will unquestionably have a deleterious effect...