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Trust and Estates Attorneys

Role of Probate in Maryland Business Succession

A Maryland probate attorney can assist you after a loved one dies. When an individual dies owning or running a business, it may be helpful to speak with an attorney to help ensure that the business continues to run without interruptions. Price Benowitz LLP has attorneys that handle estate administration and corporate transactions. Both practices can work together to handle probate matters and business succession issues.

Probate is the proving of the decedent’s last will and testament, or the court administration procedures that allow for passing on the assets of a loved one after their death to the heirs or beneficiaries. If an individual dies while owning a business interest and this business interest may be part of his or her probate estate and therefore administered under the probate proceedings.

Business Succession Planning

Business succession planning is the process of creating a plan to preserve a business owner’s interests as a result of a catastrophic event.

Succession planning often includes working with a client to identify leadership within a business to prepare to step in during an emergency. It is important to coordinate an individual’s last will and testament with their business succession plans to ensure that any issues such as the smooth transition of the business, continuation of the actions of the business, liquidity, valuations or transfers of the business are identified and planned for as best as possible.

Price Benowitz LLP has attorneys that handle both estate planning, estate administration and corporate transactions. Both practice groups can work together to handle planning of business succession from both the estate planning side and also the business side.

Importance of a Business Succession Plan

It is essential to coordinate your last will and testament with your business interests so that issues such as smooth transition of the business, liquidity, valuation or transfers of the business are identified and planned for as best as possible whether that is by inclusion in the last will and testament or contemplation in the last will and testament or creating other trusts or vehicles for liquidity to ensure that the business continues.

Business Succession Planning in Probate

Business succession planning like most planning for an individual should occur long before the probate process. In probate, a business succession plan is often enacted as a result of the death of a business owner.

For example, ownership agreements outline that at the date of the death of a partner the remaining partners have the legal right to purchase the deceased partner’s share and such an agreement may affect the liquidity and the timeline of both the estate and business operations.

In addition, for many business owners the business interests may act as the largest part of their personal investment portfolio so it is important to understand how an asset will pass at death, to understand what someone is leaving or how they are providing for their surviving spouse or their children and loved ones.

Post-Death Planning for Probate

Business owners can plan for death, disability or retirement during their lifetime and coordinate business ownership or interests with their overall estate plans. For example, if the majority of business owner’s assets are entangled with their business, it may be advisable for the business owner to ensure that there is adequate liquidity in the estate by using insurance or life insurance trusts to pay any taxes or any estate taxes that may be due and also to provide assets to the eventual surviving family members.

Role of a Maryland Probate Lawyer

Business owners often have unique estate administration issues resulting from individual business interests. Price Benowitz LLP offers both estate administration and corporate transactional services. Hiring a Maryland probate attorney quickly after a business owner passes away may help to ensure that the business continues to operate without any interruptions, payroll is met, projects or contracts are preserved and a plan is made for the transfer of the business.