Estate planning can cover far more than simple liquid assets and real property for New Yorkers. For instance, business owners should consider who they want to take over their companies if they pass away or become incapacitated. People with retirement accounts should make sure that they have designated beneficiaries for those accounts.

Another consideration when making an estate plan is whether the business owner wants to get insurance coverage. Life or disability insurance can be used to provide for dependents if anything unexpected happens to the policyholder. Business owners can also get key person insurance that attaches to their business, which could cover business expenses for whoever takes over. These are just a few ways that business owners can use estate planning to protect assets.

By putting assets into a will or trust fund, the estate owner can keep those assets from being passed on intestate. This is what happens when there is no estate plan in place. The distribution of intestate assets is dictated by state law and typically done in accordance with a decedent’s bloodline and marital status. Therefore, an estate plan should include a business succession plan and a power of attorney, which gives someone else control of the creator’s financial or medical decisions upon incapacitation. These tools can make things significantly easier and less complicated for a business owner’s family and friends.

Before talking to an estate planning attorney, it is a good idea to make a list of all things that could be considered assets and liabilities. This includes assets that may not have monetary value, like family heirlooms. It is also a good idea to speak to anyone who may be included as part of a business succession plan to ensure that they’re on board with everything.