Acorn Do you have an estate plan?  It has been reported that approximately sixty percent of people in the U.S. do not have a will.  Of course having a will is critical if you have children but let’s not forget about another baby – your business.

As the owner of a closely held business much of your wealth may be tied up in the business.  If you have not planned properly you may cause tremendous problems for your heirs.  After paying probate and estate taxes your heirs may also encounter liabilities that were payable upon your death.  All this during a time where the business may have decreased revenues due to your death.

Fortunately proper planning may eliminate many of these problems.  Using buy-sell agreements and trusts are two of the ways that business owners can protect their assets and reduce taxes.

Another important life-goal for business owners is charitable giving.  This week’s Des Moines Business Record has an informative article on available options for starting your own philanthropic legacy

Even if you are young, consider an Acorn Fund through the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation.  For an initial contribution of $1,000 and a commitment of $600 per year until the amount equals $10,000, a young business owner could start their own permanent endowment fund.  And not only do you get the deductions for charitable contributions but you may also be eligible for additional tax credits.

photo on flickr by Norma Desmond