Thursday, August 7, 2014

Paper It! Or, Why It Matters to Have Business Certificates

Many people set up business entities for a variety of reasons, whether it's managing an entity that provides goods a services, planning for estate tax, limiting liability, or all of the above. The first step in setting up a business is to meet with an attorney to make sure you're meeting all the formalities to get the most protection for both the entity and your personal affairs.

A common step that is written out of the creation of many entities is a share or membership certificate. Many people, including attorneys think certificates (think a fancy piece of paper that looks like something Mr. Moneybags would have in a safe) are really only for the Wall Street big boys and not the mom and pop shops. It may seem old fashioned, but having a certificate is an important step to minimize the need for probate.

Why? You can list a payable on death designation on the certificate itself that says who receives your share upon your death. This makes your interests in the business automatically transfer without the need for probate. If you have a business, let your estate planner know so you can make sure it's ready to be properly addressed at your death.

(photo credit: 
Thanks Mike for allowing creative commons 2.0 use of your pic!)