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The Intersection: Estate Planning and Business Succession

Many times what comes over my desk is someone that has done their estate planning OR has an entity for asset protection but there is what I call a "gap"--and that is proactive documents and tips to address sudden changes in business leadership regarding capacity or physical disability.  No one "plans" to be ill or not able to go forward in your "normal" capacity but it happens--sometimes it's temporary and sometimes incapacity isn't. 

There are things you can do as the estate maker and the business owner to bridge that gap.  Here are key business documents: 

  • Bylaws that include a process for replacing a key executive; 
  • Operating Agreement that addresses replacement of members and managers; 
  • Employment Manual with required code of conduct; 
  • Keyman Insurance; 
  • Disability Insurance; 
  • Board and Advisory Committee Authority; 
  • List of all bank accounts with signatory authority and ownership. 

Internal records to provide to your counsel: 

  • List of Attorneys, CPAs, IT personnel; 
  • Financial records including balance sheet and tax returns; 
  • Debt and Option Holders; 
  • Offers to Sell 
  • Board emergency powers and authority in corporate resolution 
  • Schedule of monthly, quarterly and yearly bills 

When you prepared your estate plan you probably prepared some disability documents (if you didn't they should be included as part of your estate plan). 

Here are key disability documents to ensure the company continues to operate (and so does your estate plan): 

  • General power of attorney with specific powers; 
  • Trusts; 
  • Medical power of attorney; (part of the estate plan I prepare)
  • Advance directives; (part of the estate plan I prepare) 
  • Business power of attorney; 
  • HIPAA authorization (part of the estate plan I prepare)
  • Succession Planning with the Operating Agreement (currently exists in the Operating Agreement I prepare) 

If your estate plan or asset protection entity needs review, I would be pleased to assist you to determine additional documentation and procedures to help you bridge the gap.  Law Offices of Gayla K. Austin LLC; telephone is 307.200.1914.  


I offer a consultation over the telephone. I further offer a diagnostic interview in which we will meet in person and go over your documents.