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Business owners: Focus more on planning, less on taxes

Steve Parrish, a contributor on business topics for Forbes, thinks that too many business owners are failing to see the forest for the trees.

Put another way: To their ultimate financial peril, many planners are focusing unduly on tax avoidance rather than on the larger and more general matter of implementing a sound and comprehensive estate plan.

To be sure, Parrish is not advising business owners in Texas or elsewhere to forgo a thorough analysis of and response to business-related taxes that might ultimately loom large in estate planning. He is simply saying that unduly focusing on tax issues makes for a rather narrow and parochial planning approach and that a broad and all-encompassing focus should centrally mark estate planning considerations.

Look at the overall plan, counsels Parrish, and avoid getting hung up on things like estate taxes. Doing the former will take care of the latter, whereas strongly focusing on the latter might result in substantial estate planning benefits being lost.

“Instead of focusing on what’s aggravating [estate taxes and other ways in which federal and state authorities might seek to wrest wealth away from a business following an owner’s death], it focuses on what’s important,” says Parrish in counseling a well-constructed estate plan.

Again, the point: Getting a proven estate planning attorney with a wealth of experience counseling business clients on board early can help a business owner see that above-cited forest and not get distracted by discrete issues that undermine focus on overall goals.

Crafting a solid estate plan will ensure that all relevant considerations are considered, including strategies for mitigating or eliminating tax outlays. An inverse focus on narrow objectives cannot ensure that same and salutary result.

Source: Forbes, “Worry about your estate plan, not the taxes,” Steve Parrish, July 1, 2014

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