| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury Attorney

Beat the Heat: Smart Ways to Stay Cool This Season

Personal Injury Attorney | Bakersfield, we are officially in a heatwave! While we are used to July being the hottest month of the year, the last week has combined hot temperatures with higher than average humidity resulting in some very uncomfortable outdoor conditions. What’s worse is that the current heatwave will likely be followed by an even hotter heatwave. During these extreme weather conditions, it’s important to take proper precautions to beat the heat. Heatstroke and heat-related injuries can be extremely dangerous. With effects ranging from lethargy to brain damage, heat illnesses left unchecked can escalate quickly. In 2017, 87 people died from exposure to excessive heat. Anyone can be vulnerable to heat illness. However, infants and children up to four years are at the greatest risk. Other risk groups include: People aged 65 and older Individuals who participate in strenuous outdoor sports or activities Those who work in extreme weather conditions People with chronic health conditions or who are taking certain medications Individuals in poor health No one can stay inside all summer. And who would want to? But there are ways to prevent heat-related illnesses and injuries and still have fun outdoors this season. Kern County Public Health has issued the following tips to help you stay cool during these hot, summer days: Never leave infants, children, elderly or pets in a parked car. It can take as little as 10 minutes for the temperature inside a vehicle to rise to levels that can kill. Drink plenty of water even if you are not thirsty. Avoid alcohol.  Avoid outdoor physical exertion during the hottest parts of the day. Reduce exposure to the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when UV rays are strongest and keep physical activities to a minimum during that time. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to cover the face and neck and loose-fitting clothing to keep cool and to protect your skin from the sun. Regularly check on any elderly relatives or friends who live alone. Many may be on medications which increase the likelihood of dehydration. To prevent overheating, use cold compresses, misting, showers and baths. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience a rapid, strong pulse, you feel delirious or have a body temperature above 102 degrees. Wear sunglasses that provide 100 percent UVA and UVB protection. Chronic exposure to the sun can cause cataracts. Liberally apply sunscreen (at least SPF 15) 15 minutes before venturing outdoors and re-apply at least every two hours – sunscreen may reduce the risk of skin cancer. The County of Kern will open Cooling Centers when temperatures are forecasted by the NWS to exceed certain highs. For more information on Cooling Centers hours and locations, click here. By keeping these guidelines in mind when you spend time outside in this extreme heat, you will dramatically reduce your risk of heat-related illness or injury. If you or someone you love has suffered a heat-related injury due to negligence, contact The Personal Injury Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. A personal injury attorney at Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Estate Planning Lawyer

Estate Planning in your 30’s

Estate Planning Lawyer│Estate planning is likely one of the last things on your mind when you are in your 30’s. For most young adults, the end of life seems like a distant concept.  However, many major life developments such as getting married, starting a family, and buying a home begin for people in their 20’s and 30’s.  There is often a misconception that estate planning is only for the wealthy.  In reality, establishing an estate plan has little to do with your net worth.  Instead, think of estate planning as creating a road map for your loved ones to navigate your affairs in the event of an unexpected tragedy. Without your plan in place, your loved ones will not know who will care for you in the event you are incapacitated.  If you are deceased, they will not know who you wanted to be in charge of the management and distribution of your assets, or who you intended to receive those assets.  In many cases, they will be required to open an estate with the probate court, which involves considerable time, effort, and expense.  With a plan, you can ensure loved ones have the peace of mind to know your intentions with respect to the management of your final affairs, and you can ensure that your assets will be dispersed as you would have wanted. Not only will an estate plan now set your loved ones up for success in your passing, but getting an early start with big-picture financials can lead you toward more strategic money management and greater wealth throughout your life. Where to Start Since you are more or less planning for the unexpected in your 30s, the first two items on your estate planning to-do list should be: naming a durable power of attorney and naming a health care power of attorney. Durable Power of Attorney This is a document that appoints someone to manage your financial affairs if you become unable to do so. Should you become incapacitated, your rent or mortgage, phone and utility bills must still be paid. Without a power of attorney, your family will have to go to court to gain access to your accounts. Healthcare Power of Attorney A healthcare power of attorney is appointed to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so. This person will inform medical professionals about how you would like major healthcare decisions to be handled. Your Will or Trust Your total assets, and the type of assets you own, will have bearing on whether you should consider creating a Trust.  At a minimum, a Will is an essential document in any estate plan. Your Will can provide legal rights for someone to manage your estate, and to distribute your assets according to your instructions.  The beneficiaries of your estate will be your closest living relatives if you do not designate otherwise in your Will.   In many cases, this may not be your intended outcome.  For example, if you have a partner but are not yet married, you may wish to name your partner your beneficiary instead of your relatives.  Your Will also enables you to state who will take care of your children if something happens to you. Other Items You should consider a Trust if you have children. Without a trust, children will receive an inheritance in one lump sum on their 18th birthday. With a trust, you can set up parameters about the age and increments that their inheritance becomes available to them. Life insurance, retirement plans and other common financial planning items identify beneficiaries.   It is important to review these designations and identify your beneficiaries ahead of time.  Doing so will save your loved ones a great deal of anguish during an already tragic situation.  Failure to name beneficiaries for these types of accounts and policies often results in the need for the appointment of an administrator for your estate through a probate proceeding.   Fortunately, creating a simple estate plan in your 30’s with an experienced estate planning lawyer shouldn’t take long and will prove invaluable to your loved ones if the unexpected arises. If you or someone you know is interested in discussing your estate planning options, contact the Estate Planning Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. An estate planning lawyer at Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury Lawyer

Safe Celebrating: A Guide to Safely Handling Personal Fireworks

Personal Injury Lawyer | Safe Celebrating: A Guide to Safely Handling Personal Fireworks Contact an experienced Personal Injury Lawyer if you are injured this July 4th while celebrating. They can inform you of your rights. For many Americans, fireworks are synonymous with Independence Day celebrations. Like apple pie and backyard barbeques, lighting a few personal fireworks for the neighborhood kids is a time-honored tradition. With the use of fireworks so ingrained in our idea of July 4th celebrating, it can seem simple and safe pastime to partake in. However, the dangers of fireworks are so threatening that the National Fire Protection Association(NFPA) is firmly opposed to the use of consumer fireworks altogether. Let’s look at the facts: Consumer fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires each year including structure fires, vehicle fires and others. Fireworks related fires account for an average of $43 million in direct property damage. In the month surrounding July 4th, approximately 280 people are seen in emergency rooms across the U.S. for fireworks related injuries. Children younger than 15 account for one-third of fireworks injuries. In at least 10 states, consumer fireworks are restricted or banned completely. Safety organizations like the NFPA, National Safety Council (NSC) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommend that Americans only enjoy fireworks displays that are handled by the pros. If you still feel the need to partake in fourth of July pyrotechnics, be sure to take the following safety precautions to reduce your risk of an Independence Day disaster. Never let children play with fireworks. Sparklers burn at an alarming 1,200 degrees. That’s hot enough to melt some metals. Instead, have adults light sparklers and put on a show for children. Always make sure that you explain the dangers of fireworks to little ones before starting the show. Always keep water nearby. Keep a bucket of water nearby for immediate dowsing if a fire does break out. Have the hose handy should you need more. Put fireworks remains and any malfunctioning fireworks in water before discarding them. Trash can fires can occur from still smoldering pieces. Never use fireworks when impaired by alcohol. If you’ve been celebrating with alcohol, don’t celebrate with fire. Only light fireworks away from people, houses and other flammable materials. As mentioned above, cars and other property are at risk around fireworks. Only light one device at a time and never relight a dud. Make sure to get a safe distance immediately after igniting fireworks and never stand directly over fireworks while lighting them. Store and transport fireworks safely. Never carry fireworks in your pocket where friction can cause them to ignite. Store fireworks in a cool dry place in the home. Never purchase illegal fireworks. M80’s, M100’s, blockbusters and quarter pounders were banned in 1966 but still account for injuries each year. Illegal fireworks will be wrapped in brown paper and will not have consumer warnings clearly displayed on them. This fourth of July, protect your friends and family by establishing strict personal fireworks safety measures at your celebration. You can enjoy the festivities longer if you aren’t making an unnecessary trip to the emergency room. If you, or someone you love has been injured by personal fireworks, contact The Personal Injury Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. A personal injury lawyer at Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Personal Injury Lawyer

Road Trip Safety Checklist

Personal Injury Lawyer│According to the 2019 AAA Travel survey, more than 100 million Americans are planning to take a family vacation this year. Two-thirds of these family travelers will get away from home during the summer, making it a popular time for family road trips. Truly one of the best ways to travel, the time-honored road trip makes the journey just as exciting as the destination. However, child meltdowns, vehicle breakdowns, and car accidents can bring the fun to a screeching halt. The Road Trip Safety Checklist below will ensure that your vacation goes as smoothly as possible. Service Your Vehicle About a week before you set out on the open road, take your vehicle into your local service station for a tune-up. Let them know that you’re planning a road trip. You’ll be asking a lot of your car as you travel in hot weather for several hours every day. Ensure that it has what it needs to function at peak performance. The National Highway Travel Safety Administration(NHTSA) recommends that you service these areas: Battery Lights Belts and Hoses Fluids Wipers Tires Air Conditioning Pack An Emergency Roadside Kit If you’ve performed the above tune-up, it’s not likely that you will be stranded roadside during your trip. However, it’s always a good idea to prepare for even the worst case scenario. Put together an Emergency Roadside Kit that can tackle several needs in a tough situation. Include the below items: Fully charged phone Flashlight First aid kit Jumper cables Tire pressure gauge Jack for changing tires and a tire iron Work gloves Duct tape Jug of water and paper towels for cleanup Windshield washer fluid Food, drinking water and medicines Towels and blankets Map Check That All Child Seats Are Secured You probably installed your child’s car seat long ago. How often do you check to make sure it’s secured tightly in the car? After packing up and moving items into places that are usually unused into your vehicle, car seats can loosen and shift. Take a minute to unhook and reinstall your child seats. Keeping the little ones secured should be one of the highest priorities on your checklist. Make A Plan With Frequent Stops Speaking of those little guys, any parent can tell you that children need regular breaks on long drives. Not only that, but your car will thank you too. Half the fun of a road trip is what you see along the way. So, take advantage of the break time and see some local attractions. Pack a picnic lunch instead of hitting the fast food drive through. Plan your trip and your stops in advance so that you don’t miss any highlights along the way. Share The Road As you probably know, you won’t be the only person road tripping this summer. Motorcycles, bicyclists and even pedestrians will be more present during these warmer months. Although anyone who uses the road shares certain responsibilities to keep everyone safe, these three groups are far more vulnerable without the protection of an enclosed vehicle around them. Use caution, exercise patience, and be mindful when you need to share the road. Stay Alert One of the most important things you should do before any long drive is to get a good night’s sleep. Fatigue can be deadly on a road trip. Being awake and alert will improve not only your mood but also your ability to enjoy the drive. Stay off of cell phones and other screens while driving. Save these activities for the next time you make a pit stop. Fill up while stopped and make a pledge not to eat while driving. Allow another passenger to assist youngsters in the backseat while you keep your eyes, and mind, on the task of driving. If you, or your loved ones, have been hurt in an auto accident, contact The Personal Injury Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. A personal injury lawyer at Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury Lawyer

A Guide to Safe Swimming This Summer Season

Personal Injury Lawyer | With the end of school upon us, neighborhood swimming pools are opening up and welcoming families for another fun, summer season. However, nothing puts a damper on summer plans like an unexpected injury in or around the pool. The American Red Cross has issued some general safety precautions to bring awareness to pool safety and each person’s role in preventing an accident.  As you head into the summer months, familiarize yourself and your family with these safe and healthy swimming behaviors for a longer, more enjoyable season ahead. Follow these safety tips to help your family stay safe in the water during these hot, summer months: Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards or adults that are experienced swimmers. Use the buddy system; do not allow anyone to swim alone. teach children to always ask permission to go near water. Adult supervision at all times. Never leave a young child unattended near water. Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone. Make sure everyone in your family learns to swim well. The City of Bakersfield offers American Red Cross Learn-to Swim lessons. If you have a home pool, secure it with a fence or other appropriate barriers. Many child injuries or deaths around the water occur when the child was out of sight for less than five minutes and in the care of one or both parents at the time. Stay alert! Avoid distractions when supervising children around water. If a child goes missing, check the water first. Seconds count in preventing death or disability. Have appropriate rescue equipment on hand, such as tools capable of reaching or throwing, a cell phone, life jackets, and a first aid kit. Call 9-1-1 immediately if an accident or injury occurs. Protect your skin from the sun. Limit the amount of direct sunlight you receive between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and wear sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15 and reapply regularly. Drink plenty of water regularly, even if you’re not thirsty. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine  that may cause dehydration or impair judgment. Enroll in Red Cross home pool safety, water safety, first aid and CPR/AED courses to learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies. The benefits of swimming are numerous. By remaining alert and proactive about pool safety, your family can enjoy a safe and enjoyable summer break. If someone you know is injured in or around the pool due to another person’s negligence, contact The Personal Injury Lawyers at Young Wooldridge, LLP. A personal injury lawyer at Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.  

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury Lawyer

Understanding Bicycle Hand Signals

Personal Injury Lawyer │Cycling is a fun, engaging, and healthy means of transportation that can be enjoyed by all members of the family. Before you or your loved ones take to the streets on your bikes, it is essential to be informed about the rules of the road for bicycles and other motor vehicles. Since bicycles are considered vehicles and their riders considered drivers, most of the fundamental laws that govern motorists also apply to cyclists. Obeying stop signs and traffic signals, riding with the flow of traffic, and ensuring your bicycle is equipped with lights at night are a few of the rules of the road that cyclists must follow. Other laws vary by state, but all states agree that by adhering to the same standards as motorists, bikers will be safer overall and will be better prepared to handle hazardous traffic situations. One law that keeps cyclists and motorists aware and informed of other drivers’ intentions while on the road is the use of signaling to communicate the vehicle’s intended actions. In a car, truck or on a motorcycle turn signals and brake lights communicate the vehicle’s intentions. For those riding a bicycle on a highway or city street, this communication is equally and sometimes even more critical. Of course, most bikes aren’t equipped with electric turn signals and brake lights. Instead, cyclists use an internationally recognized set of hand gestures to indicate and communicate their intentions on the road. In the U.S., these hand signals are required by law. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides the following descriptions of the three required hand signals: Left Turn Extend your left arm out sideways with all fingers extended or use your index finger to point left. Right Turn Extend your left arm out sideways bent at a 90-degree angle at the elbow joint, hand pointing upward and the palm of the hand facing forward. Alternative Right Turn: Extend your right arm out straight with all fingers extended or use your index finger to point right. Stopping or Slowing Extend your left arm or right arm sideways and bend your arm at a 90-degree angle at the elbow joint, hand pointing downwards and the palm of your hand facing backward. Since there is no barrier between a cyclist and the road, they are far more vulnerable if involved in a traffic accident. By using the required hand signals, cyclists keep themselves and others on the road safe and minimize the likelihood of an accident. For motorists, having a clear understanding of the cyclist hand signals can prevent deadly accidents from occurring. If you, or someone you know, has been injured while riding a bicycle, contact a Personal Injury Lawyer. The Personal Injury Lawyers at Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury Lawyer

Keeping Your Child Safe On The Playground

Personal Injury Lawyer | Keeping Your Child Safe On The Playground The Playground is an exciting place. It gives children an adventurous place to play and use their imagination while providing an opportunity for teachers, parents and caregivers to let kids spend pent up energy in a productive and creative way. Little bodies, brains and social skills are hard at work when on the playground. To guarantee many more years of healthy playground play in the future for your children, it is important to keep your child safe on the playground. Think about the following tips next time you and your little one hit the playground. Playground Equipment Only Between 2001 and 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Commission investigated 40 deaths associated with playgrounds. Twenty-seven deaths were related to strangulation, often involving a foreign object or object from home. Drawstrings, pet leashes and jump ropes do not mix well with playground equipment. Leave these items in the car or at home and make sure to dress appropriately. Ensure Protective Surfaces The asphalt and concrete playground surfaces of the old days are gone. Or at least they should be. Falls account for 44% of playground injuries. Falls from playground equipment can lead to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Play in areas with impact absorbing surfaces like pea gravel, wood chips, sand or rubber. Quick Safety Inspections Doing a quick safety check when you arrive at the playground can go a long way. Make sure any heights have appropriate railings or enclosures. Encourage kids to go down the slide feet first and always monitor children on monkey bars. Thirty-six percent of injuries are attributed to monkey bars alone. Make sure children under four play on age-appropriate equipment and know to never run in front of swings. Explain the Right Way to Play Before stepping onto the playground, remind children of the safest playground behavior. Let them know that doing cartwheels from heights, running up a slide and swinging on their belly can turn bad quickly. Encourage kids to use the playground as it was intended to avoid scrapes, bangs and bruises or worse. The playground is an excellent place to watch your little one blossom. Take some time to make yourself aware of playground dangers so that your family can continue to enjoy the freedom and fun a playground offers. If you someone you know was injured on a playground, contact a Personal Injury Lawyer at Young Wooldridge, LLP. A personal injury lawyer can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Personal Injury Lawyer

Highway Work Zone Safety Awareness 

Personal Injury Lawyer | Highway Work Zone Safety Awareness  Every spring in the U.S. we observe National Work Zone Awareness Week. Since 2000, when the first national event was held in Springfield, Virginia, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) have worked together to bring awareness to motorists about highway and road worker safety. Many other national, state and local agencies participate in events countrywide. A work zone is an area on our roads and highways where construction is taking place. It can involve reduced speed limits, detours, large equipment and lane closures. Road improvements and construction are conducted most often during the warmer months of spring and summer. That means that as Americans take to the road for vacation and as young drivers are out of school for the summer, there is an increased risk to the road workers as well as those drivers. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, three fatalities occur each day in highway construction areas. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports 61,000 injuries from work zone crashes in 2016. Work zone tragedies don’t only affect workers. Four out of five work zone deaths are drivers or passengers. By being aware, alert and cautious, every motorist can help prevent work zone accidents. Work Zone Safe Driving Tips Below are some tips from the California Department of Transportation when navigating highway work zones. Do not speed in work zones; obey the posted work zone speed limits. Expect the unexpected and stay alert. Drive carefully, always watching for workers. Don’t change lanes unnecessarily. Stay off the phone. Turn on headlights so that workers and other drivers can see you. Be especially alert at night while driving in work zones. Expect delays, especially during peak travel times. Allow ample space between you and the car in front of you. Anticipate lane shifts, and merge when directed to do so. Be Patient! If you someone you know has suffered injury from a work zone related crash, contact The Personal Injury Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. A personal injury lawyer at Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Personal Injury Lawyer

How Can You Help End Distracted Driving?

Personal Injury Lawyer | Help End Distracted Driving  Distracted driving is an ever-increasing risk on roads all across the country. Americans lead busy lives and have more and more technology that helps them manage these lives. Multitasking is an encouraged skill in our culture. Unfortunately, there’s at least one place where multitasking can become deadly: in your car. In 2017, distracted driving was attributed to at least 8.5% of crash fatalities– 3,166 people. This staggering statistic moves most of us to learn more about the problem and what we can do to help end distracted driving. An experienced Personal Injury Lawyer can inform you of your rights if you or someone you know has been injured by a distracted driver. The auto industry continues to produce vehicles with more connectivity than ever before, effectively making multitasking the accepted norm when behind the wheel. However, doctors are now learning that the human brain does not actually have the ability to perform two cognitively demanding tasks at the same time. Multitasking is a myth. Instead of performing two tasks at once, the brain actually switches back and forth between tasks. Each task is then completed at decreased performance rates. Thankfully, the distracted driving epidemic has been brought to our attention and campaigns across the country aim to snuff it out. Public awareness is getting better and you may have already made a pledge to refrain from distracted driving. There is still more that can be done. You may not realize that even when you aren’t behind the wheel, there are ways in which you are contributing to the unsafe, and in some states illegal, habits of your friends and loved ones. So What Can I Do? If you see or suspect someone of distracted driving, start by talking to them. Explain the risks they face and tell them how you feel about their habits. If you are in the vehicle with a distracted driver and feel unsafe, ask them to pull over and stop. If you, yourself are driving distracted, remember that you are not only risking your life and the life of your passengers but everyone else on the road. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) gives us these tips for managing distracted driving: Switch Off and Stow Away Before starting your car, turn your phone to silent and then stow it somewhere out of reach. Record a Driving Message When you’re on the road, record a message that tells other callers as much and explain that you will return their call when you have safely exited your vehicle. Pull Over If you absolutely must make a call en route, pull over to do it. Find a safe area off of the main road to stop and make the phone call. Use Your Passengers Ask a passenger to make the call for you. Passengers can be your co-pilot to find directions on the GPS and to respond to text messages. “X the Text” Never text, read email or surf the web while driving. Prepare Before you leave, set your GPS or thoroughly read printed directions. If you need to change course, pull over to reset your navigation devices. Properly Secure Pets and Children Make sure that all passengers who require your assistance are properly fastened into the vehicle before you set out. If they have needs that need tending, pull over to a safe place before attempting to help them. Decline the Call If someone is calling you when you know them to be driving, do not answer. If they are texting, wait until you know they have stopped to respond. Maintaining your focus on driving is essential. Reading, smoking, eating and drinking are all deadly tasks that can cause far more than a fender bender. When drivers engage in these activities they put everyone on the road at risk. If you or someone you know was injured by a distracted driver, contact a Personal Injury Lawyer at Young Wooldridge, LLP. A personal injury lawyer can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.

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| Read Time: 3 minutes | Estate Planning Attorney

Estate Planning Attorney | Estate Planning Tips for Small Business Owners

An experienced Estate Planning Attorney can inform you of your options if you or a small business owner that you know needs help with their estate planning.  Starting with your initial idea, building and owning a business can be an exciting venture from day one. Developing a proper business plan, securing financing, marketing, paying taxes and all of the other small, but significant, details will surely be some of the most challenging yet rewarding work that you will perform in your lifetime. But have you ever thought about the role you will play in your business after your life is over? Developing a comprehensive estate plan provides a well-developed plan to ensure that your life’s work survives even after you pass. As a small business owner, you spend an incredible amount of time working to establish and grow your business throughout your life. It seems only reasonable that you should take the time to create a plan for your business upon your death. When talking to your estate planning attorney, consider these tips for your business: Avoid Exorbitant Taxes Upon death, the IRS may claim estate taxes on all assets of your estate. Reviewing your personal and business assets as part of a comprehensive estate plan can help minimize the tax exposure of your estate and facilitate the an organized transition or sale of the business. To avoid taxes, there are various IRS sections that can help. One section, Section 6166, will allow your loved ones more time to pay the tax by paying the estate tax in 10 annual installments. Another, Section 303, will allow your family to redeem your stock with very little tax penalties. You should talk to your family about these tax sections and determine if your business will be eligible. Creating a plan and instructions for your survivors will help them to navigate these filings.  Create a Buy-Sell Agreement If your business is owned by more than one person, a buy-sell agreement dictates how the partnership or LLC will be distributed upon one owner’s death or incapacitation. Without one, family members may be stuck owning a business they do not want, and partners may be forced to work with people they did not intend. A buy-sell agreement puts in place a plan that when an owner passes, their shares must be bought out by the other owners at a fair market price. These agreements can even establish a sale price so that family members know what they can expect to receive from the sale. In a buy-sell agreement, you can also block certain individuals from having a role in the business. Purchase a Life Insurance Policy It is possible that you have no intention of your business surviving after your passing. Referred to as owner-dependent businesses, some small businesses provide a stable income for the owner, however, there is not a lot of money reinvested in the business and exponential growth is not the intent. If you depend on your business for income and you have a family, when you pass, that income will be gone. A term life insurance policy can serve as income replacement for your family. Additionally, a life insurance policy or irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) can help your partners with the capital they might need to purchase your shares if you have a buy-sell agreement. As a small business owner, you owe it to your family and your business to make plans for your passing. Dealing with their loss will be complicated enough without navigating the intricacies of small business taxes and sales. Discuss your options with an experienced estate planning attorney and leave your legacy the way you would want it. If you or someone you know is a small business owner, contact The Estate Planning Department at Young Wooldridge, LLP. An estate planning attorney at Young Wooldridge, LLP can inform you of legal options you may not know you have.  

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