Business Succession Planning For the Future

No business owner wants to see his or his company fall due to an unforeseen event or conflict, especially after countless years of hard work and sacrifice spent building the company. Pandemics, retirements, accidents, and untimely deaths can wreak havoc on business operations and families if succession plans have not been made. Business succession planning helps to protect the present, while preparing for the future. Crafting a path to accomplish shared goals between shareholders, family, and the business itself can save money and prevent future headaches for all parties involved.

There are several factors that business owners should consider when addressing their business succession plan:

  • Survival and growth of assets
  • Maintaining enterprise value
  • Family protection
  • Tax ramifications
  • Future visions for the business
  • Continuity for clients and employees
  • Employee ownership in the business
  • Development of leadership skills
  • Potential growth of the business

Creating a business succession plan helps a business avoid scrambling to keep their doors open and ensures the business owner’s family is provided for and the business thrives into the future. It also relieves stress and financial burdens in the case of an emergency. Succession planning can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be. Having a team of experts, including a CPA and an attorney, provide guidance on business succession planning can ensure that your business and personal interests are protected. Let Lynn Jackson help you. Contact Kraig Kronaizl at

Signing documents during COVID-19

During these times of national uncertainty, we want our former, current, and future clients to know that the attorneys at Lynn, Jackson, Shultz & Lebrun, P.C., are committed to serving our clients with any legal assistance they may need. The social distancing guidelines enacted by the CDC do prevent us from meeting with clients in person to address their needs and while it has always been preferred to meet in person, we have taken the necessary steps to ensure that our clients still receive the best legal service.

With the current state of affairs, we start by “meeting” with clients via teleconference or online videoconference meetings to discuss their legal needs. If a client’s specific needs involve drafting a contract or estate planning documents, we will email or mail a draft of the documents to the clients for review upon completion, and simultaneously schedule a follow-up teleconference to be sure the client’s questions and/or concerns are addressed prior to a brief appointment to finalize the same.

While taking every precaution for your safety and ours, we have been willing to meet clients in our parking lot for execution of legal documents. Within 24 hours prior to execution, we ensure that the attorney, witnesses (if necessary), and clients are healthy and taking the proper precautions according to the CDC guidelines. We keep contact with each other to a minimum. If possible, execution of documents is done outside of the office with the client remaining in his/her vehicle or other location outside of the office and all parties maintaining recommended distance away from each other in accordance with the CDC social distancing guidelines. In order to avoid any unnecessary contact, we pass the documentation to the clients in an envelope with stickers identifying where they need to sign.

Over the last several weeks, I have met with many clients to assist with execution of estate planning and other legal documents requiring a notary public. Because many of us have family members who may be susceptible to COVID-19, we take extra precautions by wearing masks during each conference. I have also taken extra steps by wearing medical gloves and a bandana covering my face during these conferences. While I may look like I’m about to rob a train in the Old West, I have peace of mind that my staff and my clients will be safe. Allowing clients the ability to execute documents in this manner also ensures that the clients are assured that Lynn Jackson truly cares about their health and safety.

Attorneys from Lynn Jackson have also taken other steps to address execution of legal documents. Where appropriate, we have inserted additional language into contracts that authorizes the use of electronic signing such as DocuSign for contracts that do not require notarization. With regard to documents that require notarization, South Dakota law authorizes notarization by means of communication technology, but with some limitations. See SDCL 18-1-11.1 and the blog posted by my colleague, Brian Baczwaski.

The Supreme Court of South Dakota realized that SDCL 18-1-11.1 may have some limitations during this pandemic. Therefore, on April 9, 2020, the Supreme Court of South Dakota executed an Emergency Order. There are two very important aspects identified in this Emergency Order. First, SDCL 29A-2-502 requires that wills are witnessed by “two or more individuals who, in the conscious presence of the testator, witnessed whether the signing of the will or the testator’s acknowledgment of that signature.” While the Emergency Order is in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, the term “conscious presence” is expanded to allow parties to communicate with each other by sight and sound and by communication technology for purposes of witnessing. When using communication technology, the pages containing the original signatures must be promptly mailed to the declarant or authorized representative.

The Emergency Order further provides that notaries and other persons qualified to administer an oath in South Dakota may swear a witness remotely by communication technology, provided they can positively identify the witness. This provides a substantial benefit to those individuals who may be more susceptible to COVID-19.

The attorneys at Lynn, Jackson, Shultz & Lebrun are here for you during this trying time in history. Whether you want to gain peace of mind with regard to your estate planning, finalize execution of contracts, discuss the Payment Protection Plan loans under the CARES Act, or simply have someone lend an ear, we are here for you.

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Updating your estate planning during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Covid-19 (Coronavirus) is a disease that has already spread throughout China and Italy, and that will likely spread throughout the United States. There are many concerns we cannot ignore during this Coronavirus pandemic: How will Coronavirus affect the economy? How will Coronavirus affect my ability to earn a living? How will Coronavirus affect my family? One of the last things which many people are concerned about at this time is updating their estate planning. However, updating your estate planning should be at the top of your priority list during this time.

There are many reasons to consider updating your estate planning due to the effect Coronavirus has had on the world. As we have seen in China and Italy, elderly adults and those with underlying issues are especially vulnerable to Coronavirus. One of the main concerns people have at those stages in their lives are that their loved ones are protected. With necessary updates to a person’s estate planning, he or she can have peace of mind that the Coronavirus pandemic will not have detrimental effects on his or her family.. Additionally, you may now have the additional time needed to address your estate planning. It’s not often we are given the gift of time.

There are several different things people should consider when addressing their estate planning due to Coronavirus.

• Do you have a Last Will & Testament or Revocable Living Trust?
• Do you know who will receive your assets if you do not have a Last Will & Testament or Revocable Living Trust?
• Have you identified who will oversee your minor children in the event of your passing?
• Do you want certain beneficiaries to receive the property outright or over a period of time?
• If you have a Revocable Living Trust, when was the last time you reviewed your Trust?
• Have you purchased any assets since you created your revocable living trust which may not have been properly funded into the trust?

It is imperative to speak with an estate planning attorney regarding these questions because the answer to any of these questions can potentially affect your intent as it relates to your estate plan.

It is also necessary that your powers of attorney are properly updated during this pandemic. If you get infected with the Coronavirus, a durable power of attorney will allow the person(s) you have named to pay your bills, contact the utility companies, and make other financial decisions on your behalf. A healthcare power of attorney will allow the person(s) you have named to make health decisions on your behalf and receive health care information from your doctors. If you get infected with the Coronavirus and have minor children, you may want a power of attorney so that someone has the authority to take your children to the doctor.

A common misconception many people have regarding their Last Will & Testament is that all of their assets will flow as set forth in their Last Will & Testament upon death. However, if a person has assets that allow for beneficiary designations, such as IRA’s, annuities, and life insurance policies, the designations made will trump your Last Will & Testament. Therefore, when the beneficiary has been properly updated to meet with a person’s wishes, those named beneficiaries will receive funds from those accounts outright instead of through the Last Will & Testament. I have witnessed firsthand many times when beneficiary designations likely did not meet with the decedent’s wishes. Therefore, it is important that you contact your financial institution or insurance company to review your beneficiary designations to make sure they meet with your wishes.

Now, more than ever, is the time to update your estate planning. If you or your loved one would like to speak with me about updating your estate planning, please feel free to reach out to me. I am able to ask you the necessary questions to determine the type of estate planning which would best suit you over the phone. Lynn Jackson will then work with you on finding an alternative for execution of your estate planning documents.

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IRS says: Making large gifts now will not harm estates after 2025

The IRS recently announced that individuals taking advantage of the increased exclusion amounts will not be adversely impacted when the exclusion amount is scheduled to drop to the levels they were at prior to 2018. The exclusion amount has been increased from $5 million to $10 million for tax years 2018 through 2025, with both dollar amounts adjusted for inflation. In 2026, the exclusion amount will revert to the 2017 level of $5 million, as adjusted for inflation.

There was previous concern that the IRS would “claw-back” large gifts made during this time period. However, based upon the IRS’s announcement, individuals planning to make large gifts between 2018 and 2025 should now be able to do so without concern that they will lose the tax benefit of the higher exclusion level once it decreases after 2025.

To access the IRS announcement, follow the link below:

Contact the estate planning attorneys at Lynn Jackson today to discuss whether taking advantage of the increased gift and estate tax exclusions are in your best interests.

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