This week is Twin Cities Startup Week (#TCSW21) and there are business innovators and other professionals all around the Minneapolis-St. Paul area for programs this week. Conferences like this are a great opportunity for business owners to meet other business founders and get some great information directly from the source on how to start and grow their business. This year's agenda has a good variety of educational events and fun other events to keep founders engaged throughout the week. Especially in the areas of technology and social responsibility, there are plenty of options to keep you busy all week.

There are also plenty of events on personal well-being and ways to keep yourself healthy. However, one area that is near and dear to my heart that seems to be missing is a panel or event centered around some of the personal legal documents that business founders need.

Why Would Business Founders Need an Estate Plan?

If you ask me, I'm going to tell you that everyone needs an estate plan. One category of folks who tend to have lots of excuses as to why they don't think they need estate plan documents are people who are young and unmarried (which can also describe many talented business founders who are attending TCSW 2021). Despite their protests, it's just as important for them to have a will in place to protect their legacy as it was for their parents to have one in place when they were growing up.

But even if you don't think you need a will, if you're busy founding a business, some of the other documents in your estate plan can be very important safeguards for you and your business. What would happen if you become sick while working those long hours to get the world's next great business off the ground? Without the right documents, your business legacy could be left to wither. For those business founders, I recommend at least two documents.

  • Financial Power of Attorney ~ If you are running your business and something happens to you, the natural question is: Who can take over the business while you are sick? When your business is in growth mode and you have a staff and executives, then this question isn't all that pressing. But if you in the early stages of your business and you are the only person working in the business, then you'll need to make sure that someone is appointed to be able to make financial decisions for you and the business. Rather than have your business be left in limbo, you can choose exactly who should be stepping in to work in the business and run things while you are unable to do it.
  • Healthcare Power of Attorney ~ All those long hours and intense work can take a toll on you and if you get sick, you also want to make sure that the right person is making decisions for your healthcare. If you're married, the doctors will usually look to your spouse if you become sick and medical decisions need to be made. But if you are unmarried, who makes the healthcare decisions for you? While you might want your long-term partner to be the person to be involved, if the doctors don't know who they are, how will they know to contact them?

While you may resist my recommendations to get a full estate plan, if nothing else, you should make sure you have powers of attorney covering your finances and your health in place. You never know what happens next in life, and a little bit of planning can provide you with a lot of peace of mind in case something happens to you.

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Next Steps

If you don't have your estate plan or powers of attorney in place, let's set up a Legal Strategy Session to review the best options for you and make sure you are protected. And if you're attending TCSW and we run into each other at one of the sessions, please make sure to say hi!

Andrew Ayers
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I work with business and estate planning clients to craft legal solutions to protect their legacies.
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