Estate Planning & Your Business: Preparing for the Future


We are two episodes in on our series of podcasts about what businesses and their chief executives should be thinking about in order to get themselves to a point where they're ready to be sold. This series, which will lead up to our coinciding event Prepping the Princess, will touch on the issues that business leaders should keep top-of-mind before an exit—even if that exit is years away from fruition.

This week on In Process, Donna Barwick of Wilmington Trust joins the show to discuss the importance of estate planning. Much like the sale of a business, many entrepreneurs and business leaders don’t make decisions about what will happen to their assets without them until it’s too late.

“I don't think every business owner is cognizant of the importance of estate planning and the associated elements that go in to making sure that you and your family are protected to manage and grow your private wealth,” says Evelyn Ashley.

“You’ve touched on a critical point,” leads Barwick. “Business owners, especially successful business owners, are so focused on their business that it's often difficult to make them pay attention to succession planning.”

The results—positive or negative—of succession planning can be felt by families as well as business partners. From freezing assets to maintaining life insurance policies on key partners, there are many aspects of protecting a business that need to be a part of the conversation.

 “Most business owners need to have both a short term plan and a long term plan,” says Barwick. “A short term plan in the event something happens suddenly—not in the later years when they're thinking about retiring or selling the business—that might be key man insurance or a buy/sell agreement with their co-owners or something short term.”

The longer term plan can include retirement and grooming the company’s next leaders, among many other needs.

“They need both the short term plan for sudden incapacity or death, and then also a longer plan for the normal course of life,” says Barwick.

Stream the conversation in its entirety below for more information on the nuances of succession planning as it relates to taxes, insurance, asset freezing and more.


If you liked this podcast or are interested in exiting your business, consider requesting an invitation to our upcoming event, Prepping the Princess for the Party: Is your business ready to sell?, on October 12 at 6 p.m. The event will host business owners and C-level executives for a panel discussion on what it takes to get top dollar for your business. For more information or to request an invitation, visit