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Estate planning considerations for auto industry executives

Hubbard Snitchler & Parzianello

Many people in the greater Detroit area have made their fortunes through the area’s automobile industry.

For example, there are those who may work in a well-paying job for a major automobile company or another big player in the industry.

Others may have an ownership interest in a family-owned dealership, service operation or other smaller but prosperous business connected to the auto or auto manufacturing industries.

Like others, those who now have some wealth to pass on to their loved ones because of their involvement in the automobile industry will need to engage in some estate planning to be sure that their wealth gets passed on efficiently and without conflict.

Those who worked as an employee in the industry should at a minimum create a will and appropriate advance directives, including a financial power of attorney.  Some may even want to consider creating a trust.

An executive who has acquired stocks or transferable stock options as part of their compensation may want to explore options for passing them down to a loved one.

On a related note, a retirement account owner should be certain she has named her preferred beneficiary to receive that account after she dies.

Those who own automobile industry businesses may need to take additional steps

A Michigander who owns a closely-held and automobile-related business may have to take additional estate planning steps.

At a minimum, as part of the estate planning, he will want to be sure that he creates and shares a detailed business succession plan with his family and business associates.

A business succession plan will not only help prevent conflicts but also can ensure that a family business will be able to keep operating in future years.

Whether as an employee or as an owner, a Detroit-area resident who has a connection to the automobile industry should evaluate their estate planning options early and carefully.

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