People who have launched marketing careers as social media influencers have built successful businesses by creating and sharing content with their followers. If you’ve grown a substantial following and have partners lined up offering brand deals, this career path can be very rewarding. That means it’s even more important to have an estate plan in place to protect your business and your loved ones in the event of your death or disability. Let’s explore the ideas of business succession planning and estate planning as they relate to the needs of influencers:
Business Succession Planning
One of the most important aspects of estate planning for influencers is protecting the business you have created through social media. This involves creating a plan for what will happen to your business after you are gone. This may include selling your business, passing it on to a family member or friend, or simply shutting it down. Having a plan in place will ensure continuity for your business.
If you have an LLC for your social media marketing business, this will make the succession process much easier. An LLC (limited liability company) separates your personal and business assets and, by doing so, offers liability protection for your personal assets from any lawsuits arising from your business activities. With an LLC, you can create an operating agreement which outlines who is to manage your business in the event of your death or disability, and who should inherit your interest in the business upon your passing.
Estate Planning Considerations
In addition to business succession planning to protect your business, there are a number of estate planning considerations that social media influencers should keep in mind to protect their personal wealth for future generations.
Social media influencers have valuable digital assets, namely their social media accounts, online brand, and maybe even a website. It’s important to have a plan in place for how these assets will be managed after you are gone. You may want to consider creating a digital asset inventory and assigning a digital executor to manage your accounts and online presence.
Influencers may also own valuable intellectual property, such as trademarks for their business (or maybe you have a business that you haven’t trademarked yet!). It’s important to have a plan for how this intellectual property will be protected and transferred to your heirs. Another point in favor of creating an LLC for your business is that the LLC can own the legal rights to your trademarks and other intellectual property. Upon your death, the intellectual property can be transferred to your loved ones as part of the LLC.
Living Trust and Privacy:
If you have significant assets to protect, you may want to consider creating a revocable living trust to protect them. Having a trust will allow you to determine specifically how you want your assets distributed upon your passing – it can really be as simple or as complex as you would like. The trust will allow your loved ones to avoid probate which, in addition to saving time and money, also offers more privacy for those who are in the public eye. Even while you’re alive, a trust can protect your privacy, for example, by owning title to your home so that your name is not reflected in public records.
Estate planning is an important process for everyone, but it’s especially important for social media influencers. Some people may have gone viral and are now finding themselves presented with opportunities they’re unsure how to protect. Others may have methodically built a following (and a business) over time but still haven’t taken steps to protect this for their loved ones. By taking the time to create an estate plan, you can protect your business, your digital assets, and your loved ones in the event of your death or disability.