When trying to keep a business in the family after the owner dies, watch out for estate taxes. It is possible to keep a business running well and lower its value as far as estate taxes are concerned. Here are some suggestions: elect S corporation status; have all major equipment purchased by the owner and leased to the company; have the owner own all his life insurance policies; last-to-die life insurance for the owner and spouse; give a majority share of non-voting stock to the heirs to the business; have the owner keep the voting stock; get the company professionally appraised.