The Business of Family If you have business loans and were to pass away before they were paid off, could your family just sell your business to cover debts and still have enough to secure them financially? Probably not. When business owners die, covering debts is one thing, paying hefty estate taxes is a whole new ballgame. The estate has to cover both. When a family is forced to sell a business quickly, they may have to sell it at a discount. The value of the business may be miscalculated without your expertise. Your retirement fund, established to protect your family's future, may have to be liquidated to cover these taxes, which are due in a relatively short time period.