Klenk Law

Business Succession Plans

As a small business owner, I recognize both the importance and the difficulty of creating a Business Succession Plan. You might believe that your business will end with yourself, be purchased by someone or you may have partners to whom you plan on turning over ownership. These partners may or may not be your family members. These family members may or may not be the children of your current spouse. Potential land mines likely exist, but can be avoided with careful Business Succession Planning.

The issues are complex, but addressing them as early as possible is almost always the best answer. Brainstorming options with your professionals will give you ideas and may bring out tax savings or avoid pitfalls you would never have otherwise anticipated.

How To Start a Business Succession Plan

  1. Identify the Need. Recognize that key employees and yourself are human; there is no guarantee that you will show up for work tomorrow. The process will never be complete if the critical players deny this truth.
  2. Identify the Successor. Who steps into the shoes if you or a key employee could not show up for work tomorrow?
  3. Prepare and Train the Successor. It takes years to train a successor. You have had a lifetime to get to where you are now and to create the business. Recognize that no individual can step into your shoes overnight. A long-term plan is necessary to prepare and train your replacement.
  4. Envision the Sale or Transfer. Will you simply turn over control, or do you expect compensation for your business? If you expect compensation, what are the terms and how will your successor fund the purchase? What if you become incapacitated or die, who will oversee the purchase for your spouse or children? A well-documented plan agreed to by your successor and funded will make the transition as painless as possible and help preserve your business. This your Estate Planning Attorney’s vital contribution.
  5. Depart on Good Terms, Preserve Your Legacy. Help ensure the business continues by preparing for your retirement. It isn’t easy giving up control or watching others put their mark on what was once yours. Prepare yourself so you can help, but not hinder, the company’s future.

Our Estate Planning Lawyers have years of Business Succession Planning experience; It’s What We Do!

Business Succession Planning FAQs

What is Business Succession Planning and what will it accomplish?

A Business Succession Plan preserves the business and its value. The plan addresses a response for the owner and key employee’s unexpected departure due to death, disability or other hardship as well as an orderly turnover of control and ownership due to retirement.

What’s the difference between a Succession Plan and an Estate Plan?

A Business Succession Plan is part of an overall Estate Plan that addresses the sale and transition of your business interest. Your Estate Plan address all of your assets, including your business interest.

How often should a Succession Plan be updated?

Review both your Estate Plan and Business Succession Plan every two years.

When is it time to begin seriously considering Succession Planning?

Every venture should have an exit strategy, including a succession plan. By some estimates, it can take 15 years to prepare a succession plan and train a successor. If you are within 15 years of retirement or departure, it is time to prepare your Business Succession Plan.

What if my family can’t see eye-to-eye about our goals?

If you foresee a family conflict with a Business Succession Plan, you are in vital need of a Business Succession Plan. Nothing destroys a business and scares away talent like a family dispute. Your business and your family are unique. The plan that best fits your needs can only be created after careful analysis and negotiation.

How do I make the best decisions for active and inactive children?

Your Estate Plan includes your Business Succession Plan. Addressing family goals is part of both the estate and business succession plan. Like each family, each method differs, depending on your assets, goals and relatives personalities. Let’s talk and brainstorm!

Reasonable Prices, Years of Experience, We Make Wills and Estate Planning Easier

If you have any questions about Business Succession Plans or any other estate planning topics, please contact our office to schedule a free consultation. For more than two decades Klenk Law has focused only on Estate Law. We’ve seen it all, and this experience allows us to explain complex estate planning techniques clearly and concisely. We make it easy for you to understand Business Succession Plans so you can make the best decisions for yourself, your family and your business.

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