Articles Posted in Succession Planning

Finances can be a touchy topic no matter the conversation—from salary discussions to planning for marriage or talking about debt, many people feel uncomfortable. It can be even more difficult when individuals are getting older and the financial topic is estate planning. Adult children of aging parents may wish to make sure their parents can manage their assets effectively. When a family business is concerned, the need to involve everyone impacted in the estate planning discussion can be even greater. Below are three things to consider when trying to start an estate planning conversation.

1. People resist change.

People generally resist change, but this can manifest in different ways. Considering which way your parent or aging loved one may be resistant to change—whether they fail to see a problem altogether or disagree with you as to the solution—can help you formulate the right questions to ask. For any level of resistance, involving a business succession or estate planning attorney can help pinpoint the best questions to ask and the right information needed to move the process forward.

2. Determine how assets are currently structured.

The current structure of your parent or loved ones’ assets can guide the next steps. For example, if your family member owns a business, they may already have a succession plan in place. But other issues may still be in play. For example, they may self-manage and own all assets themselves, which might require some separation in the future. Or they may have plans for their business, but not their own retirement or personal asset management—or the other way around. Asking questions to figure out the current state of affairs can guide your loved ones toward thinking about practical considerations. Sometimes some positioning is needed before transitioning to the next stage of estate planning.

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11.14.19The succession plan works for your business in the same way an estate plan works for your personal life. It protects the business, outlining your wishes and plans for it to continue, or sets up a means of passing it to the next owners, whether they are family members or buyers.

Business owners who plan to use the proceeds from the sale of the business to fund their retirement have the right idea. However, with only 25% of private business owners actually having a succession plan in place, those retirement plans may not work the way they thought. Without a plan in place, the owners, their businesses and their families are at risk.

The Houston Business Journal’s recent article, “Three tips to employing establishing a strong succession plan,” takes up this matter for discussion.

9.24.18It takes time to build a business, and it can take just as long to create a strong succession plan.

Many business owners can’t imagine a life without the business they built, so they often postpone planning for their own retirement and the sale or transfer of the business. That doesn’t work out well.

There are steps to take when business owners decide to actively engage in planning for their business to continue to thrive after they step down. This article from Forbes, “Eight Factors To Consider Before Retiring From Your Business,” offers some useful tips.

5.4.18With an estimated 10,000 Boomers retiring every day, members of this generation who own businesses should already have their succession plans in place.

Exit or succession planning is a lot more complicated than most business recognize. It takes a long time if it is to be done properly. A recent article from Moultrie News, “Securing retirement through engaging in business exit planning,” says that not all business-owning baby boomers are ready.

Many soon-to-be retirees are closely-held business owners who have created and operated very successful businesses for years, but they’re now considering what their next move will be.

11.15.17It may sound whimsical, but the moment you open a business is also the time to start thinking about how you’ll exit the business, whether you intend to sell to a partner, leave the entire business to a family member or sell as soon as you come up with the next big idea.

One of the biggest mistakes made by entrepreneurs is failing to create a written plan for their long-term exit strategy. What they don’t understand is that by creating a succession plan, which includes ways to boost the value of the business years before you want to sell or retire, they’ll have a created a road map for a more successful business.

Springfield (MO) Business Journal’s recent article, “Starting a business? Plan your exit now,” advises that you begin with creating a culture of success with your employees, especially the key people. That means fostering an ownership mentality, so they see their critical role in the company’s long-term success and their role in helping that to continue in the future, long and short term.

5.24.17At last, a happy ending for the estate of the late Veronica Shoemaker, a community activist who made service the heart of her life and business.

With the conclusion of the estate battle, Mattie Young, the daughter of the late Veronica Shoemaker, will now be able to keep her mother’s flower shop open and maintain her mother’s legacy of community service. Shoemaker devoted many years of her life to serving the Fort Myer’s community and Young was faced with a contested will struggle that threatened her ability to keep the shop open.

The Fort Meyers reported on this saga in Shoemaker estate issue settled; florist shop stays open. Apparently, family members reached an agreement that assured Mattie would continue to run the Veronica S. Shoemaker Florist Shop in the Dunbar community its founder served for decades.


  1. Realize that your Exit Strategy is not business as usual. Get knowledgeable guidance e.g. from financial/legal advisors (team approach). Start now.
  1. Be realistic about objectives: Is it first and goal to go or is it a goal line defense?

11.28.16Estate planning for entrepreneurs is not complete until it includes a succession plan. Individuals who create successful businesses often find it hard to consider handing over the reins.

Entrepreneurs would not succeed without their ability to focus all of their energies on their business. It is not easy for this type of person to imagine that one day they may want to retire or that the possibility exists that they might become ill, injured or even die. Without an effective estate plan that includes a succession plan, their work, staff and families may be placed in jeopardy.

A recent post, “5 Estate Planning Tips for Entrepreneurs,” lists these important estate planning essentials:


1. Estate tax, the cruelest tax. You are taxed once on the income you earn. You save some of what you earn and are successful. If you die with “too much”, you are taxed again on your hard earned savings.

2. Only Federal; Texas does not have an estate or an inheritance tax.

6.13.16Whether on the evening news or a serial drama, we love to watch the inner workings of family businesses—in large part because of the drama and the high likelihood of failure.

The narrative of family dynasties is intriguing. According to the Yakima Herald in "Passing the baton: 6 challenges for family business succession," that is because successfully transitioning from one generation to the next is extraordinarily challenging and statistically unlikely. The low levels of success are matched by high expectations of business owners who believe that somehow, someway, their family will continue to control the businesses. Their viewpoint is highly optimistic and—most often—wrong.

Whether it's a national chain of supermarkets or a mom and pop corner grocery, owners will face several obstacles when seeking to ensure that their business legacy continues with and through their children. Here are some common challenges to consider.

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