Articles Tagged with Business Succession

10.28.19While it’s possible for people to manage some parts of their loved one’s estate, very often the tasks feel overwhelming. When getting assets out of probate becomes too much of a challenge, it’s time for help.

There are instances when an executor knows they need to hire an attorney who focuses their practice on settling an estate immediately. That’s usually when there’s a lot of money at stake, or if the family has a history of fighting. Other times, the job of settling an estate starts out okay, then hits a roadblock, or becomes too emotionally draining.’s recent article, “Do I Need to Hire a Probate Lawyer?: The Top Signs You Should Lawyer Up” says that trying to do this on your own can often be time-consuming and expensive. That’s why it’s smart to have a probate lawyer working with you.

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.

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.

Professor at chalk boardThe word is out in the estate planning bar that the IRS is looking at making an announcement this September about a favorite tax benefit gained from the use of family partnerships and LLCs.  New regulations would effectively raise the taxable value of assets transferred into these entities, which currently enjoy a generous discount. Wealthy clients are being advised to set up partnerships now to capture what remains of these discounts before the new rules take effect.

According an article in Barron’s titled “IRS Considers New Tax on Wealthy Families,” any changes to tax benefits affection family partnerships and LLCs could have significant consequences.

The article explains that partnerships and LLCs currently let families pass on a minority stake in the family business or in a pool of privately-held investments to their children with little or no tax consequences. This is because minority shares in a private business are illiquid, or unable to be easily sold or exchanged for cash without a substantial loss in value. They are worth less, from a tax perspective, than their stated market value. This is a big help to families who want to lower the taxable value of their assets, and in some cases below the $5.43 million gift-tax exemption. It also works even if the underlying investments getting passed on are liquid. The discount could be as much as 20% to 25%.

Business legsOwners who are personally and emotionally involved in their businesses, including farming operations, often consider what will happen to their businesses, farms and business assets when they are no longer involved. Planning for the disposition of a business is different than estate planning. While many think they are the same process, they are really very different.

Estate planning concerns the transfer of assets, including wealth, of an individual from one individual to another or to an entity, such as a trust, and this occurs only when the person passes away. Ownership of a business and business assets, whether they are tangible or intangible, can be transferred to a legal entity, whenever the owner chooses. The Columbus (NE) Telegram’s article, “Estate planning and business transition quite different,” discusses these two different kinds of transactions.

Business transition is simply the transfer of a business asset or the entire entity from an existing owner who has decided to retire or move on. This usually occurs during the life of the existing owner. However, when a business transfer takes place after the death of the owner, it’s usually part of an existing or implied estate plan or asset transfer process.

Bigstock-Couple-running-bookshop-13904324Many business owners fear losing control. Before they’re willing to address exit or estate planning options, they must first be assured of complete dominion over their business. So let’s look at how to lock in ownership.

Are you worried about losing control of your business?

A recent Forbes article, Control Freaks Take Heart: How To Maintain Control Of Your Business, offers some ways to assure firm control of a closely-held company.

Business legsThese two experiences taught me a lesson about family businesses. Making a family business a family legacy takes planning and preparation. While each family business has its own unique issues, there are some common strategies associated with succession planning.

Sometimes, passing along your assets to the next generation is simply a matter of passing them along. You just let the gift and the potential represented by that gift be your legacy (emphasis on the “sometimes”). However, when the asset is a business, it is rarely that simple.

A business is not merely a thing. No, a business is a mindset, an activity and, oftentimes, even a lifestyle. It can get complicated. If your legacy is the family business, then with great responsibility comes the need for equally careful planning, preparation and dialogue.

Contact Information