It’s taken guts, savvy and sheer determination, but you’ve done it: you’ve made your business a success. You’ve weathered the market swings, outshone the competition, and kept your customers more than satisfied. Your achievements have enabled you to take care of and protect your family. So what happens if you get hit by that proverbial bus?
According to a recent national survey, 25 percent of family business shareholders who are entering their senior years haven’t completed any estate or succession planning other than writing a will. But succession planning for a business owner involves more than just deciding how your assets will be divided after you die and be marshalled through the probate court.
At its most basic, a succession plan is a documented road map for partners, heirs, and those who survive you to follow after your death, disability, or retirement. This plan can include a program for distribution of business stock and other assets, debt retirement schedules, life insurance policies, buy-sell agreements between partners and heirs, division of responsibilities among successors, and any other elements that affect your business assets. The plan may also establish the value of your business, which can have a substantial impact on what it provides your family after you’re gone.
So where do you start? In the succession planning process, you must first clearly establish your goals and objectives, as well as your company’s current human and financial resources.
How much control of the business do you want to maintain? Is there someone capable of running the business once you step down? Are there key employees who should be retained? Are there sufficient assets to pay the estate tax, equalize the estate, and keep the business? How much money do you need to reach your financial goals?
And remember… while clarifying your goals and wishes is important, it’s not enough. You also need to communicate your vision with your family, business partners, and key employees.
That’s where we come in. We can guide you to develop a business succession plan that ensures everyone you love – family, clients, and team – can continue on with ease and love after you are gone. We protect everything you’ve worked so hard for and ensure it continues to grow for many generations.
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