Business Succession Estate Planning FAQs

When estate planning or business succession planning is done properly, all eventualities are taken into consideration including the possibility of your own incapacitation. As head of a business, succession planning will provide the proper legal authority for others to step in and operate the business including contract negotiation to purchase supplies. Additionally it is possible that certain banks, suppliers, and government agencies would be unwilling to continue business if there is no incapacitation plan in place.

Determine the goals you want to achieve with succession planning by considering the core values of your organization and how they might be achieved through succession. Take into account organization-specific statistics on turnover, retirement, and promotion to target important outcomes for your organization. We have found that reviewing your goals with your banker, your accountant, your insurance agent and your attorney helps to ensure that your goals can be met and that efforts to meet your goals are well coordinated.

Your business succession plan will be developed to fit the specific needs of your business. Common questions that need to be considered to develop the plan are:

  • Who takes over the immediate day-to-day control of your business in the event you are incapacitated?
  • Is it clear to your employees, business associates, and family who will take over in your absence and will they accept that person as their leader?
  • Does the individual designated to take over have the legal authority to do so?
  • Will your family continue to benefit financially from the success of the business if you are incapacitated?
  • If you become permanently disabled, or retire, who will take over your business?
  • Will your business be included in the probate of your estate?
  • If your business will be part of your estate, what will happen to the value of your interest in the business if it is sold and how will the value of your interest be determined?
  • If your business is a family owned business, have you prepared the next generation to take over?
  • Have you set up the proper legal structure for the business to facilitate the transfer to the next generation?
  • What will the tax implications be for your business should you die?
  • Does the business have sufficient liquid assets to cover any tax debt that might be owed when you die?

To ensure that the financial interest you have made in your business is protected if you retire or are involved in a catastrophic event.

Business succession planning is the process of taking the necessary steps to ensure your company always has the right leaders in place in the event of sudden changes occurring. Examples of sudden changes include but are not limited to death, incapacity, serious illness, accident, or retirement. Succession planning keeps your business moving forward when one of these sudden changes occurs.

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