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At some point, every owner leaves his or her business.  The question is whether the owner will leave in a way that protects the owner, his or her family, and the business.   In addition, succession issues also have the potential to wreak havoc both in the business and in the family. Business owners fear their heirs might sell or dismantle the business or the wrong people might run it.  Decisions about selling or keeping the family business or selecting one family member over another to take over leadership can be explosive ones.  Family members may have irreconcilable needs and expectations. For example, if two children in a family want to accept an offer to purchase the business but two others do not want to sell, a compromise may be impossible.  Such conflicts may also re-ignite old resentments and jealousies among family members. Given this downside, it is not surprising that many families fail to face the issues honestly.

A recent study showed that only 30% of family-owned businesses survive to a second generation, with only 15% make it to the third generation.  The owners of these failed businesses attributed their problems not to business conditions or competition but to the founder's failure to devise a proper estate plan and properly arrange for the transfer of the business.  Inaction by the owner may imperil the financial security of his or her spouse and children.

We help the business owner formulate at written succession plan that which avoid the chaos that will result from their being no plan to place for the business when the owner dies or when s/he becomes incapacitated. 

We help the business owner come up with solutions to following key questions:

  • If the business is not already in a business structure, which type of business structure – corporation; limited liability company, family limited partnership (“FLP”)  – is most appropriate for the business.  By using carefully designed legal structures, such as FLPs and corporations having voting and non-voting stock, ultimate control can be retained in coordination with effective transfer tax planning.  In addition, such a structure not only provides protection for the owners of the business, it will also make the transfer of ownership to family or a 3rd party that much easier to complete. 
  • Should the business be sold or kept under family control?
  • If the business is kept in the family, who should have ownership and ultimate control and handle day-to-day operations? 
  • If the business is to be sold, who are the potential buyers?

LINK: If the business should be kept within the family – Factors To Be Considered

LINK: Businesses to be sold

LINK: Businesses to be kept within the family


We can help business owners with the unique issues that arise in transferring their business when they die.  Adverse results can be avoided, but the owner must plan carefully and implement the plan.  Every business owner leaves the business someday. Whether it happens at a time you choose or happens unexpectedly, you’ll rest easier if you know you’re prepared and know that your business, and all who depend on it, won’t suffer when you’re no longer there to run things.  Our clients appreciate knowing that, should they choose to retire or unexpectedly fall ill or die, their business will continue to thrive and continue to benefit the ones they love.

In addition to helping clients plan for succession of the ownership and control of family businesses, we assist new and growing businesses start off on the right foot by choosing the right type of business entity.  We work closely with our clients to learn the nuances of their business and by doing so, help keep them out of trouble in the future with preventative law practices and protect against business secrets and customer lists from leaving the business. 

We assist our business clients in nearly every aspect of commercial activity – preparing contracts; obtaining financing; advising on compliance with state and federal regulations; and in handling difficult and complex business matters such as business acquisitions and/or development, joint ventures, mergers, business sales, and the like. Whether you are starting a new business, dissolving an old partnership, or buying or selling an existing business, we will make sure that articles of incorporation are properly prepared and filed, draft partnership and operating agreements, execute purchases and sales of a business, and draft and execute contracts for the purchases and sales of goods and services. We pride ourselves on providing full-service planning strategies for our clients, their families and their businesses. In addition, we have extensive experience in tax planning and compliance.

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