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Business Succession Planning

Business succession planning can be a daunting task under the best of circumstances, and history is littered with examples of owners who failed to step up to the challenge in a wise and timely fashion – often with disastrous consequences. Our Business Succession Practice Group focuses on family-owned companies, which make up approximately 90 percent of all businesses.

According to the Small Business Administration, 40 percent of U.S. businesses face the transfer of ownership issue at any given time. Fewer than one third of family businesses survive the transition from first to second generation ownership. Of those that do, close to 50 percent don't survive the transition from second to third generation ownership.

But it doesn't have to be that way. We understand that every business has its own story and unique circumstances. For some, the goal will be to achieve the largest return on the sale of the company. For others, it will be to devise and execute a strategy of management transference that will minimize disruption and set the stage for the next generation.

Business Succession Program

Based on our experience advising hundreds of business on succession planning, we offer our clients a six-phase Business Succession Program (Click here to learn more.) designed for business owners considering passing their businesses on to a successor or a group of successors. We have found the two critical areas where many business successions fail are taxes and family discord. The Business Succession Program assists companies in addressing both of these potential pitfalls and covers key areas of business succession: management, ownership and taxes.

Additional Business Succession Services:

  • Business counseling – Applying our extensive experience with a wide range of successful family business transitions to the specifics of your company and your goals for its future.
  • Business reorganization or sale – Preparing and implementing planning techniques to reorganize, merge, or divide a business, or assisting in the sale to third parties.
  • Sale of business to employees – Advising clients on the optimal techniques for selling to management or larger employee groups, including the planning for employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), which offer significant tax benefits for buyers and sellers.
  • Shareholders' agreements – Preparing buy-sell and governance agreements to provide a clear plan on how the business will be managed and how owners will be paid on death or retirement. Click here to learn more. 
  • Estate planning – Assisting clients in devising the most effective strategies for transferring wealth accumulated during a successful business career to succeeding generations. Click here to learn more.
  • Retirement planning – Creating tax-efficient retirement plans to smooth the business transition by ensuring ample post-transition owner income. Click here to learn more.
  • Dispute resolution – Offering mediation services, or, if necessary, litigation support in matters related to business succession or corporate governance issues.