Business Succession Planning

Most businesses do not survive multiple generations. But a business succession plan can increase the possibility for a successful change of ownership from one generation to another. An important part of a succession plan is a comprehensive shareholder or operating agreement that includes buy-sell provisions. In addition, the plan may include recapitalization to reorganize equity, employment and deferred compensation agreements, multiple related entities, and the transfer of ownership interests. Agreements, meeting minutes, and resolutions should all be documented in order to avoid misunderstandings and friction within the family in the future. Maintaining proper documentation and business formalities is also very important when dealing with third parties and maintaining liability protection. When a plan is implemented, existing wills and trust should be reviewed and modified if necessary to be consistent with the succession plan.