Many business owners have worked for years to build up their business and don’t have any intention of retiring. However, that day is likely to come and it would be wise to have a succession plan, according to The Gardner News in “Do you have a business succession strategy?”
It takes a very long time to create a succession plan that works. Therefore, planning for succession should begin long before retirement is on the horizon. That’s because there are as many different ways to map out a succession plan as there are types of business. A business owner could sell the business to a family member, an outsider, a key employee or to all the employees. The plan could be implemented while the business owner is still alive and well and working, or it could be set up to take effect only after the owner passes.
The decision of how to handle a succession plan needs to be made with a number of issues in mind: family dynamics and interest in the business (or lack of interest), the nature of the business, the success of the business and the owner’s overall financial situation.
Here are a few of the more popular strategies:
Selling the business outright. There are business owners who don’t need the money and feel that no one else will care as much as they do about their business. Therefore, they sell it. There needs to be a lot of planning to minimize tax liability when this is the choice.
Using a buy-sell arrangement to transfer the business. This can be structured in whatever way works best for both parties. It allows a slower transition to new ownership. Some families use the proceeds of a life insurance policy to fund the buy-sell agreement, so family owners could use the death benefit to buy the owner’s stake.
Buying a private annuity. This permits the owner to transfer the business to family members, or someone else, who then makes payments to the owner for the rest of their life, or maybe their life and another person, like a surviving spouse. It has the potential to provide a lifetime stream of income and removes assets from the owner’s estate without triggering gift or estate taxes.
An estate planning attorney can advise you on creating an estate plan that fits your particular circumstances and can include a succession plan.
Reference: The Gardener News (June 4, 2019) “Do you have a business succession strategy?”