Succeeding at Business Succession

Succeeding at Business Succession

November 15, 2023

Navigating the intricate landscape of business succession is a critical aspect of ensuring sustained success, especially for family businesses. Here at the Living Well Team of Centinel Financial, we understand the unique challenges that business owners face, particularly when it comes to succession planning.

Family businesses contribute significantly to the private sector Gross Domestic Product (GDP), accounting for 54%. However, a staggering 43% of these businesses lack a formal succession plan, revealing a potentially perilous oversight. It's not uncommon for small business owners to be engulfed in the day-to-day demands of running their enterprises, but neglecting succession preparations can have profound consequences for both the business and its heirs.

Let's delve into two compelling reasons why business owners should prioritize establishing a succession plan sooner rather than later.

Firstly, Taxes:

Upon the owner's passing, estate taxes may come into play, and a proactive strategy can be instrumental in managing them effectively. Failing to prepare adequately may result in a loss of control over the final disposition of the company. The impact on the business and the heirs can be profound if tax implications are not considered strategically.

Secondly, Business Value:

The absence of a succession structure could lead to a decline in the business's value in the event of the owner's death or an unexpected disability. Protecting the business's value is crucial for ensuring its sustainability and the financial well-being of those inheriting it.

Now, let's break down the essential steps in the business succession process:

1. Identify Your Goals: Define your objectives to develop a plan that aligns with your vision. Consider factors such as future income, your level of involvement, creating a legacy for your family or charity, and the values you want to uphold.

2. Determine Steps to Pursue Your Objectives: Utilize various tools, including buy/sell agreements, gifting shares, trusts, or employee stock ownership plans, to follow through on your identified goals. Each tool serves a specific purpose, and choosing the right combination is vital.

3. Implement the Strategy: Execute the plan and regularly revisit it to ensure relevance in the face of changing circumstances, such as divorce, shifts in business profitability, or the death of a stakeholder.

It's crucial to emphasize that valuing your business is a fundamental prerequisite for a successful succession. Given the complexity of business succession, collaboration with legal and tax professionals well-versed in the process is highly advisable.

As we navigate the intricate web of business succession, let's work together to secure a prosperous future for your business and your heirs.


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  3. Estate taxes are typically due nine months after the date of death, payable in cash. Additional costs may include probate, final expenses, and administration fees.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.