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Business Law – Succession Planning

Power of Attorney | Business Law | Estate Planning

Business Law – Succession Planning

You’ve made it!  After years of hard work, uncertainty and sacrifice, you are the proud owner of a successful business.  Now what?  You have spent all your time focused on building your business and never on leaving your business.  How do you retire from your own business?  Will you sell it, close it, or just work until you die at your desk?  If you sell, will you sell to your children, your business partners, the employees, or a third party?  At Legacy Architects we will help guide you through the process of planning for your eventual departure from your business, voluntary or involuntary.

Maybe succession or retirement is years away for you.  But what about the X factor, your involuntary departure from the business due to disability or death?  Is your business coordinated with your disability and estate plan?  Will your guardian and disability trustee have the necessary authority to keep your business running if you have a stroke or car accident, or will payroll stop the week of your disability?  Do you even have a guardian/disability trustee appointed?  Can your business survive months of stagnation while a judge decides who will run the business in your absence?.

Business Law

For our estate planning clients, who also own a business, we provide a variety of basic business law services to help them better run their business and to protect their business from the ups and downs in both their personal and business life.  We do not take new business clients who are not also estate planning clients.  Either one of the owners or senior offices of the business must be an estate planning client in order for the business to be our client.  Our philosophy is that estate and disability planning is such an integral part of proper business planning that we will not do business planning without the an estate plan.  All our new business clients are required to complete their family protection plan before we start on the business planning..

Business Succession Planning

It is inevitable, you will leave your business.  The only question is will it be planned and financially beneficial to you and your family, or will it be unplanned with legal, tax, and financial turmoil?  At Legacy Architects we will walk you through a variety of options on how you can exit your business.  Even if you are planning on giving it to your children for “free”, there is a right way and a wrong way to do that which can have a huge impact on the business and your children’s finances and success.  In most cases your business is your single largest asset and is your “retirement account”, which means receiving maximum value for it will be critical.  All this can be done with a proper succession plan.  Legacy Architects will put together a team of advisors, both from Legacy Architects and from other companies to counsel you through the entire process.

Business Succession Fundamentals
  • It is inevitable, ALL businesses transition to new owners, with or without a plan.
  • It is inevitable, ALL businesses owners retire or die, with or without a plan.
  • The vast majority of family businesses do not survive the probate process.
  • Most business cannot survive the long term disability of the owner.
  • Business transition by death, disability, or retirement is not unforeseen so it can be planed for and managed.
  • The personal estate and disability plans of each owner of a business are an integral part of every business plan.

Peace of Mind

For family business owners peace of mind is a rare thing.  More than anything else, the thing you get most with a Legacy Architects’ Estate Plan is Peace of Mind.  We all have fears and concerns about the future, for ourselves, for our business and for our children and grandchildren.  You cannot plan for every unforeseen business event, however, retirement, death and disability are not unforeseen and can be planned for and managed by the owner and family.  And once you are part of our family, we are always just a phone call away.

Matthew V. Piwowar is an Estate Planning and Business Law Attorney, and a member of the State Bar of Michigan, and the Michigan Forum of Estate Planners.