Business Succession Planning Attorney in Conyers, Georgia
If you own, co-own, or partner in a business, there will no doubt come a day when you want to move on—usually because retirement beckons, but sometimes for other reasons. No matter what your unique situation, succession planning is an essential part of owning and operating a business. When you’re young and healthy, you may be so focused on managing the business that you put off the need to plan for the future, but there’s too much at stake. Not only do you have decisions to make regarding taking care of you and your loved ones in the future, but you have the added issue of what to do with your business when the time comes.
Do you own or have a stake in a business in or around Conyers, Georgia? You should carefully consider the future of the business and how it figures in your estate planning. For all your estate planning needs in Conyers and the neighboring communities of Covington, Snellville, Lawrenceville, Greensboro, Atlanta, Oxford, Loganville, and Grayson, contact Sharline S. Green, P.C. today.
Every person’s situation is unique, and I will meet with you to listen to your goals and needs, and help you fashion an estate plan that assures peace of mind for you and your loved ones, including provisions for your business interests.
Why Having a Business Succession Plan Is Important
A business is a vital asset. You want to make sure that your interest, or stake, in the business is protected. The last thing you want is to face the unforeseen and become incapacitated and unable to direct your business or transfer it to your loved ones. If you have no succession plan in place, the business could fall into the hands of someone unanticipated.
If it’s a sole proprietorship you’re operating, the key – in addition to having the proper legal documents in place – is to train a family member to step into your shoes at a moment’s notice. If your family has no desire for this, then you must train a key employee who can carry on for you in your stead.
This leaves the question of how to transfer the business and its assets to your family, which can be done through a will or living trust. Family transfers, however, can lead to fighting over who gets the business and who gets to run it. Even if you name a successor, other family members may object, and some may prefer just to sell the business and cash out.
Of course, you don’t have to leave the business to your family if you’re a sole proprietor. There are other routes that can be specified that will result in income for your loved ones, including:
Sell to a key employee. A key employee may be more than capable of running your business and turning a profit.
Sell to an outside party: Finding a broker to sell to an outside buyer is also an option, but this presents hurdles of its own, including obtaining a clear and acceptable valuation for the business.
Of course, all these options remain if you’ve just decided it’s time to retire. Even then, however, you should have the legal instruments in place to protect your estate – including your business – should anything befall you before the sale or transfer goes through.
What’s Included in a Succession Plan?
A will or living trust can transfer your ownership interest to your loved ones, but on top of that, you need specific instructions for the succession process, including:
A Timeline. If it’s for retirement or another reason, a date should be specified. Otherwise, it should be contingent upon death or disability.
Naming a Successor. You will need to name someone who should take over in your place, even if it’s just on an interim basis while the business is being sold.
Standard Operating Procedures: If the business is large enough, instructions regarding standard operating procedures (SOPs) need to be outlined, including copies of employee handbooks, an organizational chart, operations manuals, and more.
Business Valuation. State the value of your business and how it was obtained. This should be updated as circumstances change.
Funding. Explain the acceptable paths for financing, whether through loans or seller financing.
Business Succession Plan Attorney Serving Conyers, Georgia
When is the right time for a business succession plan? The answer is: as soon as possible. The same goes for estate planning. To plan for your future and the future of your family, as well as your business interests, contact Sharline S. Green, P.C. As an estate planning attorney, I have helped countless individuals gain peace of mind by creating a comprehensive plan. I proudly serve clients in and around Conyers, Georgia, including the neighboring communities of Covington, Snellville, Lawrenceville, Greensboro, Atlanta, Oxford, Loganville, and Grayson.