180 S. Prospect Street

Suite 250

Tustin, CA 92780

Toll Free: (800) 927-2829

Direct: (714) 544-1844

Fax: (714) 544-4836

Email: answers@issuesonaging.com

My SeniorCare Advisors

Passing the Torch: Succession Planning for the Gamily Owned Business

Keeping the family business in the family upon the death or retirement of the business owner is not as easy as one would think. In fact, almost 30% of all family businesses never successfully pass to the next generation. What many business owners do not know is that many problems can be avoided by developing a sound business succession plan in advance.

Keeping the family business in the family upon the death or retirement of the business owner is not as easy as one would think. In fact, almost 30% of all family businesses never successfully pass to the next generation. What many business owners do not know is that many problems can be avoided by developing a sound business succession plan in advance.

In the event of a business owner's demise or retirement, the absence of a good business succession plan can endanger the financial stability of his business as well as the financial security of his family. With no plan to follow, many families are forced to scramble to outsiders to provide capital and acquire management expertise.

Here are some ideas to consider when you decided to begin the process of developing your business' succession plan:

Start today. Succession planning for the family-owned business is particularly difficult because not only does the founder have to address his own mortality, but he must also address issues that are specific to the family-owned business such as sibling rivalry, marital situations, and other family interactions. For these and other reasons, succession planning is easy to put off. But do you and your family a favor by starting the process as soon as possible to ensure a smooth, stress-free transition from one generation to the next.

Look at succession as a process. In the ideal situation, management succession would not take place at any one time in response to an event such as the death, disability or retirement of the founder, but would be a gradual process implemented over several years. Successful succession planning should include the planning, selection and preparation of the next generation of managers; a transition in management responsibility; gradual decrease in the role of the previous managers; and finally discontinuation of any input by the previous managers.

Choose needs over desires. Your foremost consideration should be the needs of the business rather than the desires of family members. Determine what the goals of the business are and what individual has the leadership skills and drive to reach them. Consider bringing in competent outside advisors and/or mediators to resolve any conflicts that may arise as a result of the business decisions you must make.

Be honest. Be honest in your appraisal of each family member's strengths and weaknesses. Whomever you choose as your successor (or part of the next management team), it is critical that a plan is developed early enough so these individuals can benefit from your (and the existing management team's) experience and knowledge.

Other considerations

A business succession plan should not only address management succession, but transfer of ownership and estate planning issues as well. Buy-sell agreements, stock gifting, trusts, and wills all have their place in the succession process and should be discussed with your professional advisors for integration into the plan.

Developing a sound business succession plan is a big step towards ensuring that your successful family-owned business doesn't become just another statistic. Please contact the office for more information and a consultation regarding how you should proceed with your business' succession plan.

If and only to the extent that this publication contains contributions from tax professionals who are subject to the rules of professional conduct set forth in Circular 230, as promulgated by the United States Department of the Treasury, the publisher, on behalf of those contributors, hereby states that any U.S. federal tax advice that is contained in such contributions was not intended or written to be used by any taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on the taxpayer by the Internal Revenue Service, and it cannot be used by any taxpayer for such purpose.