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 have decided to begin the process of developing a succession plan for your business:
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.
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 some of the following issues:
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 advisers and/or mediators to resolve any conflicts that may arise as a result of the business decisions you must make.
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.
A business succession plan should not only address management succession, but transfer of ownership and estate planning issues as well. For various key non-tax contractual provisions that need to be considered in a comprehensive sale agreement or shareholder agreement read Exit Strategy For Owners: Key Non-Tax Contractual Provisions. The following documents have a key role in the succession process and should be discussed and explored with an estate and tax attorney who is experienced in integrating all of these legal instruments as part of your succession and estate plan:
Developing a sound business succession plan and having your documents drafted by an experienced estate, tax and business attorney is essential to ensuring that your successful family-owned business can survive through the next generation and hopefully future generations. Please contact the office for more information and a consultation regarding how you should proceed with your business’ succession plan.
I highly recommend Steven J. Fromm for all your estate and tax planning needs. He has the most complete and thorough knowledge of current as well as pending federal, state, and local tax codes of any professional that I have ever been involved with. His ability to totally sort out your current financial condition and relate it to a plan to minimize your tax liability and allow you to sleep at night is without equal. He is professional, timely, creative, and an advocate for your needs, whether its personal or business. You can be assured that you will be well taken care of, with cutting edge/ sound financial and tax advice by Steven J. Fromm.” December 8, 2009. Brad Gildin
Hiring Steven was quite possibly the best decision of my life! Steven took the time to hear every single one of my concerns and address them in an extremely clear, concise and thorough manner. He guided me through the notoriously complicated and stressful process of probate with the utmost of compassion and dedication. Thank you Steven!
I highly recommend Steven J. Fromm for all your estate and tax planning needs. He has the most complete and thorough knowledge of current as well as pending federal, state, and local tax codes of any professional that I have ever been involved with. His ability to totally sort out your current financial condition and relate it to a plan to minimize your tax liability and allow you to sleep at night is without equal. He is professional, timely, creative, and an advocate for your needs, whether its personal or business. You can be assured that you will be well taken care of, with cutting edge/ sound financial and tax advice by Steven J. Fromm.
I have always found Steve to be very responsive, accurate and creative in legal matters presented to him. He demonstrates a good business sense. We have collaborated on several highly technical issues over the years. I look forward to our continuing relationship.
Steven has been instrumental in helping my partner and I to create a secure and satisfying estate plan, which meets or exceeds all of our wishes and contains contingencies for everything from medical issues to wealth management and living wills. In this process, Steven has also become a friend. If you need Estate Planning, Tax Advice, a Will or a trust, etc., we highly recommend Steven Fromm, Esquire. He will listen and be sensitive to your unique situation.
Steve is an excellent attorney who has provided help for my family personally for business, tax, and other services for many years. He is extremely knowledgeable and thorough, and is extremely good at explaining legal concepts to me in clear terms understandable to a non-attorney. It is difficult to pick only three attributes above, since Steve’s work meets most if not all of the attributes above.
Steve is an excellent corporate attorney who has a deep understanding of corporate law, taxes and estate planning. He’s been extremely helpful to me in keeping my many companies and business ventures organized, focused and squeaky clean. He’s very strong in estate planning and wealth preservation as well. Finally, his follow through is air tight and utterly dependable.
Steven is a trusted adviser. We depend on him for so many things. He is patient, listens to our needs and makes excellent suggestions. He is extremely talented. We value his advice and have recommended him unhesitatingly to friends and family.
Steve Fromm is a superb lawyer and I highly recommend him! After a terrible experience with a previous lawyer concerning an estate administration, I entered his office feeling very deflated, confused and discouraged. However, I left his office feeling enthusiastic and eager to get down to business. My situation was very unique, I needed his expertise for an array of things and Steve was able to address all of my needs. With a limited timeframe and an extreme amount of obstacles to overcome he worked meticulously, diligently and accomplished extraordinary results. His professionalism is incomparable and I am forever grateful.
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From their offices in Philadelphia, PA, the law firm of Steven J. Fromm & Associates, P.C. provides a full range of estate planning, probate and estate administration, tax, business and corporate legal services to clients throughout eastern Pennsylvania and the Delaware Valley, the Lehigh Valley Area, the Five-County Area, Bucks County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Chester County, Philadelphia County, Berks County, Lehigh County, Lancaster County, York County, Harrisburg, Norristown, Doylestown, Media, West Chester, Allentown, Lancaster, and Reading.