You need a lawyer. We put you first with personalized representation. Our attorneys are here to support you.

Group photo of attorneys Gary C. Angiuli, Annamarie Gulino Gentile and Stefanie Lynn DeMario

Succession planning for business owners: Two important considerations

On Behalf of | Mar 19, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Succession planning involves preparing for the future of your business by identifying and developing new leaders who can seamlessly transition into the role when current leaders leave, retire, or pass away. This process helps to better ensure that a business remains strong and continues operations without interruption. It is not just about preparing for the unexpected; it is also about creating a roadmap for growth and transition that aligns with the long-term goals of the business.

Have a plan.

A successful succession plan should include these two key elements:

  1. Identification of potential successors, and
  2. Development of transition plans.

It is wise for current leadership to identify potential successors early and nurture candidates to take over the business’s reins. A recent analysis in the Harvard Business Review notes that one of the biggest problems with succession plans is the focus on hiring outside leaders instead of working with potential suitors within the organization. It can be wise to hire individuals into key positions to see if they could work as successors. This can give leadership time to determine if the candidate would serve the business well while also providing an opportunity to begin training the individual to fill the role.

The process involves more than just choosing a successor; it involves preparing them for the role. Transition plans are equally important as they outline the steps necessary for the business to continue smoothly after the current owner or leader exits.

Account for legal considerations.

In addition to drafting a plan and finding potential successors, business leaders should also understand and account for the potential legal impacts of this transition. Business owners are wise to consider various legal factors, including:

  • Transfer of ownership. The process will likely involve various legal documents, potentially including buy-sell agreements and other contracts.
  • Estate taxes. Review the potential impact of tax obligations. Proper planning can help you avoid a significant financial burden on the successor or the business.
  • Legal documentation. Additional documentation may be required to ease the transition. These could include wills and trusts, should be in place to ensure a smooth transition.

Choosing a successor and putting a plan in place is just the beginning. It is also important to make sure you have a plan in place to execute the transition.

It is also important to note that regular review and updates are necessary, as business circumstances and personal situations change over time. By considering the legal implications, developing a clear plan, and seeking professional advice, business owners can better ensure a seamless transition and the continued success of their enterprise.



FindLaw Network