Business Succession Planning

Effective business succession planning can reduce estate tax exposure and help provide liquidity if taxes will be due. It can also ease conflicting interests among family members or business partners that can threaten the long-term survival of a family’s most prized asset.

Attorneys in Taft’s Business Succession Planning practice counsel owners of closely-held businesses in establishing organizational structures that satisfy their current and long-term needs. Our attorneys draw on the experience of those in the firm’s estate planning and tax practices, business and finance and real estate practices, and labor and employment practice to design and implement strategic succession plans.

We help clients implement new structural strategies, prepare clients for the transfer of their business to the next generation (whether during the owner’s lifetime or upon death) and provide for liquidity for taxes and family members or investors not active in the business.

Our comprehensive range of business succession planning services includes:

  • Selecting the most advantageous entity to hold, manage and transfer the business, such as S and C corporations, limited liability companies and partnerships.
  • Designing a structure to accomplish the owner's specific goals (such as maintaining control, raising capital, avoiding outside owners and providing for a smooth transition in ownership and management).
  • Establishing a comprehensive estate plan that takes advantage of all available tax credits and exclusions.
  • Analyzing the potential for and administering property in estates and trusts, including revocable and irrevocable living trusts, generation skipping and dynasty trusts, asset protection trusts and others.
  • Preparing necessary legal documents pertaining to mental health directives and powers of attorney.
  • Using family limited partnerships and other mechanisms for transferring equity while maintaining control and deferring or avoiding tax.
  • Analyzing liquidity needs to fund buyouts upon retirement, death or disability and to pay taxes.
  • Building charitable planning plans, including charitable remainder trusts and private foundations.
  • Using life insurance and other assets to equalize the inheritances of children who will not be significant owners of the business with those who will own the business.
  • Planning for retention of key employees who are not family members.
  • Designing employment policies to facilitate compliance with applicable laws and to further promote the owner's business objectives.
  • Assisting the owner in balancing the diverse interests and needs of different generations and in resolving intra-family conflicts.
  • Preparing prenuptial and postnuptial agreements and providing advice regarding the dissolution of a marriage or divorce to protect business interests and preserve family wealth.

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