Business Succession


Business succession planning is the art of transitioning the ownership and management of a closely held business from one ownership group to a younger generation of managers. Transferring equity and voting control within a family from a founder to his or her children is one of the most challenging but rewarding areas of business planning.  We craft successful succession strategies, with attention to all areas of corporate law, income, gift and estate tax law, trusts and estates law, employment law and mergers and acquisitions. We are sensitive to the emotional issues inherent in giving up control and evaluating the abilities of your children. We are most proud of our long term relationships with clients in the transition of their businesses through as many as four generations.

Techniques To Transfer Equity To The Next Generation At Reduced Tax Costs While Maintaining Voting Control.

  • Corporate recapitalizations creating voting and non-voting shares.
  • Creating preferred stock or preferred LLC and Partnership interests to preserve income that does not participate in future growth.
  • Transfers of equity interests using gifting strategies that take advantage of inter-family valuation discounts.
  • Transfers of equity interests on a gift tax free basis using grantor retained annuity trusts.
  • Sales of equity, free of capital gains, to grantor trusts.
  • Gifts of equity to spousal gifting trusts to maintain income for older generation.
  • Redemption agreements during lifetime or on death of older generation.
  • Shareholder, operating and partnership agreements.
  • Trusts to create asset protection against possible divorces and liabilities of the younger generation.
  • Employment agreements.
  • Director agreements on dividends and distributions.
  • Insurance funded buy-sell agreements.
  • Real estate structuring for tax reduction and separation from operating assets.

We work in concert with other attorneys, accountants, business psychologists, and appraisers to achieve the plan that works.

Dispute Resolution.

Business succession planning sometimes leads to disputes between business owners and family members. When egos, family loyalties and differing abilities clash, we have in many instances brought the family together. We find unique, cost effective resolutions with the aim of avoiding litigation. In many instances, our attorneys are advisors to the family and, as a result, are able to achieve a compromise among opposing personalities. If litigation cannot be avoided, our litigation attorneys provide a complete and efficient dispute resolution service to businesses and their owners.