Succession Planning

Business Succession Planning

At The Atlanta Probate Team we have been offering legal advice and counsel regarding business succession planning for decades. Guided by a thorough understanding of matters such as business law, taxation, and probate law, we help clients find personalized solutions to wealth-transfers.

If you have a business or business interests, it is important to consider what will happen to these assets if you become incapacitated or pass away.

Regardless of your participation in the overall operation, business succession planning should be an integral part of your estate plan. By taking it into consideration you may protect you and your beneficiaries’ total wealth.

Importance of a Succession Plan

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In the U.S., a majority of businesses are family owned. These range from large enterprises to small single-shop operations.  Regardless of how big or small a business is, tax implications and other consequences could occur during a succession transfer. You may avoid these hurdles by having an individually crafted plan for the easy transfer of your business to a partner, family member, third party, or other business entity.

Although you can create this plan on your own, a lawyer may consider the current structure such as LLC, corporation, sole proprietorship, or limited partnership. He or she may also discuss any specific objectives and review documentation to ensure everything is in the right place. A business succession lawyer such as The Atlanta Probate Team might help you to:

  • Significantly reduce or eliminate estate taxes
  • Avoid probate or lengthy disputes
  • Establish a monetary value for the business
  • Determine who will operate the business
  • Structure the business to be an entity that suits your needs and protects your wealth
  • Consider financial interests of heirs not involved in the business
  • Provide for the transfer of your interests to those involved in the business
  • Prevent the sale of a family member’s interest to a person not related to the family
  • Develop further planning to resolve disputes
  • Provide for transfer costs, taxes, and other expenditures
  • Restructure responsibilities and positions

If you think your business requires any of the aforementioned, please contact The Atlanta Probate Team today to discuss your succession concerns.

Why You Should Consider Succession Planning?

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There are a number of reasons to consider the future of your family business. However, planning should be done early on rather than waiting until retirement or after becoming diagnosed with an illness. This is because even young business owners are susceptible to unforeseeable circumstances, include disability, incapacitation, or death. When you engage in business succession planning, you can feel confident in knowing the business will be taken care of.

Coordinating the Right Business Success Planning

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The Atlanta Probate Team provides flexible and practical business succession advice based upon the characteristics of the operation, goals, and any special personal circumstances. We work closely with each client and any third party financial professionals to develop a seamless, integrated business succession plan. We identify and consider important business factors, such as buy-sell agreements, voting trusts, and future changes in ownership. Our lawyers may also ensure any current trust or testamentary instruments support the plan for a smooth transfer of assets and control.

Can a Business Succession Lawyer Help with a Business Divorce?

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Yes.  If your business gets to a point where you and the other partners fail to get along, the dissolution of your business can be as emotional as a divorce in family court. When you first enter into a business, you form an entity to limit your liability and save money on taxes. These advantageous benefits disappear when you decide to dissolve the business, but your liabilities will not.

Under the law, when you no longer do business or decide to terminate the business entity, you need to go through the process of dissolution that will be the formal end of the business entity. This process can be voluntary or involuntary, contested or agreed. Because the law mandates the dissolution of your business, and liability may be present after dissolution, it is very important to develop a comprehensive exit strategy, especially if one or more partners contest the dissolution.

The Benefits of Business Succession Planning

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There are so many benefits to planning out the succession of your business. Besides the certainty and security of knowing what will happen with your company, there are several more advantage to business succession planning. Some include:

You Can Maintain Control – A business succession plan will give you, the owner, a certain level of control of the company until you are comfortable with the current management and ready to turn it over to your named heir.

You Can Receive Income – If you get started early on, your planning can help you to secure income for your retirement.

Reduce Your Taxes – With the right business succession plan, your estate taxes could be reduced. Furthermore, it is possible to give your business as a gift which would remove all or some of the value of the business from your estate.

Business Succession Plans Are Flexible – These plans give you the ability to consider different options about your business and find one that may be best for its growth and sustainability. A business succession plan also allows changes, or alterations, to be made if any circumstances change.

Family Drama May Be Reduced – When there is no business succession plan in place, or solid estate plan, it is possible for family conflict to occur. This is likely the last thing that you want. By creating a business succession plan, the role of every heir can be explicitly stated; thereby, potentially saving you and all those involved from a dispute.

If you would like to get started on business succession planning, please call the Atlanta Probate Team for a complimentary consultation with a business succession lawyer.

Business Succession Planning 101

You have invested a lifetime of time and energy into building a successful company. You may not however, have invested time into planning and developing a strategy to keep the business operating in the event of your disability, retirement or death. This scenario is quite common. More often than not, business owners are so busy managing the day-to-day operations of the company that devising an exit strategy becomes an item on a list of things to do “someday.”

Your exit from the business will have an impact on your employees, as well as your family, your assets and your tax obligations. Establishing a method of transferring control of your business is a crucial part of your business plan and estate plan.

The attorneys at the Atlanta Probate Team regularly counsel owners of privately owned businesses in all facets of business succession planning. We help business owners prepare for a smooth transition of ownership, with the goals of maintaining relationships with family and essential non-family employees and minimizing income and estate taxes.

Typical issues in business succession planning include:

  • Valuing the business
  • Identifying potential future owners and managers
  • Maintaining loyalty of key employees through incentives
  • Fair treatment of family members active in the business versus those who are not

We are in the business of counseling and assisting clients on matters involving the use of buy-sell agreements, non-compete agreements, life insurance arrangements, stock options, deferred compensation arrangements, wealth transfer through trusts, and other estate and tax planning documents.

With full understanding that business succession planning is closely related to personal estate planning, the depth of our experience in both areas provides our clients the opportunity to comprehensively prepare for both the exit from their business and the management and transfer of their personal estate.

Contact a member of our Business Succession Planning Group to discuss your situation.  The success and growth of your company in the next generation is a rewarding legacy.

Types of Dissolution

There are a few types of dissolution, some already mentioned above, which include voluntary dissolution, involuntary dissolution, agreed dissolution, or contested dissolution.

  • Voluntary dissolution occurs when the members, partners, or shareholders vote to dissolve the business.
  • Involuntary dissolution occurs when the state or court orders the dissolution of your business.
  • Agreed dissolution occurs when a majority of the members, shareholders or partners agree to dissolve the business.
  • Contested dissolution occurs when some partners, members, or shareholders want to dissolve the business but others don’t feel the same way.

Overview of the Dissolution Process

Georgia’s laws dictate the dissolution process for the various types of business entities. The typical process is as follows:

  • The first step in the dissolution process is to have a vote amongst the members, partners or shareholders, to initiate the process of dissolution.
  • The second step includes filing a Certificate of Dissolution with the state.
  • Third, a final tax return must be filed for the business, prior to it being terminated. Tax obligations may persist after dissolution.
  • Fourth, all creditors of the business must be notified that it is dissolving and settle all claims with them.
  • Lastly, business assets must be distributed or sold and assigned in proportion to the business owners based on their respective percentage of ownership.
This is just a general overview of the dissolution process. Depending on what type of business you operate, there may be other laws or regulations that you must follow. A business succession lawyer at the Atlanta Probate Team can offer guidance in your particular situation. However, it is important to note that dissolving businesses usually run into issues when they fail to notify creditors of the dissolution. If you fail to notify creditors about the dissolution of your business, they can quite possibly sue you even after the business is dissolved.

Contact a Skilled Business Succession Attorney with the Atlanta Probate Team

Running a business is complex in nature. If your business is on the brink of dissolving or you would like to begin business succession arrangements, you should contact an experienced business succession lawyer Atlanta, GA clients recommend from The Atlanta Probate Team who will be able to advise you of the most efficient way to dissolve your business, assist you in dealing with the partners, members, or shareholders, and give you peace of mind knowing that all of the liabilities of the business will be taken care of.

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Contact us to schedule a consultation or ask a question.

1882 Princeton Ave. Ste 1
Atlanta, Georgia 30337

(404) 658-9900

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