Business Succession Planning: Leaving a Multi-Generational Legacy

Business Succession Planning: Leaving a Multi-Generational Legacy

One of the reasons I decided to become an estate planning attorney was to help business owners leave more than a pile of rubble when they pass away.

I am a business owner myself. I’ve owned this law firm for almost eight years as of the writing of this.

I’ve poured blood, sweat, and tears into this business.

I’ve taken time away from my family for this business.

I’ve spent countless amounts of money on this business.

And I don’t want all of that time, work, and money to dwindle down to nothing after I’m gone.

The way to ensure your business continues on after you and provides everything you want and need for your family is through business succession planning.

Why is this necessary? Well, there are several problems that business owners encounter when trying to transition from being the person in charge to the person on the sidelines:

  1. Estimating the amount of death taxes with any degree of certainty because of the underlying difficulty in valuing a closely held business interest;
  2. A greater need for liquidity, because a closely held business interest is rarely liquid;
  3. A need to replace the owner’s salary income from the business to provide for their family’s support after the owner’s death; and
  4. When the owner is a key person in the business, the preservation of the business itself after the owner’s death.

The Key to a Successful Business Succession Plan is Actually Planning

Some people don’t want to talk about this stuff because they have to think about their mortality.

The truth, however, is that it’s going to happen at some point, and you have two options for dealing with it.

First, you can hide your head in the sand with the understanding that your family and business are likely to not just be devastated by your death but by the financial situation they are left in in the aftermath.

Second, you can view your business succession plan from an aspirational standpoint. You have the ability, right now, to not just protect your immediate family, but to protect everyone that works for and benefits from your business, and the next generations of your family.

The choice is yours.


Christopher Small
CMS Law Firm LLC
150 Lake St., Suite 227
Kirkland, WA 98033

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