Business succession planning is planning for the orderly transfer of the management and the ownership of a business to new managers and new owners to avoid a liquidation of the business as well as unnecessary taxes and other expenses, and in a manner that carries out the family’s nontax objectives. The business owner planning to transfer the business to the next generation is confronted with many issues, including whether the owner should sell the business during the owner’s lifetime, whether the business should be continued after the owner’s death, who will control the business after the owner’s death, who will own the business after the owner’s death, and who will manage the business after the owner retires or dies.

The owner of a closely held business will have many of the following objectives: retaining control of the business, retaining income to continue the lifestyle of the owner and owner’s spouse, satisfying estate-planning objectives, providing for the continuity of the business, concern for employees of the entity and for the community in which the business is located, reducing transfer and income taxes and administration expenses, and providing for liquidity, including the payment of estate taxes.

There are a number of options available to the owner, including a sale of assets, a sale of stock, a sale to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), a sale to employees, a sale to children, and a tax free acquisition. All of these involve many tax and nontax issues. The failure to develop or implement a plan could lead to the liquidation of the business, including bankruptcy, resulting in the loss of intangible value, including good will and going concern value.

The Business Succession Planning Team at The Yocca Law Firm is uniquely qualified to assist the closely held business owner in developing a business succession plan that will successfully carry out his or her tax and nontax objectives.

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