Jennifer Remondino and Daniel Borst, attorneys with Warner Norcross & Judd, did not disappoint at the FBA’s sold out November Lunch & Learn on Estate Planning for Family Business.
Jennifer and Dan shared the key to success for family businesses that defy the odds and successfully transition from generation to generation: It takes thoughtful, proactive planning and good communication.
Everyone should have an estate plan that includes a will and disability documents (a Durable Power of Attorney and Patient Advocate Designation). But as a business owner, you have much more to consider. You must plan for the transition of management and ownership of your business after you’re gone.
Jennifer and Dan shared some key questions to help get business owners thinking through this:
- Who will operate the business?
- Who will own the business?
- How and when will the transition to future owners occur? If it is before your death, what will your role look like after the transition?
- What will ownership look like for children active vs. not active in the business? What is fair?
- Will in-laws be involved, and if so, how?
Every family’s approach to this will be different and there is a slew of tools to help families create a plan that accounts for their wishes once these tough decisions are made. Jennifer and Dan provided several examples and talked in depth about the tax advantages of good planning.
Tools and taxes aside, no matter how successful you’ve been in business, the biggest gift you can give your heirs is to tackle these topics now. Working with a professional to get your plans in order will ensure the future success of your business, protect the assets you’ve worked so hard to acquire, and save your children a great deal of turmoil once you’re gone.
Marci Schafer, Interim Executive Director of Family Business Alliance. Marci can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (616)771-0574
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