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Succession planning for your small business

On Behalf of | Sep 26, 2018 | Estate Planning |

If you own a small business in Louisiana, there is a good chance that you have invested countless hours and a lot of money into getting the company off the ground and making it a success. Your family likely remembers waking up after you had already left the house, the many weekends without you, and the phone calls that drew you out of the house and back to work. The price was worth paying because you now have a thriving company that you can pass down to your children.

However, unless you make plans for that transition, you may find that all your hard work falls apart without you. If you become ill or incapacitated or pass away suddenly, the security you thought you had built for your family may turn into a burden for them.

Hard to let go

Without a succession plan, your loved ones may be left to deal with the difficult task of valuating and selling your business and dealing with the tax implications as well as your employees. There are small steps you can take to avoid these issues without completely relinquishing control of the business, and the earlier you begin planning, the more time you may have to prepare for letting it go.

Your business is your brainchild, and the thought of someone else taking the reins and perhaps changing its direction may seem unbearable. You are not alone. Almost 80 percent of business owners fail to plan for succession because they like what they do and are not ready to let it go. It may be comforting to know that you don’t have to give up control of your business in order to plan for a smooth succession.

Don’t put it off

For many people, the first step is to consider who will be the best candidate for taking over the business. If that’s not one of your children, maybe it’s a current employee who shows talent and interest. You can slowly groom your replacement by giving more responsibilities as time passes.

Another step is to consider your options for creating a trust that is designed to achieve your specific goals and those of your family. It is essential to discuss these matters with your family and how the trust will relate to your goals for the business. An attorney can help you clearly identify your goals and explain your best options for achieving them.

Creating a succession plan for your business will do more than keep your legacy alive. It will allow you to provide financial security for your family as long as your successors keep your company profitable.