Expect to Keep Working? You Still Need a Succession Plan

If you’re a business owner who loves what you do, you consider your business to be one of your biggest achievements after your family and enjoy the challenges it presents. As for retiring, why should you?

Some business owners are reluctant to even consider selling the business or retiring. They don’t make a succession plan, says The San Antonio Business Journal in the article, “Plan your exit even if you never plan to leave your business,” and that can lead to a disaster for their family and their employees. That’s something the business owner needs to consider—and why even if they plan on working, until they are carried out, they need a succession plan.

Bigstock-Couple-running-bookshop-13904324Decrease your taxes. Whether you ultimately decide to sell your business, transfer ownership or die working, you probably don't want to pay more taxes than you have to. There are two ways exit planning can help minimize taxes, even if you truly want to work until you die. If your business value increases, your estate can benefit from a step-up in basis, if your ownership transfers pursuant to your estate plan. This saves your estate or beneficiaries from paying duplicate taxes on the entire business value.

The lifetime exclusion for gift and estate taxes is now to the point where most small and mid-sized business owners don’t need to pay estate taxes, if owners have created an appropriate estate plan. Your exit plan lets you leverage these benefits, since estate planning is a vital component in proper exit planning.

Protect your values. If you created a work culture that’s so unique and strong that it helps your company stand out in the marketplace or your business gives back to the community through charity work, exit planning lets you pursue and preserve your progress toward those objectives. Exit planning strategies can foster the culture you’ve built, protect the employees who made the business a success, and help you build the legacy you want. Exit planning can help keep your chosen values front and center and protect its value, even without your presence.

Growing your business. Everyone wants their business to grow in value, but many business owners get to a point where they can’t grow the company any more, by simply doing the same things they’ve been doing. However, exit planning concentrates on building business value, whether you exit or not. These activities can help you increase your business’ growth potential, by emphasizing value drivers. Those are the aspects of your business that make it attractive to buyers. When it’s done the right way, installing value drivers can make your ownership even more fulfilling—concentrating on certain value drivers can let you focus on only your favorite tasks within the business and delegate your least favorite responsibilities to other qualified employees.

You may keep working until the very end, or you may encounter a life event that makes you rethink how much of your time you want to devote to the business. Either way, a succession plan is like an estate plan for your business. It protects your family at home and your work family. Both will appreciate you doing so.

Speak with an estate planning attorney who can help you with your personal and business plans for the future.

Reference: The San Antonio Business Journal (October 16, 2018) “Plan your exit even if you never plan to leave your business”