Attorneys Who Understand Their Clients

How can I smoothly pass on my business to my kids?

Running a family business may have been a dream of yours for years. When that dream came to fruition, you likely felt proud and looked forward to the future where you and your children would operate the company together. Now that your retirement years are getting closer, you are probably thinking about business succession and how to smoothly transfer the ownership of your Pennsylvania business on to your kids.

Even if your family has gotten along well over the years while doing business together, you certainly do not want to cause any unnecessary strife among your children or put the company in jeopardy due to poor planning. Fortunately, you understand this importance and are taking steps to start the planning process.

How can you plan for successful succession?

You can include information about future succession in your company’s business plan. This plan details the goals and aspirations for the future of the company, and if you have intended to pass the business on to your kids from the beginning, you may have included how you intend to complete that transition in your business plan. Of course, depending on how close you are to implementing the succession plan, you may need to review and adjust your succession plans as the years go by.

As the time draws closer to put your succession plan into action, considering the following aspects is essential:

  • Do you plan to gift company stock to your children, or will you require them to put up capital to purchase their stock in the company?
  • Have your children shown a true commitment to the business, and do you trust them to take over for the good of the company as well as the good of your other employees?
  • Have your children received the training to properly take over and run the company?
  • Will you stay on as an advisor in a temporary or permanent capacity after succession, or will you fully hand over the reins and step away?
  • Have you drawn up a family pact — a formal document with terms regarding ways to resolve familial conflict, how joining and leaving the company will occur, and how family members can transfer their stock?
  • Have you created a will that indicates what should happen to your share of the stock in the event of your passing?

Succession planning takes a lot of thought, and as much as you love your children, you need to ensure that they are ready to take over when the time comes and that your decision to put them in charge will not harm the company and your other employees. Fortunately, taking the time to plan can give you the opportunity to consider these important factors in detail.