Business Succession Planning

For many family or closely held business owners, the business comprises a significant portion of their wealth. These clients want to plan for and structure a successful, tax-efficient transfer of ownership, whether to a family member or a key employee, or by sale. A successful business transition requires proper planning and a thorough understanding of all factors. For the business, proper planning must address the management transition, the near- and long-term business liquidity requirements, and careful tax planning. For the family, it must involve estate planning; planning for equitable treatment of family members; implementing any charitable goals; and satisfying lifetime personal liquidity needs and, ultimately, estate tax burdens.

With more than 30 years of experience assisting clients in developing successful succession plans and exit strategies, Davis Malm's business succession attorneys help clients protect their financial assets and ensure their business' successful continuation. Our process most often requires a team approach. We include in the planning process Davis Malm attorneys who specialize in tax and estate planning, closely held business law, general corporate law, employment law, and employee benefits law, together with the client's other trusted advisors, such as investment consultants, financial planners, and accountants. We work closely with these advisors and with our clients to design the most effective succession plan with a thorough understanding of our client's business and long-term planning goals. Our business succession services include:
  • Preparation and implementation of planning techniques to reorganize, merge, or divide a business, and act as counsel in the event that a sale to third parties is desired.
  • Design for numerous closely held businesses the most tax-effective strategies for transferring wealth accumulated during a successful business career to succeeding generations, while also ensuring ample post-transition owner income.
  • Counsel businesses on optimal techniques for selling to management or larger employee groups, including planning for employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), which offer significant tax benefits to buyers and sellers.
  • Prepared for many closely held businesses client-centered buy-sell and governance agreements to provide a clear plan on how the business will be managed, how owners will be paid upon retirement, and how their estates will be compensated upon their death.
  • Participate in dispute resolution forums, including mediation and litigation in matters related to business succession.