Once you’re past the startup phase of your small business, it is time to start thinking about your business succession plan. If you are years from retirement, this may be the last item on your to-do list. You surely have enough to do in your daily operations without building in time to work on the future. However, succession of your business should be built into any business plan from the beginning.
Starting from your choice of name for your company (have you named it after yourself? While law firms in New York have no choice but to include the owner’s name in the name, is your company name going to prevent an orderly transition?) you should be thinking about succession planning. After all, you would not have started a business if you had no expectations it would live on to support you during your retirement, and hopefully continue to take care of your family after you are no longer able to do so.
A business succession plan should be considered years before you plan to retire in case of a sudden emergency, such as a serious accident or illness.
Business succession planning should also be an integral part of your estate plan. You must consider where the money will come from to pay estate taxes, or, if you have a partner, where the money will come from to buy out the deceased partner’s share.
f you own a small business either as a sole proprietor, or an S- or C-Corporation, or LLC, you need to consult with a business lawyer and your accountant to start planning for an orderly transition.