Business Succession Planning: What You Need to Know

Speak with a Estate Planning Attorney
Call NowEmail Now

Business succession planning is one of the most important steps you can take for your company. The Law Office of Paul Black can help. Call for a consultation!

Author: Paul Black

Paul’s experience as the son of two parents with big health challenges is what led him to the work he does today and gives him first-hand knowledge of the challenges that many caregivers and family members face. After graduation from GSU Law, Paul was chosen from dozens of applicants nationwide as one of three 2010-2011 Borchard Foundation Law & Aging Fellows. Paul has been named as  a SuperLawyers “Rising Star” in the area of Estate Planning and as a member of Georgia’s “Legal Elite” by Georgia Trend magazine. Published on: May 09, 2023.

Business Succession Planning

Business Succession Planning section

It’s never too early to start planning for your family’s future.

If you have questions, I’m here to help. There is no commitment and we provide free initial 15-minute phone calls. We look forward to meeting you.

Business succession planning is essential for the future of a business. It provides for a smooth business transition, so it will continue to operate smoothly even when key personnel retire or leave the company. This type of exit strategy provides future owners with the resources and confidence they need to take ownership of the business. It involves identifying future leaders, crafting a plan to transfer ownership, and guiding the transition.

Ignoring the exit planning of a business is very common, yet it’s just as essential as preparing for its startup. It’s crucial to give this step the same attention for long-term success.

Building a team of professionals responsible for its planning is advisable to ensure a smooth transition process. This team should consist of an attorney and perhaps a tax accountant, at the minimum, in addition to other key members.

The Law Office of Paul Black can help when you need a qualified estate planning attorney. By planning, a business owner can ensure that their operations remain successful for years.

Benefits of Succession Planning for Small Business

Formalizing succession plans can benefit both employers and employees in several ways:

  • When employees know they have the chance to advance and possibly gain ownership, they feel more empowered and satisfied with their jobs.

  • Employees’ career development is reinforced when future opportunities are outlined.

  • A succession plan by management includes mentorship by supervisors to transfer knowledge and expertise to employees.

  • A better understanding of the value of employees allows management to fill positions internally when the need arises.

  • Company values and vision are better shared between leadership and employees.

  • When succession planning is done properly, shareholders of public companies benefit, especially if the next candidate for CEO has experience operating the business years before the current CEO retires. When the CEO retires, investors will not sell the company’s stock if a succession plan is well-communicated.

  • A succession plan can also cultivate a new generation of leaders, thereby allowing business owners to sell their stakes in the company.

Ultimately, it can help businesses remain competitive by providing stability and continuity of operations even when fundamental personnel change.

The Business Succession Planning Process

The succession strategy is an integral part of any organization’s long-term planning. Business succession planning is a critical process for any business owner or executive. It deals with transferring ownership and management responsibilities to another person or group, ensuring business continuity.

It involves selecting, developing, and training personnel to fill critical positions in the organization to ensure its continued success. Maintaining competitive advantage and securing the future of an organization is easier when a succession plan is well planned.

When determining a succession strategy, it is crucial to consider factors such as the current needs of the organization, its future goals and objectives, potential candidates for critical positions, and the resources available for training and development.

Succession planning requires careful consideration of all aspects of the business, including financial considerations, legal requirements, and personal goals. In addition, it’s important to consider how your departure may affect key relationships, such as:

  • Suppliers
  • Customers
  • Employees
  • Family members

Organizations should also consider how they will measure success when implementing their strategy. By considering all these factors, organizations can ensure that they are making informed decisions about who will be responsible for leading them into the future.

By planning, business owners can ensure that their legacy will live on and that their businesses will continue to thrive.


Basic Steps of Succession Planning

In order to create a comprehensive succession plan, five critical steps must be followed to ensure a smooth transition of power. These are as follows:

  1. Identify the need for succession
  2. Assess candidates’ performance
  3. Develop a selection process
  4. Implement the selection process
  5. Evaluate the plan’s success

Business Succession Planning Checklist

Creating a checklist of all the tasks and processes that need to be completed will ensure an effective succession plan and protect the company’s assets, ensuring it remains competitive in today’s rapidly changing market. This checklist should include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Setting a deadline
  • Choosing a successor
  • Determining the business’s worth
  • Choosing the strategy

Following this checklist can ensure a smooth transition for your business when new leadership is appointed. An experienced business succession attorney can help you determine what else needs to be done and make sure a customized plan is created for your business.


What Is an Employee Stock Ownership Plan?


Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOP) are benefit plans that allow employees to own a stake in their company. It is a form of deferred compensation where the company sets aside shares of its stock for employees. This can be used as an incentive to boost morale and productivity and be part of effective succession planning for small businesses.

By investing in their own company, employees can benefit from increased profits and potential appreciation in the value of their investments as the business grows.

How Can an Attorney Help With Business Succession Planning?

Crafting a solid succession plan is not a straightforward process. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution that works for everyone. Nonetheless, the reality is that simply waiting for an exit strategy to reveal itself won’t work; you need to make an effort and actively plan it out.

Business succession planning requires the help of an experienced attorney who can advise on how to structure the transition, create documents such as wills and trusts, and advise on tax implications. An attorney can also help with estate planning, which is vital for protecting assets from creditors and ensuring that heirs receive their inheritance promptly.

You can hire an attorney to assist you with a variety of business strategy matters, such as asset protection for real estate investors, avoiding problems with trusts, or developing a cash balance plan.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email