Succession Planning for your Business In Chattanooga

Let’s begin at the end: what would happen to your business if you were to pass away? Whether your business is a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a single-member LLC, or a multi-member LLC/multishareholder corporation, planning and preparing for the transition of
your business is critical to help your family, your employees, and/or your co-owners either to continue the business or wrap up the affairs of the business upon your death.

There is no “one size fits” all approach to transition planning due to the wide array of factors to consider, including business size, industry, individual goals, and family dynamics, to name a few. If you are a sole-owner (sole proprietor, single-member LLC or single-shareholder corporation/scorporation), your family or designated agent will not have authority to act on behalf of the business (access accounts, sell assets) unless you have done some preparation. Additionally, if yours is a family business where family members (commonly children) work with you, is there one or two children who may be more capable of running the business? Can the children get along if they are forced to run the business together? More importantly, do any of the children want to take over the business?

If you are part of a multi-owner business, you and your co-owners need to determine what will happen in the event of an owner’s death. For example, if your co-owner dies, do you want to be in business with her spouse or family? If your answer is no, then you should run, and not walk, to get some succession planning in place. The same cautions apply to a transition upon retirement. Waiting until the day before you retire will inevitably end badly. The moral of the story is make succession planning a priority, not an afterthought. And for those among you who are superstitious, take heed – talking about death will not in fact cause death.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Many businesses have their own In-House General Counsel. This is a
great option for those businesses that have the volume of work and
can handle the substantial financial obligation. For most businesses,
even many larger businesses, this is simply neither necessary nor
practical. At McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stanley, PLLC we seek to offer those same In-House General Counsel options through our Outside General Counsel services. As your Outside General Counsel, we not only take the time to learn about your business, we seek to gain a meaningful understanding of it.

Attorneys from McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stanley, PLLC are prepared to respond to questions in a timely and knowledgeable way, whether it be to help you form a new business, review a contract or lease, prepare an employment agreement, pursue collections of accounts receivable, counsel you regarding employee disputes, or helping you think about succession planning.

We encourage you to call or email, no matter how small your matter or
question, just as though you had your own in-house counsel right
down the hall from your office. As part of our Outside General Counsel services, we can also ensure that if family or criminal law issues arise, we can point you to attorneys in our firm, as opposed to having to look for a new firm or attorney you don’t have a relationship with.

McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stanley, PLLC offers the knowledge, skill, and experience needed to help clients navigate the legal complexities inherent in Chattanooga business law matters, large and small. If you are looking for a lawyer, schedule a consultation. (Please do not include any confidential information in your inquiry.)

Importance Of Buy-Sell Agreements For Your Business

In any organization with several owners, there is a great chance that at some point, one or more of those proprietors may not be affiliated with the company, whether by choice, death, bankruptcy, or divorce. For business owners it is necessary to prepare for this ahead of time, to ensure that when one of these situations occur, there is a pre-existing agreement that sets out a legal way to deal with the circumstances. The best means to do this is with a buy-sell agreement.

A buy-sell agreement is a contract between business owners that determines who has a right to purchase a leaving proprietor’s share of business and establishes a fair price for the owner’s stake. The contract might likewise give procedures to fix disagreements when a bulk of the proprietors yet not all of the proprietors make a decision to offer the business. Here are some reasons that you, as an entrepreneur, don’t want to stay in business with other individuals (even household) without a buy-sell contract in place:

1. Ability to choose partners.

if you do not have a buy-sell arrangement in place, your partner’s stake in the business can be transferred to third-parties for many factors: your companion decides to market, declares bankruptcy and is compelled to sell, passes away, or gets divorced and also his partner winds up with some or every one of his shares. In this occasion, new partners will step in and typically they are the people you don’t want to rely on. This may threaten your business’s ability to continue on its current course.

2. Get bigger stake.

If one of your partner decides to quit, you have a method of getting his stake in the business so that he lose the capacity to influence the business after he is no longer entailed. Buy-sell agreements often require that an owner needs to market his stake back to the company or other partners. Also, given that buy-sell contracts supply a system for figuring out a fair rate in the departing partner’s stake, there’s no chance for an ex-partner to extort an unreasonably high sum on his way out.

3. Decrease your estate tax.

The valuation method proposed in a buy-sell agreement serves not only for purposes of an eventual sale, but likewise for estate tax valuation.  Independently possessed services are hard to value. A proprietor’s concept of a company’s well worth at his death could be much less than the IRS’s. Nevertheless, if you have a buy-sell contract in place, as long as such contract is a bona fide arms length transaction, you could utilize the method consisted of in that agreement as evidence as to just how business should be valued. However if no process for valuing the business has actually been put into location, the IRS will certainly be cost-free to establish its very own value.

4. Protection Of Shareholders

It could secure minority shareholders from being cheated out of the proceeds of a sale of business. For example, after the sale of the business, the minority proprietors will certainly be entitled to the exact same cost each share as the bulk owners. This prevents bulk shareholders from conspiring with a purchaser of the business and also drawing out a control premium from the purchaser to the detriment of the minority shareholders. On the other hand, such agreements prevent minority shareholders from vetoing a sale of the business. If it includes a drag along stipulation, then a bulk of proprietors can force the entire business to be sold. Without this, it is possible that even a 1% proprietor can hold up a whole bargain, possibly to extort the other owners for a greater portion of the sales proceeds.

5. Protect Your Family Members

Among the most likely reasons to leave your own business or transfer your stake is disability or, what is worse, fatality. In such cases you will probably not be capable of working out in behalf of your family. Your relatives family will need and should be paid the fair worth for your hard work and efforts you put  into the development of your company. If there is no buy-sell contract in place, the other owners may be reluctant to pay a reasonable quantity for your risk and also are most likely to at least negotiate against your family members. A buy-sell contract ensures in a pre-agreed way that the work you take into your service deals with the people you appreciate a lot of.

A buy-out between co-owners of a business (including redemption of shares by the business entity) is often routine, but it can be the result of a tense, stressful negotiation. McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stanley, PLLC is experienced in both these situations, and for those clients who wish to plan ahead, we help avoid the disruption that a hostile buy-out negotiation causes by drafting a buy-sell agreement ahead of time. Contact us if you are looking for a lawyer, schedule a consultation. (Please do not include any confidential information in your inquiry.)