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Business owners are often so busy with the day-to-day issues of running and growing their companies that the issue of business succession is often overlooked or left on the “back burner” until it’s too late. What would happen to your business if you died or were unable to work due to disability? Would your co-owners, managers, employees, and family members know what to do, and would they have the guidelines and tools needed to maintain your business?


What Will Be The Legacy of Your Business When You Die?

As a business owner, you have most likely devoted countless amounts of time, energy, and money into building and managing your company. As a result, your business may comprise a significant portion of your estate. Unfortunately, the business that provides for you and your family now may not do so at your death. What will be the legacy of your business when you die?


Most owners begin planning by deciding whether to pass the business on to a family member, associate, employee, or someone outside of the company. The heart and soul of a good business succession plan is the buy/sell agreement – a contract between owners, or the business itself and owners. It is a legally binding agreement that obligates the estate of the deceased to sell the interest of the business, defined at a predetermined price, to either the business itself (in a redemption agreement), to co-partners or shareholders (in a cross-purchase agreement), or to both (in a hybrid agreement). It creates a market for the business interest of the deceased, sets the price, and governs the transition of the business.


A buy/sell agreement is only as good as the funding available to execute it. For this reason, most agreements stipulate how the purchase is to be funded. Since the agreement is triggered at the time of your death, life insurance may be the logical and most cost-effective funding choice.


Selecting a succession plan can be an involved process. Certain tax, estate planning, and control advantages exist with each option.


Employee Benefits

Offering a retirement benefit plan can help your business attract and retain employees while making it easier for you to save for your own retirement. Fortunately, choosing a plan may not be as difficult as you might imagine.


Your Competitive Edge

As an employer, you have an obligation to provide your employees with compensation in exchange for work performed on your behalf. In addition, you have the opportunity to create an employee benefit plan that will improve the satisfaction of current employees and enhance recruitment efforts, as well as provide tax incentives for your company. Offering a solid benefits plan now may help you attract and retain employees that will assist you in maintaining your competitive edge. Keeping employees satisfied is a challenge that affects all employers.


A well-crafted 401(k) plan presentation can go a long way toward boosting participation rates in your company’s retirement plan. By targeting the information session to your employees’ needs, you can help them make the most of their retirement plan option.


Target Your Audience

Avoid the “one size fits all” presentation. Gear the material to the audience’s level of knowledge. If your workforce includes both new and experienced participants, consider offering two presentations and allowing your employees to choose the one that is most appropriate for their needs.

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