With our own experience as small business owners combined with our role as advisors, we are able to provide informed guidance to our clients on business planning strategies, such as succession planning, employee benefits planning, key personnel retention strategies, financing strategies, business use of insurance analysis, intra-family and business transfer techniques, and others.
Closely held business owners will, at some point, have to address the issue of transferring ownership of their business for estate planning purposes, retirement planning, and/or providing for continuation of business operations in the event of unexpected health issues. One of the most fundamental tools for implementing this transfer is a buy-sell agreement. Simply stated, a buy-sell agreement is an agreement between owners, much like a will for an individual that establishes protocol in the event of an owner’s death, disability or retirement so the remaining stakeholders maintain their control and have the ability to continue the business.
Buy-sell agreements address the key issues surrounding the transfer of the business, such as who will buy the company and for how much, how the buyout will be financed, and the method of the payments. In addition, some of the advantages of these agreements include that they prevent any one owner from selling his or her shares without approval from the other owners, keeping the structure and business goals in tact without intrusion from an outsider. When properly structured, a buy-sell agreement can prevent a forced liquidation or sale of the business when an owner departs, allowing the business to continue operating.
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