Planning the future of a family business is as important to a family as any other essential event. As such, it is important to plan for the future of the company once its founder is no longer able to run it. Business owners are faced with difficult decisions. Do you pass the company on to your children? If so, do not do it all at once but rather in portions of stock to avoid facing an enormous gift tax. Depending on the circumstances, estate taxes may also become part of the equation.
If the children have no interest or desire to run the company or perhaps lack the skills essential to doing so, it may be beneficial to consider a “buy-sell agreement”. This would dictate how this business is to be sold and what kind of payments you would like to receive. A lump sum? Smaller payments made over an extended period of time? Either way, it is important to start planning now. Experts caution procrastinators that the IRS is likely to question last minute transactions.