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Attorney Randy Ratliff

Business Succession Planning

Nashville Attorneys Protecting the Future of Organizations

Business Succession PlanningIt takes years of hard work, sacrifice, and dedication to build a successful business. Unfortunately, many small business owners are so focused on the daily activities of maintaining and growing their businesses that they neglect to take the steps necessary to make sure that a financially smart and effective succession plan is in place. An estate planning attorney can help them determine what happens should they become disabled, pass away, or decide to retire. Nashville business succession planning lawyer Randy Ratliff can help business owners protect important assets and ensure that there is an appropriate exit plan in place to continue the business if a key person becomes incapacitated or dies.

There are many reasons to plan now, rather than later, for the future ownership and management transition of a small or medium-size business. Having a vague idea about eventually selling the business to fund the owner’s retirement is not a meaningful “business succession plan.” Some points to consider when developing a long-term succession strategy include whether the owner envisions keeping the business within the family and whether family members are “on board” with this decision. Ideally, there should also be a plan for notifying other stakeholders (such as employees, investors, and customers) about any changes in the leadership of the company.

Working Alongside Other Professionals to Develop a Sound Strategy for Exiting a Business

A business succession planning attorney at our Nashville firm can work with a business owner’s financial adviser or accountant to explore the most tax-efficient options to sell assets outright or minimize the tax consequences of transferring the business to the next generation. For example, the Small Business Administration has a loan program that may help a qualified buyer, such as a trusted and loyal employee, with the purchase of a business upon the owner’s retirement or other exit. Protecting personal assets from business creditors (or a business partner’s creditors) may also be of concern to a business owner; we can help a client explore ways to protect assets or at least minimize the impact of debt issues.

Additionally, our firm can help a small business owner with estate planning issues, such as wills, trusts, living wills, durable powers of attorney, and health care directives. While it is advisable for everyone to have a will in order to avoid being declared intestate and having their property dispersed by operation of law, this is especially true for people who hold business property. Generally, the law of intestate succession directs that all of a decedent’s property be sold, their debts satisfied, and any remaining proceeds paid to certain relatives (usually a spouse and children) in percentages established by statute. However, this “default estate plan” rarely reflects the wishes of someone who has spent a lifetime building up the value and goodwill of a company. Additionally, the tax ramifications of a failure to plan for the succession of one’s business may be substantial.

Seek Assistance from a Business Succession Planning Lawyer in Nashville

There are many variables in life over which we have no control. The future of one’s business and the dispersion of one’s assets in the event of death, disability, or retirement do not need to be among those uncertainties. With proper consideration and planning, a business owner can rest assured, knowing that a contingency plan is in place to secure business, real, and personal property that has taken a lifetime to acquire. Call us today at 615-656-8282 or contact us online to schedule a convenient time to come in and talk with a knowledgeable Nashville business succession planning attorney about your situation. Our office is conveniently located in Brentwood, and we serve clients throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties, including people in Antioch, Hermitage, Madison, Goodlettsville, Joelton, Franklin, Brentwood, and Cool Springs. We can also assist people in need of an elder law attorney or guidance in a family law matter.