Most family-owned businesses are built with legacy in mind—founders want their hard work to pass down through generations and provide opportunities for other family members to unite around a shared mission. In order to realize this dream, there are a number of legal, tax, business, and financial issues that should be addressed from the start, or at least when the objective of succession comes into clear view.
We help our clients with the legal issues that all businesses face, as well as those unique to family-owned businesses, including:
Business Structure and Operational Procedures: Well before succession occurs, businesses must establish documented processes, procedures, mission statements, and strategies, as well as legal, accounting, and financial frameworks in order to ensure smooth operation and transition. Many successful family owned businesses find having an outside advisory team including an accountant, technology consultant, banker, insurance agent and attorney imperative to mitigating risk and pursing opportunities.
Employment Policies, Compensation, and Benefits: A happy and productive workforce—consisting of family and non-family workers, alike—is a critical component to your success. Foster Swift assists family-owned businesses in designing employment-related procedures that are both compliant and effective, including personnel policies, employee benefits, incentive plans, and executive compensation.
Business Disputes: It can be very rewarding to work closely with those closest to you, however, at times mixing family relationships into an already complex business environment poses special challenges. Our attorneys counsel family-owned businesses in advance so that these issues can be avoided in the first place, but when they do arise, we are well-equipped to address litigation, transactional, tax, estate planning, and other issues as appropriate.
Business Valuation: One of the biggest sticking points (and flashpoints) for family-owned businesses is determining a fair valuation of the business that all stakeholders can agree upon, or at least accept. Our attorneys help clients evaluate and value businesses, plan and structure the division of businesses among shareholders, and consider the tax implications of actions that impact control.
Succession Planning. Without careful planning and robust communication, it’s difficult for a family founder to leave a legacy business to future generations. At many different levels, Foster Swift helps family businesses plan and execute succession planning, including issues related to planned gifting, business sales, estate planning or part-gift/part-sale transactions.
In addition to these issues, Foster Swift offers a full-range of business and tax law services to help your business stay successful and compliant. In short, Foster Swift can assist with all of the challenges and opportunities that your business faces.
Publications & Alerts
- Understanding and Avoiding Post-Death Disputes, January 2019 Agricultural Law News, January 30, 2019
- Three Myths about Farm Succession Planning, January 2019 Agricultural Law News, January 28, 2019
- How Meetings can Make you Money, July 2018 Agricultural Law News, July 19, 2018
- The Case for Putting it in Writing, January 2018 Agricultural Law News, January 24, 2018
- How to Talk to Your Family About Succession Planning, Foster Swift Agricultural Law News, April 29, 2016
- Should You Keep a Corporate Minute Book?, Foster Swift Business & Corporate Law News, November 23, 2015
- Estate and Succession Planning Essentials for Family Farms: Don’t Procrastinate – Control the Future of Your Farm, Great Lakes Crop Summit, January 30, 2019
- WEBINAR | Protecting Against the Unknown: How to Successfully Review IT Contracts to Increase Your Rights and Avoid Potential Liability, June 22, 2010
- Janssen Receives Community Foundation Philanthropy Award, Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce, June 6, 2018
- Business Attorneys release series of Legal Essential Videos for Business Start Ups, June 17, 2015