Ownership Transitions

Since nothing lasts forever, it follows that whatever we own won’t stay with us forever either.  Usually that means that we will either choose to dispose of the things that we own while we are able to do so or that it will happen after we are no longer around. Things like a home, a cottage, liquid assets or a business come to mind. 

For someone who has built a successful business, the issues and the questions can be complex.  If I plan to sell the business, what is the best way to do that and when is the best time?  If keeping the business in the family is a better option, what is the best way to make that happen? What if I’m not sure which is the better route to go?  What do I do?   

Equitas is in business to help people answer these sometimes difficult questions and implement their decisions. Our process compliments the technical aspects of other estate planning professionals by focusing on communications and governance processes to make the transition work in a way that maximizes shareholder value and preserves family harmony. 

If the business owners decide to keep the business in the family, we help design a Pre-Legal Shareholders Agreement that may include passing share ownership to some children but not others and board structures that support next generation ownership.

If the business owners decide to sell the business, we design transition plans that may or may not include Strategic Planning.

Before a business owner can begin to make plans for the transition of the business, he/she must first have an overall plan regarding retirement and how to fund that retirement.  Issues such as:

  • when to retire;
  • how much money will you need to maintain your desired lifestyle when you retire (Financial Planning);
  • do you and your spouse have the same expectations when it comes to your retirement?;
  • creating a lasting legacy to leave for children and grandchildren (Legacy Planning); and
  • outlining philanthropic goals, etc. (Philanthropy Planning).

In all cases, we are mindful of the need to keep family members and other key stakeholders involved or informed at the appropriate times and in the appropriate way, and advise our clients accordingly. 

Discover more, read the Equitas Q&A Article on Transition Planning.


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25% of Family Transitions fail due to a failure to prepare heirs.

"Give enough money to your kids so they can do anything but not enough so they can do nothing."
     - Warren Buffett