Creating a business succession plan for your family’s sake

Few people see confronting their mortality as a pleasant prospect. For this reason, many put off writing their wills and other essential elements of estate planning. For business owners in Massachusetts and elsewhere, it can be devastating to surviving family members if there is no business succession plan in place to address the owner’s unexpected death. It is important to include a concise business succession plan in one’s estate planning.

Consider, for example, the young bakery owner who dies in a motor vehicle accident, leaving behind no business succession plan for her loved ones. Her spouse may want to continue the business, but can have difficulty picking up without any experience in the business or knowledge about financial account information, customer and supplier databases and so on. As Insurance Journal explains, the surviving family members who are trying to save the business may have difficulty convincing clients, employees and subcontractors that they can do the job. They may have additional problems if they lack the proper licensing for the business or do not have access to the company’s social media passwords.

It can be especially difficult in a business partnership, if one partner dies and the family faces a court battle with the surviving partner over the right to jointly run the business. Business owners can address these common problems, as well as others, by having a business succession plan in place.

Recent surveys found that most small business owners have not created business succession plans or communicated their wishes to their heirs. Creating a business succession plan does not have to be overly complicated, but it is important to speak to someone who is experienced in this matter.


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