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Strategies for Family Owned Businesses

Strategies for Family Owned Businesses

Few people have more estate-planning issues to deal with than the family-business owner. The business may be the most valuable asset in the owner’s estate. Yet, two out of three family-owned businesses don’t survive the second generation. If you are a business owner, you should address the following concerns as you plan your estate, life and retirement plan.

Who will run the business if you become disabled or die?

Owners often neglect to develop a management succession plan. It is vital to the survival of the business or professional firm that a successor be ready to take over if something happens. For example, what happens if you become disabled?  Who should inherit your business? Splitting this asset equally among your children may not be a good idea. For those active in the business, inheriting the stock may be critical to their future motivation. To those not involved in the business, the stock may not seem as valuable. Perhaps your entire family feels entitled to equal shares in the business. Resolve this issue now to avoid discord and possible disaster later.

For More Information Review our

Business Exit Planning Page

&

Business Valuation Page

How will the IRS value your company?

Because family-owned businesses are not publicly traded, determining the exact value of the business is difficult without a professional valuation. The value placed on the business for estate tax purposes is often determined only after a long battle with the IRS. Plan ahead and ensure your estate has enough liquidity to pay estate taxes (due in 9 months) and support your heirs.

The law currently provides two types of tax relief for business owners:

1)   Section 303 redemptions — your company can buy back stock from your estate without the risk of the distribution being treated as a dividend for income tax purposes. Such a distribution must, in general, not exceed the estate taxes, funeral and administration expenses of the estate. One caveat: The value of your holdings must exceed 35% of the value of your adjusted gross estate. If the redemption qualifies under Section 303, this is an excellent way to pay estate taxes. Consider taking steps to reduce taxes well ahead of time.

2)   Estate tax deferral — normally, your estate taxes are due within nine months of your death. But if closely held business interests exceed 35% of your adjusted gross estate, the estate may qualify for a deferral of tax payments. No payment other than interest is due until five years after the normal due date for taxes owed on the value of the business. The tax related to the closely held business interest then can be paid over 10 equal annual installments. Thus, a portion of your tax can be deferred for as long as 14 years from the original due date. Interest will be charged on the deferred payments. Consider taking steps to reduce taxes well ahead of time.

 

What Our Clients Experience

  • C.C. Dedham, MA

    My daughter was acquainted with Greta Atchinson, so when I had a need I naturally went to them. Both Greta and Dennis Sullivan have treated me wonderfully well! I’ve been very satisfied with the trust they did for me. Greta and Dennis were polite, caring and compassionate. They were very well prepared and helpful. I never felt rushed. I knew I needed to do something but didn’t know what. It was a great decision to go there. They were of tremendous help! Plus as a member of their Lifetime Protection Program I know they’re looking after me, plus whenever I have a question I can call them. I would absolutely recommend their services.

  • Mary McKernan, Needham, MA

    I’m extremely satisfied with the work that was done for my husband and me. Greta and the entire staff are always very helpful and nice. I’d initially found out about the Dennis Sullivan law firm when I was getting ready to retire and received a flyer from the state of Massachusetts that had various information on it. They are great people to know! We go in once a year now for a check-up that they provide. This keeps us very well informed about any developments, plus they answer all of my questions. The Sullivan group gets my highest recommendation!

  • C.B. Wellesley, MA

    We’re very pleased with the estate planning work that was done for us. My husband and I were very comfortable using their services. We originally went to one of their seminars, liked what we heard, and then came in for a consultation. I would definitely recommend going to see the people at Sullivan and Associates!

  • Mike McInerney, Framingham MA

    These people get things done! They got results in a number of different areas for me, such as estate planning, plus they’re still working with me and the state of Massachusetts in some matters involving my late wife. I first became acquainted with the Estate and Asset Protection Law Center of Dennis Sullivan & Associates a few years back. I’d seen an ad in the newspaper and went to one of Dennis’ free seminars, and then booked a consultation with him. He is very informative! Everyone there is very friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. They are very accommodating people who get things well taken care of. I highly recommend their services!

  • J.S., Boston, MA

    I’m pleased to say they are my law firm! They’ve been very helpful to me over the years. I especially like the fact that they do a yearly check on all of my legal documents. This is a very viable service because things can change over time, and it’s good to know that I’m always current. This is very important, and I appreciate that they do this. These people do good work; they do things right!

  • H.S. Concord, MA

    Everything has gone fine. We first became familiar with the Sullivan Law Firm when we attended one of their seminars, and then made an appointment to come in for a consultation. We’ve been clients ever since. I appreciate that they continue to do a yearly review for us and advise us if we need to make any changes. As the saying goes, it’s good to have your ducks in a row! Everyone there has treated us wonderful. They are a very good group of people.

  • Noel Thyson, Winchester, MA

    I’m very satisfied with what the legal staff has done for me. Interestingly, an attorney I was using for another matter wound up recommending the Estate Planning and Asset Protection Law Center of Dennis Sullivan & Associates. I like the fact that they provide you with useful information, and quick answers. They treat you with dignity and respect. I highly recommend you go see them.

  • Matt DePalo, CPA., Natick

    The experience has been excellent. I am extremely satisfied with the Lifetime Protection Program.

  • I.C., Framingham

    The team at Dennis Sullivan & Associates is very helpful and knowledgeable. Everyone is pleasant and easy to do business with. I don't feel uncomfortable coming in. I interviewed four other attorneys...I'd rather come to you.

  • E.L., Lynn

    Thank you, Dennis, for your expert and caring assistance you have shown to me and my family. It was a trying and confusing process that needed a pro to guide us.

  • C.&J. K., Hopedale

    Thank you for all your hard work and dedication. We appreciate the promptness with which you handled our difficult situation.

  • B.S., Wayland

    We have told friends of our experience with Dennis Sullivan & Associates. We feel it has been very positive and beneficial.

  • Andy St. James, Holliston

    Dennis provided strong direction and guidance in developing and implementing a lifetime protection plan.

  • D.M. Framingham, MA

    We were very comfortable working with you and thank you for your patience in educating us about a process which frankly was quite foreign to us. We are pleased with the outcome and are pleased to recommend you to friends.

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