Sooner or later, in addition to all the other problems that a business faces, the problem of succession surfaces. Now, like it or not, if one or more of your children are active in the business, your business life and family life merge.
Most business owners who have spent a lifetime turning problems and questions into opportunities now seem to have a series of questions. Here are the typical questions I hear in practice: Do I sell to the kids? Give them the business?Who has control while I’m alive?After I die? How will the IRS value my business? How can I assure an income flow to myself and my wife?
What’s the toughest question for most business owners? How do I treat the children fairly? The question and solution are even more difficult if some of the kids are in the business while others are not.
Okay, the above sets the scene for those business owners who would like to put a transfer/succession plan into effect for their business and family. Do they? Unfortunately the answer is no. They procrastinate. Why? After years of practicing in this area, it has become painfully clear that business owners who do not know the right questions to ask or cannot get answers to their transfer-of-ownership questions tend to do the same thing — nothing. What is even more interesting is that many owners look for, but cannot find, professional advisors who know how to solve their total transfer/succession problems and dovetail the solution with their estate plan.
These problems for any business family have two sides — the tax side and the human side. Usually, the tax problems — eliminating the estate taxes — are the easy stuff. It is the human side — the endless combinations of family objectives and situations — that causes the most problems in practice.
Finally, our network of professionals has decided to do something about the transfer/succession/estate plan problem for readers of this column who own all or part of a family business. We have started the Family Business Transfer Program. The purpose of the program is to educate and help family businesses (their owners, children and professional advisors) put a family transfer/succession/estate plan into place. Would you like to join the program? Just drop us a note with your specific problems in this area.
Send to Marco Transfer Program, Irv Blackman, 4545 W. Touhy Ave., #602, Lincolnwood, IL 60712.
Irv Blackman, CPA and lawyer, is a retired founding partner of Blackman Kallick Bartelstein, LLP (CPAs) and Chairman Emeritus of the New Century Bank (both in Chicago). Contact Irv at 847-674-5295 or email@example.com. Vist taxsecretsofthewealthy.com.