The HBO series Succession was named the Golden Globe award winner for Best Television Series, Drama. The show illustrates a family at odds as children fight for control of their father’s media dynasty. While a fictional, television drama, this program can teach us a lot about business succession planning.
According to an article by Barrons, “While many families on the wealth spectrum develop succession plans, estate plans, and trusts, those are only blueprints. Tax and legal rules provide a template for financial arrangements, but there is none for long, simmering disputes, jealousies, and perceptions of inequality. Estate and governance plans are like tranquilizers, lulling family members into believing there is an orderly succession strategy in place.”
HOW CAN YOU PLAN FOR YOUR BUSINESS’ FUTURE WHILE KEEPING YOUR FAMILY INTACT?
- Decide who will take over the business. In television as in real life, having your children take over the family empire is probably not in your best interest. Often times, the family member who runs the business will tell the children to shadow financial advisors, or in sales. But they have no idea how to actually run the business. This not only sets them up for failure and disappointment, but also puts the business at risk.
- Balancing family and fiduciary responsibilities. When family members are stockholders in the business, that’s a lot of roles to balance: executive, mother, father, salesmen, etc. Lines get blurred, feelings get hurt and lines get crossed.
- Your business isn’t a baby. But treat it like one. When parents raise a child, sure there can be disagreements on child-rearing–but ultimately, those disputes get filtered out. Though your business is not a baby, you should treat it like one in that the family needs to agree on company goals, missions and where it is going next.
HOW CAN A LAW FIRM HELP ME WITH BUSINESS SUCCESSION PLANNING?
If you own a business, you’ll need to figure out what you want to happen to it after you pass away. Not only will it be creating typical estate planning measures like wills and trusts, but determining what will happen to your shares of the business, who will take over and how it will be funded.
Some planning measures to consider:
- Develop your will. Not only will this place less of a burden on you, but it also helps your family know your wishes for your assets.
- Consider creating trusts. Trusts can help protect your significant assets. You may specifically want to check out Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust as it provides a grantor with a flexible plan for paying taxes and more.
Contact Us for Your Estate Planning Needs
If you need help in setting up a will or a trust, contact Fellerman & Ciarimboli today. We have the experience and compassion to help you efficiently and confidently move through the estate planning process.