I just read a great article on the topic at Inc. Magazine (http://www.inc.com/guides/estate-planning.html#).  I think the article brings up some great considerations.  Here’s some of my thoughts/comments on it:

  • VERY important to have a good professional team to work with in order to have the best plan for your situation – attorney, accountant, financial advisor, insurance, and valuation companies are key.
  • I have found that many business owners do not want to go through the necessary conversations that need to be had to have the best buy/sell for them.  Best to have them when everyone is getting along than to have them during conflict, or worse – litigation.
  • There is also hesitancy with many business owners regarding formal valuations.  Common reasons given are cost of the valuation, not wanting to know what the value is (may be higher or lower than they hope), not wanting to provide all the financial and operational information necessary for a proper valuation, and the list goes on.
  • I agree with the suggestion to go with a smaller, local firm that focuses on estate planning and/or business succession.  This helps develop a relationship with a trusted advisor that will pay great dividends for the business owner.  It’s like having a personal family lawyer.
  • I don’t entirely agree with the suggestion to check Avvo.com to find an attorney.  Yes, it can help locate an attorney, but so can google.  I’m not a believer in their rating system as it there are many reasons a given attorney could have a high or low ranking that have nothing to do with how knowledgeable the attorney is aorhow well they provide their service

What do you the business owners out there think?  You have a business to run, so what would cause you to consider addressing the issues presented in the article?