Legal Blog

The Weekly Scenario: Succession Planning

Question: How do I coordinate my succession plan for my business with my estate planning goals?

Answer:  As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

It is a good idea to coordinate your succession plan with your estate plan as both contemplate transfers via bequest, gift, sale or otherwise and share many commonalities. The disposition of property will occur by documents such as wills and/or trusts and through agreements such as buy-sell agreements and family partnerships.

A valuation of the business is often a key element in any exit strategy, and the succession plan, estate plan, and valuation should be coordinated.

Some key questions in thinking about a business succession plan:

  • How will the business continue if the owner unexpectedly becomes incapacitated or dies?
  • Should the business be continued or liquidated in the unexpected exit of the owner?
  • Would it be better if the business were sold in a planned sale?
  • In the absence of the owner, who will be the one making these key decisions and should a team be put in place sooner rather than later?
  • For the next generation, will ownership be separate from management? If the business is transferred to the children, do they have the experience, skill, and motivation to take over? (If not, the compensation plan to retain key employees needs to executed now).

Also, an important consideration is always who will be on the succession team of trusted advisors ?

These specialists should include an attorney, CPA, financial advisor and a valuation specialist.




As always, if you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact Steve Shane at or 301.575.0313.


Steve Shane Casual | 301.575.0313

Steve Shane provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates.




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