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My name is Elieth Strunk, a tax and financial services professional who is on a campaign for financial literacy. My mission is to help individuals build a strong financial foundation, and in order to achieve it, everyone should understand the fundamental concepts in building wealth.
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Path to Financial Freedom
Business Succession Planning
When developing a succession plan for your business, you must make many decisions. Should you sell your business or give it away? Should you structure your plan to go into effect during your lifetime or at your death? Should you transfer your ownership interest to family members, co-owners, employees, or an outside party? The key is to pick the best plan for your circumstances and objectives, and to seek help from financial and legal advisors to carry out this plan.
Selling your business
Selling your business outright
You can sell your business outright, choosing the right time to sell — now, at your retirement, at your death, or anytime in between. The sale proceeds can be used to maintain your lifestyle, or to pay estate taxes and other final expenses. As long as the price is at least equal to the full fair market value of the business, the sale will not be subject to gift taxes. But, if the sale occurs before your death, it may result in capital gains tax.
Transferring your business with a buy-sell agreement
A buy-sell is a legally binding contract that establishes when, to whom, and at what price you can sell your interest in a business. A typical buy-sell allows the business itself or any co-owners the opportunity to purchase your interest in the business at a predetermined price. This can help avoid future adverse consequences, such as disruption of operations, entity dissolution, or business liquidation that might result in the event of your sudden incapacity or death. A buy-sell can also minimize the possibility that the business will fall into the hands of outsiders.
The ability to fix the purchase price as the taxable value of your business interest makes a buy-sell agreement especially useful in estate planning. Agreeing to a purchase price can minimize the possibility of unfair treatment to your heirs. And, if your death is the triggering event, the IRS' acceptance of this price as the taxable value can help minimize estate taxes.
Additionally, because funding for a buy-sell is typically arranged when the buy-sell is executed, you're able to ensure that funds will be available when needed, providing your estate with liquidity that may be needed for expenses and taxes.
With a private annuity, you transfer your ownership interest in the business to family members or another party (the buyer). The buyer in turn makes a promise to make periodic payments to you for the rest of your life (a single life annuity) or for your life and the life of a second person (a joint and survivor annuity). Again, because a private annuity is a sale and not a gift, it allows you to remove assets from your estate without incurring gift or estate taxes.
Until 2006, exchanging property for an unsecured private annuity allowed you to spread out any gain realized, deferring capital gains tax. IRS regulations proposed that year have effectively eliminated this benefit for most exchanges, however. If you're considering a private annuity, be sure to talk to a tax professional.
Self-canceling installment note
A self-canceling installment note (SCIN) allows you to transfer your interest in the business to a buyer in exchange for a promissory note. The buyer must make a series of payments to you under that note, and a provision in the note states that at your death, the remaining payments will be canceled. Like private annuities, SCINs provide for a lifetime income stream and they avoid gift and estate taxes. But unlike private annuities, SCINs give you a security interest in the transferred business.
Gifting your business
If you're like many business owners, you'd prefer to have your children inherit the result of all your years of hard work and success. Of course, you can bequeath your business in your will, but transferring your business during your lifetime has many additional personal and tax benefits. By gifting the business over time, you can hand over the reins gradually as your offspring become better able to control and manage the business on their own, and you can minimize gift and estate taxes.
Gifting your business interests can minimize gift and estate taxes because:
It transfers the value of any future appreciation in the business out of your estate to your heirs. This can be especially valuable if business growth is expected.
Gifts of $15,000 (in 2018) per recipient are tax free under the annual gift tax exclusion.
Aggregate gifts up to $11,180,00 (in 2018, $5,490,000 in 2017) are tax free under your lifetime exclusion.
Partial interest gifts, as with GRATs, GRUTs, and FLPs, may be valued at a discount for lack of marketability or restrictions on transferability.
Gifting your business using trusts
You can make gifts outright or use a trust. You can even structure a trust so that you keep control of the business for as long as you want. You can establish a revocable trust, which will bypass probate and allow you to change your mind and end the trust, or an irrevocable trust, such as a grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT) or a grantor retained unitrust (GRUT) that can provide you with income for a specified period of time and move your business out of your estate at a discount.
Gifting your business using a family limited partnership
You can transfer your business interest using another entity, such as a family limited partnership (FLP). An FLP is a limited partnership formed to manage and control a family business. You (and your spouse) can be the general partners, retaining control of the business itself and receiving income from the business, while your children can be limited partners. By transferring the business to an FLP, you may be able to use valuation discounts and substantially reduce the value of the business for tax purposes by making annual gifts to the limited partners.
Advisory services offered through Legend Advisory or Lincoln Investment, Registered Investment Advisers. Securities offered through Lincoln Investment, Broker Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC www.lincolninvestment.com
United Tax & Financial Services, and the above firms are independent, and non-affiliated.
Tax, legal, or social security claiming services are not offered through, or supervised by Legend Advisory, or Lincoln Investment.
None of the information in this document should be considered as tax or legal advice. You should consult your tax or legal advisor for information concerning your individual situation.
The projections or other information generated by these calculators regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results, and are not guarantees of future results. Results may vary with each use and over time.
These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.
Diversification or asset allocation do not guarantee a profit or protect against a loss.
This communication is strictly intended for individuals residing in the state(s) of FL. No offers may be made or accepted from any resident outside the specific states referenced.
Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2018.
In times of crisis, you don't want to be shaking pennies out of a piggy bank. Having a financial safety net in place can ensure that you're protected when a financial emergency arises. One way to accomplish this is by setting up a cash reserve, a pool of readily available funds that can help you meet emergency or highly urgent short-term needs.
How much is enough? Most financial professionals suggest that you have three to six months' worth of living expenses in your cash reserve. The actual amount, however, should be based on your particular circumstances. Do you have a mortgage? Do you have short-term and long-term disability protection? Are you paying for your child's orthodontics? Are you making car payments? Other factors you need to consider include your job security, health, and income. The bottom line: Without an emergency fund, a period of crisis (e.g., unemployment, disability) could be financially devastating. Building your cash reserve
Why should you be concerned about training successor management?
Many business succession plans focus on the succession of ownership but neglect to address the issue of management succession. Whether you expect the management team that will follow you to the corner office to come from inside or outside the company, you should consider training one or several people to serve as interim or successor management. This can serve multiple purposes. First, having trained successor management in the business can work into your short-term contingency plan established to cover your unexpected absence from the business (due to death, for instance). Second, trained successor management can serve as interim management during the transition period during and after your withdrawal from the business at your retirement, while your interest is being transferred after your death, or when you head out for that long vacation you have been yearning for.
Ensure the smooth transition of responsibilities
As a business owner, you're going to have to decide when will be the right time to step out of the family business and how you'll do it. There are many estate planning tools you can use to transfer your business. Selecting the right one will depend on whether you plan to retire from the business or keep it until you die.
Perhaps you have children or other family members who wish to continue the business after your death. Obviously, you'll want to transfer your business to your successors at its full value. However, with income, gift, and potential estate taxes, it takes careful planning to prevent some (or all) of the business assets from being sold to pay them, perhaps leaving little for your beneficiaries. Therefore, business succession planning must include ways not only to ensure the continuity of your business, but also to do so with the smallest possible tax consequences.
Some of the more common strategies for minimizing taxes are explained briefly in the following …