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The Role of Retirement and Estate Planning in a Family Business Transition

Steven E. Staugaitis, CPA, CVA Director, Audit & Accounting, Small Business Advisory Services Group Leader, Family-Owned Businesses Group Co-Leader

The role of retirement and estate planning in a family business

Many family business owners spend the better part of their lives building and managing their businesses. They often take a heads-down approach, focusing so much time on running their businesses that they spend too little time organizing their personal finances. However, as owners get closer to contemplating their exit, they may be missing out on some key elements that will aid in their transition.

Retirement planning can seem daunting, which may be why 65 percent of the respondents in our recent Family Business Survey said they do not have a clear retirement plan. However, knowing how much money you’ll need to maintain your desired lifestyle compared to what you have accumulated so far is critical because it’s what drives the general structure for a transaction. And since what you need may be a different from what you want, it’s important to factor both numbers into the calculation of how your exit will impact your business’s cash flows.

Estate planning is another area that owners tend to neglect. Our survey also revealed that that 43 percent of family business owners do not have a clear estate plan. I have even found myself in conversations with clients who have not yet drafted a will. An estate plan not only helps you take inventory of all of your assets, it addresses gaps in insurance and other needs. And the biggest benefit of estate planning is that it dictates your intents and wishes of those assets after you pass.

Having a clear picture of your financial needs in retirement and addressing your estate plan will not only help to protect and preserve your wealth, but also provide you more options and insight into what life will look like after you transition out of your business. And if nothing else, it will take a weight off of your shoulders knowing that these items have been taken care of!

Want some additional insight? Join us for our upcoming seminar – Family Business Continuity Planning and Strategies – on Thursday, June 16. We’ll explore the various elements of a family business succession plan and present a case study of the approach one multi-generational family business took to complete their plan. Learn more and register.

Steven E. Staugaitis, Kreischer Miller

Steven E. Staugaitis is a director at Kreischer Miller and a specialist for the Center for Private Company Excellence. Contact him at Email or 215.441.4600.


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Steven E. Staugaitis, CPA, CVA

Steven E. Staugaitis, CPA, CVA

Director, Audit & Accounting, Small Business Advisory Services Group Leader, Family-Owned Businesses Group Co-Leader

Family-Owned Businesses Specialist, Small Business Advisory Specialist, Business Valuation Specialist, Transition/Exit Planning Specialist

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