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Selling Your Florida Family Business

November 2, 2015

For many family business owners, effective succession planning can be a challenge, especially when there are multiple beneficiaries and they haven’t been involved in running the company. Future heirs are often deeply passionate about their responsibility as stewards of the business, but looking for ways to engage their interest, while doing what is best for the company, can be a delicate balance to strike.

When more than one person will be inheriting a business, many advisers suggest that the business owner transfer the controlling interest in the company to the person they want to run it, and a noncontrolling interest to the other family members.

That decision comes from an understandable desire to concentrate and simplify control, but it often ends up disenfranchising nonmanaging owners and can cause conflict among them.

At best, these flawed arrangements create confusion and distractions in the family and business, which tend to fray relationships. At worst, they can lead to expensive court battles pitting family members against each other and may ultimately force the sale of the business.

We believe that business owners looking to maintain accord among heirs and preserve value should collectively engage the next generation of owners in the succession-planning process. Advisers can play a role in this by bringing inheriting family members together while the current owner is still alive, and helping them articulate their shared purpose as future owners of the business.

If inheritors cannot articulate or agree upon a shared purpose, that is OK, too. Rather than trying to press heirs into a succession structure that doesn’t fit, the business owner should explore other options with beneficiaries that might better suit their needs and circumstances.

For example, we’ve seen families who have chosen to split up a business into separate branches, while other families have opted to buy out individual family members who have no interest in being a part of the company.

Selling the family business is a decision that usually happens when there are disagreements. Let us help sort out the mysteries of what to do. Contact us for a confidential meeting to discuss your options. View hundreds of listings at:

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