A family-owned business, often known as a closely held business, is a major, valuable asset. It can also be a significant problem if the family has not planned for passing it to the next generation. Business succession planning involves a wide range of issues related to probate laws, trust laws, federal and state tax codes, income tax, estate and gift tax rules, trial rules, and the evidence rules. Many disputes can arise over:
- Valuation of the business
- Role of "sweat equity"
- Tax planning
- Guardianship of elderly family members involved in the business
- Analyzing the management structure
- Whether to retain or sell the business, whether to sell to employees or on the open market
- How to fairly compensate family members who are not interested in the business
In estates of considerable wealth, and with proper planning, the IRS may allow heirs to pay federal estate taxes over a fourteen (14) year period at two percent (2%) interest, and allow the family owned business to redeem the decedent's shares without the business or the estate incurring capital gains tax or income tax. Farmers might receive even better treatment.
Mr. Shirley helps owners and beneficiaries of closely held businesses avoid litigation by planning for the future. He strives to prevent family conflicts by addressing issues that often arise in the transfer of such a substantial family asset. This combination of thorough planning and attention to emotional matters means family-owned or closely held businesses retain their value as a major asset for the younger generation.
Many people sign contracts, charge purchases on credit cards, have a mortgage, medical bills, and unfinished business. Death does not diminish these obligations. Credit card companies want the bills paid. Banks want the mortgages paid. Yet creditors face rather technical requirements to file a Claim for money, and face a short time frame to file.
Unfortunately, attorneys, accountants, investment advisors, and other professionals may sometimes take advantage of their position. Perhaps you invested your life savings into a deal and feel cheated. Perhaps your partner or business associate has raised a dispute or filed a lawsuit. Mr. Shirley represents business owners who find themselves involved in a wide variety of disputes, such as breach of contract, securities fraud, conversion, theft, fraud, or an insurance company that refuses to pay or protect you. Contact Mr. Shirley if you need help with business succession planning, or business litigation. He hopes to use his knowledge and experience to prevent disputes, smooth the transition to the next generation, to protect you, and to prosecute or defend cases in Court.