What advice would you give companies looking at succession plans right now? 

Perspective Law

Javier Jalice

Javier Jalice
Attorney/Founder
Jalice Law Firm
In evaluating succession plans right now, an organization may want to dedicate immediate resources to prepare rising employees for different contingencies that account for the fluidity of today’s business climate and the day-to-day challenges of COVID-19. Companies may consider adopting new team-oriented processes and approaches for accomplishing projects and goals. Employers and businesses may also want to implement policies and procedures related to COVID-19 that are suitable for their anticipated needs.

 

Erin Kriksciun

Erin E. Kriksciun
Estate Planning, Administration of Trusts and Estates
Stone Pigman
It’s crucial for business owners to consider how a succession plan fits in with their overall estate plan. All too frequently, children not involved in the day-to-day operation of a company inherit an interest in it, with little to no control or understanding of its financial health. This often leads to ugly intra-family disputes and, eventually, expensive and emotionally draining litigation. While there is no “one size fits all” solution, consider whether some children should receive assets other than an interest in the company.

 

Leslie Ehret

Leslie Ehret
Attorney
Frilot LLC
Companies must decide which roles within the business should have a succession plan. It is also not just for top-level positions, but should include positions that are crucial to the business, those for which it is difficult to find talent, and those that cannot be left vacant for long periods. Succession planning is also important to workers whose engagement would improve if they worked at a company with a clear succession plan. A good plan helps ensure business continuity and performance, but takes discipline, analytics and engagement.

 

Ted George

Edward N. George
Partner
Chaffe, McCall, L.L.P.
A succession plan is an ongoing process that should integrate hiring practices, training opportunities, employee reviews, retention plans and clear promotion paths in order to ensure employees at all levels can step up and execute its strategic plan. Company directors must reassess goals in light of current challenges and opportunities and set an actionable vision, a broadly defined path and periodic measures to ensure the company remains on track or determine whether further change in direction, processes, or personnel may be necessary.

 

Greg LacourDante Maraldo

Greg LaCour and Dante Maraldo
Attorneys
Blue Williams
Every succession plan is unique.  That said, when developing a succession plan, we recommend that a company take the following initial actions. First, identify all the company’s governance documents and/or agreements regarding succession currently in place. Second, identify the best potential successor(s) to the ownership of the company (i.e., family members, co-owners, employees third-parties, subsidiaries, or affiliates). Third, identify the finances and timeline necessary for a smooth transition of ownership. Fourth, confirm that the correct tax structure is in place for the succession. And finally, properly document the succession plan.  An experienced attorney is imperative to review, advise upon, personalize and document the succession plan.  A certified public accountant will likely also be necessary to assist with valuation and tax issues. Final thought: A company may want to consider implementing an advisory board of directors, if appropriate, to ensure the smooth transition of control of the company.