While conducting the latter, however, it's important for entrepreneurs and owners to take the time to update their business succession plan - or begin one, if they have yet to do so.
The last scenario any owner wants to face is seeing their company fall into the wrong hands, so it's critical to end the year with a firm succession plan in tow. When reviewing or drawing up paperwork, there are several factors to keep in mind that can make the planning process easier. For instance, owners might start with determining how to divvy up assets and ownership shares.
This is of particular importance for family businesses in which owners have multiple children. More often than not, owners may not choose to divide up ownership equally, but instead take a non-emotional approach and assign responsibilities to those best equipped to run the company. Clarifying responsibilities, ownership and asset allocation early on - and having a discussion with family members about this decision - can make drawing up the paperwork simpler and mitigate future family disputes.
Owners might also choose to have the company valued if they plan to hand over the reins in the future, as the value of the business may directly affect their financial and tax obligations. Ensuring all successors are groomed on the company's financial situation and how it will impact their federal and state tax law responsibilities is also critical to avoid missteps that could put the business in jeopardy. Owners whose business value will trigger large tax liabilities might consider speaking with a legal professional about setting up a trust or other mechanism to help keep wealth intact when transferring a company to successors.