While protecting family wealth represented by a privately held business is a staple of our practice, we also recognize that all business owners must plan for the future.

We provide a comprehensive array of planning services tailored to family-owned and privately held businesses, including:

Business Planning, Operational Matters, Governance and Financing

  • Assist with choice of entity and structure of the business.
  • Define duties and responsibilities of family members involved in the business and establish clear parameters between the family and the business.
  • Develop strategic plans for family and privately held business governance, operations, management structure, ownership and succession.
  • Oversee all legal matters, from formation and growth to maturity stages and exit strategies.
  • Negotiate and prepare various commercial and business agreements and compensation arrangements, including family, corporation, partnership and limited liability company operating agreements as well as buy-sell, restrictive stock, employment and marital agreements, to help formulate a strategy for business management and payment to owners or successors upon the death or retirement of the owners.
  • Handle debt and equity financing, including venture capital and other private equity transactions, as well as securities transactions.
  • Counsel on the recapitalization of a family business, including the use of preferred interests as well as voting and non-voting stock.
  • Offer access to an established network of relationships throughout the venture capital, private equity, hedge fund and financial services communities.
  • Provide introductions to investors and business leaders who understand the particular needs and challenges faced by family owned and privately held businesses.

Succession Planning

  • Develop strategic plans for business succession, including undertaking a health assessment of the business, establishing clearly defined business objectives, identifying successors and determining the timing and most effective method of transitioning the business to the next generation of owners.
  • Implement transition plans and resolve issues that arise during the ownership transfer.
  • Prepare estate planning documents providing for ownership succession.
  • Provide guidance on obtaining a professional valuation of the business in order to make buy/sell and similar succession agreements fair and valid.
  • Work with owners to establish a mechanism for resolving internal conflicts pertaining to the management of the family business.

Mergers, Acquisitions, ESOPs and Strategic Alliances

  • Identify and implement a range of techniques to restructure a business, including mergers, acquisitions and other sales and purchases or, alternatively, the spin-off of a subsidiary or division to family members or owners.
  • Handle buy-side and sell-side mergers and acquisitions.
  • Advise on the optimal techniques to transition the business in a tax-efficient manner, including ESOPs, which offer significant tax benefits for buyers and sellers.
  • Provide experienced guidance on all types of ESOP transactions and uses, including exit strategies and business acquisitions.

Tax and Estate Planning

  • Provide business planning that simultaneously helps to minimize federal, state and local taxes while preserving wealth for owners and their families.
  • Offer tax-saving strategies that provide continuity while reducing the income, federal and state tax costs associated with making donative or other transfers during life or at death.
  • Formulate tax-efficient retirement plans as part of the transition process, ensuring sufficient post-succession owner income from the business.
  • Counsel on the use of insurance as an estate planning vehicle to help provide liquidity to an estate or pay the family of a deceased member of a family business the value of his or her interest in the enterprise.
  • Employ sophisticated planning techniques for estates – such as retitling assets between spouses or creating lifetime trusts, a charitable foundation or family limited partnership – that consider all applicable federal, state and international income, gift, generation-skipping and post-mortem/death tax exemptions.
  • Prepare and design sophisticated trusts, including Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs), Qualified Personal Residence Trusts (QPRTs), perpetuity and family dynasty trusts.
  • Advise and implement long-term gift programs to safeguard a client’s lifetime financial security and minimize the tax impact upon the next generation.
  • Employ charitable gifting methods that meet a client’s philanthropic objectives while simultaneously reducing tax liabilities.
  • Leverage tax savings in making transfers of interests in privately held business entities.

Other Services

  • Intellectual property registration, protection, licensing and financing
  • Employment law and HR matters
  • Real estate matters such as acquisitions, sales, leasing, financing, zoning, land use and construction
  • Risk assessment and prevention guidance
  • Dispute resolution, including negotiation, mediation, arbitration and litigation