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Estate Planning Tools For Business Succession

Last updated on: October 23, 2023

People utilize estate planning tools to do a wide range of things. They can protect their assets, choose who will receive them, and even qualify for Medicaid without losing their home and savings.

There are so many valuable tools that can be used by people who possess a variety of needs. Although everyone should have an estate plan, business owners need to strongly consider employing some estate planning strategies into their business succession plan.

Navigating the complexities of business succession within the context of estate planning can be a daunting task. At The Matus Law Group, our skilled New Jersey estate planning lawyers can be your invaluable ally in ensuring a smooth transition of your business assets. They possess the knowledge and experience to tailor estate planning tools to your specific business needs, safeguarding your legacy for generations to come. Contact us at (732) 281-0060 today, and let us help you secure a thriving future for your business.

Family Business Succession Planning

Ensuring the enduring success and prosperity of a family business depends on the implementation of a strong succession planning strategy. This strategy involves crafting a meticulous and well-organized approach to pass on leadership and ownership from one generation to the succeeding one. Several crucial factors warrant careful consideration throughout this process.

  • Balancing authority and cooperation: Within family-run businesses, conflicts often arise over control and authority.  Effective succession planning establishes precise timelines and decision-making responsibilities to prevent disruptions. By defining outcomes, emerging leaders can exercise autonomy while also harmonizing the founder’s vision with adaptability.
  • Embracing the perspectives of the next generation: To bridge the generation gap within family businesses, it is essential to welcome the perspectives of the upcoming generation. Engaging younger family members in conversations about wealth, business affairs, and philanthropy facilitates communication and prepares them for succession. Early engagement fosters collaboration, trust, and transparency.
  • Strengthening intergenerational unity: Commencing involvement and fostering transparent conversations concerning participation in the family business are pivotal for a seamless succession process. Conveying growth prospects, disclosing the company’s heritage, and harmonizing goals with the ambitions of the succeeding generation enhance the prospects of a prosperous transition. Establishing strong connections between generations and designing mutually advantageous pathways for entry into the family enterprise are crucial.
  • Cultivating high-trust behaviors: Trust plays a foundational role during transitions within family businesses. Building trust, competence, and credibility plays an important role in ensuring a seamless transfer of power and authority between generations. Introducing criteria to enhance competence and address trust gaps not only promotes collaboration but also facilitates the development of effective transition strategies.
  • Developing readiness guidelines together: Evaluating the preparedness of the succeeding generation holds importance in family business transitions. Crafting a shared definition of readiness aligns the expectations of both parties and nurtures confidence in their capacity to assume leadership responsibilities. Succession planning should encompass the desired skills, qualities, and professional experiences. Engaging the next generation in the transition planning process fosters alignment, collaboration, and trust, ultimately securing a stable future for the business.

Ensure the seamless transition of your family business with the help of a New Jersey estate planning lawyer. At The Matus Law Group, our dedicated professionals can guide you through every step of the process. We understand the unique challenges that come with passing down a legacy, and our comprehensive strategies ensure the protection of your assets and the continuity of your business. Contact us today to secure your family’s future and business success today.

Family-Owned Businesses

This becomes particularly important when you are the head of a family-owned business. Some studies show that the more times a company gets handed down, the less chance it has of surviving. For example, only 3% of fourth-generation businesses succeed. 

Conversely, they also point out an increase in success the earlier a succession plan gets developed. The reasons for this are not nearly as surprising as you would think. Part of creating a succession plan is choosing your replacement. 

People may delay this because they either aren’t emotionally ready to make that decision, avoid it for lack of choices, or don’t plan to retire soon. However, no one plans on being in catastrophic accidents or passing away early. But these things do happen. Having a plan in place in case of an emergency can protect your family and the business they own. 


By planning early and choosing a successor, you have the time you need to train and evaluate your replacement. People may be hesitant to pick their son or daughter as a replacement because of how it could look. Although you should base your decision on tangible factors outside of emotion, your child still might be the best person for the role. 

When you give your replacement a chance to grow and develop, you will see whether they can handle the demands of the position. Either you or your child could decide that they aren’t suitable for the position.

If your family believes that you chose your child based on emotion rather than business acumen, they may change their opinion once they see your child thriving and succeeding.

Estate Planning Tools 

Your needs are unique, and your attorney will build an estate plan based on what you are looking to achieve. However, there are some common strategies that business owners do employ.

An attorney can advise you on how to create a trust. There are various kinds of trusts that your lawyer can break down for you. But there are ways to mitigate business succession plan difficulties through the creation of a trust. 

If you are struggling to appoint a successor—mainly because they don’t have the experience needed to fill the role, choose two or more. Make them co-trustees of the trust that includes the business. An odd number of trustees can be beneficial because decisions can get made by a majority vote. 

If you are set on choosing two people to become co-trustees because you are worried about 1-1 disagreements between them, you can also add someone as a trust protector. Though their duties will be different, they can vote if the two co-trustees are stuck.

Estate Planning Tools for Business Succession Description
Trusts Business owners can create various types of trusts to facilitate business succession and protect their assets.
Co-Trustees When struggling to choose a single successor, business owners can appoint two or more co-trustees to manage the business trust.
Trust Protector Adding a trust protector can help in situations where co-trustees may have disagreements, providing an additional decision-maker.

The Matus Law Group

Creating an estate plan is about providing you with peace of mind while preparing for the future. If you are ready to begin yours, we have a multitude of ways to help you. Contact The Matus Law Group to schedule your consultation today at (732) 281-0060. We look forward to assisting you with your legal needs for years to come.

Christine Matus

Picture of Christine Matus
Christine Matus

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