Case Study #5

How can my business today become a family legacy?

Situation

You can call me Larry; that’s what most of my customers call me. Who are my customers? They are pleasure boat owners who need docking, equipment, repair, or maintenance services. I started sailing when I was young, and it became my passion. Over 33 years, I’ve built the largest marina in the region. In fact, I own marinas on both sides of the lake, with valuable real estate attached to each. I’ll even rent you a boat if you want to take a cruise for a day or a month.

Problem

I built this business for me, and I plan to keep running my marinas until they drag me away. But realistically, at age 61, I know one day this business will belong to my family. That has worried me for some time. They’re not ready to run this business on their own today; and if something happened to me sooner rather than later… well… they may ruin it or worse yet, fight over it; and the family’s business legacy will surely die with me.

I’ve been reluctant to meet with any financial professional because this seemed more of a personal, “family matter” rather than a business concern. However, a BSG professional asked me if I were willing to share just 20 minutes of my time during which he asked me about what keeps me up those nights when a worry about my business just won’t let me sleep. We got to talking about this legacy concern of mine.

My BSG professional asked me two key questions:

  1. How did I plan to choose a manager/leader from among my children and other family members and did I plan to groom them for the responsibility?
  2. How was I going to tell my other family members of my choice without them all feeling as if I disinherited them?

BSG Strategy

The BSG professional led Larry through a comprehensive, methodical planning process to identify the family member who would make the best successor leader/manager, as well as two other family members capable of filling two key positions on the executive team. For each position, Larry began to document his expectations for running the business day-to-day and also hired a coach to increase the management skills of his chosen successors… grooming them for the responsibilities they will one day shoulder without him. The BSG professional helped Larry set up a detailed plan to keep the business intact and continue successfully once he is gone. In addition, the BSG professional coordinated with Larry’s CPA and attorney, to facilitate the development of a comprehensive estate plan including wills and trusts to help reduce inheritance taxes and to “equalize the inheritances” for those family members who would not be involved with or benefit from the business.

© 2012 AXA Advisors, LLC. All rights reserved.
GE-115677e (8/16)(Exp 8/18)

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