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Letting go of a business isn’t a process that one should jump into lightly, and that fact holds true even when it comes to your loved ones. Let’s take a look at five of the most important factors to consider when selling or transferring a business to a family member.
#1 The All-Important Buy-Sell Agreement
One of the single most valuable tools available when it comes to selling your business is a buy-sell agreement. Simply stated, this essential document puts everything in writing. In situations such as a family owned business, people may be tempted to skip a contract, but that doesn’t mean they should.
When transferring your business, you should have an expert created document in place that outlines the following:
- The business valuation
- Who is to be kept on the payroll and the amount he or she will receive
- The amount being paid
- What level of involvement you will have in the business once the transfer has taken place
#2 The Benefits of Gifting
Consider the option of gifting. Gifting can actually work to reduce your taxes on real estate, while at the same time it can allow you to maintain some level of control over the business.
#3 Seller Financing and Transferring the Family Business
Selling your business to a family member is, of course, another option. On occasion, sellers will consider a private annuity, which allows for payments to be spread out for a considerable time period, such as to the end of your life.
#4 The Self-Canceling Installment Note
Another option is to use an installment sale. If you are a selling parent and you happen to pass away before the payments have all been made for the sale, then the remaining debt may be attached to your will. This arrangement can keep your other children from paying excess income tax on your estate.
#5 Keep the IRS Happy
The fact of the matter is that the IRS does, in fact, look more closely into sales where the business is being sold to a family member. This reason alone is a good enough reason to professionally establish a real and accurate valuation of your business.
A business broker can help you work out the particulars as to how best to proceed when navigating the process of selling or transferring your business to a relative. With the right planning and preparation, selling or transferring your business to a relative doesn’t have to be an overly difficult or cumbersome process. Work with a business broker and you’ll find that the process can be smoother than you may have expected.