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Trust and Estates Attorneys

Role of a Virginia Business Planning Lawyer 

A business planning attorney’s role is to look at an individual’s personal estate plan and the business succession plan. Trust and estates group work closely with transactional groups to review a business owner’s estate, both from the business aspect and the estate planning side. It is not uncommon for the trusts and estates group to make recommendations with regard to special language to include in that trust, or the creation of a revocable life insurance trust to accommodate for the ownership of the business.

Likewise, it is also not uncommon for our transactional group to suggest a transaction that could benefit the owner’s family in the event of the owner’s death. For example, if there is a buy-sell agreement that requires the right of first refusal, there may be a way that to create a trust and transfer the assets into that trust so that the right of first refusal could be avoided. Or, if there is a requirement that at the death of one owner, that the corporation – the value that can be purchased is much lower. It is possible, in some cases, that the owner can transfer or create a trust so that the trust owns the business and the business continues to live on. Call a professional business planning attorney to ask about your situation.

Responsibilities of Business Planning Attorneys

Business planning attorneys review an entire estate and, much like regular estate planning, a business is part of an individual’s personal estate. It is often the largest asset. A business planning attorney will coordinate the operating documents and the partnership agreements of a business with an individual’s personal estate plan.

Ensuring that Operations Continue

A business planning attorney can work with a business owner during their lifetime to create a succession plan for the business. They can also work to modify or adjust operating agreements or by-laws or buy-sell agreements during the individual’s lifetime to protect both the business and the business as an asset for the individual’s estate.

Advice to People

When working with business owners, a business planning attorney will evaluate all the operating agreements of the business and also the individual’s personal assets to determine tax liability and to review liquidity issues. For example, it is not uncommon for business owners to do some life insurance planning so that they can ensure that there is adequate liquidity to either keep a business running or to pay any necessary debts so that a business does not need to be sold.

How a Business Planning Lawyer Can Help

A business planning lawyer can assist with creating a succession plan for the business owner so that the business continues to operate after the individual’s death. That might be by transferring stock to next generation during the business owner’s lifetime. That might be by revising partnership agreements. That might be by working with a business owner to educate the next generation or the successor in the company. There are a lot of ways that a business owner can ensure that the business remains viable and is preserved as a major asset for the business owner’s family after death.

A business lawyer may work on issues with clients such as liquidity, how the business will continue to operate after the business owner dies, working towards possibly lining up buyers or additional partners. And the estate and trust attorney will work with the business lawyers to make sure that all of that is part of an individual business owner’s personal estate plan.