Private company owners have a unique set of needs and circumstances. Their balance sheets tend to be dominated by the equity value of their company, or companies. They often own the real estate in which their company operates. And the company provides all the income for the owner’s family, as well as covering many of its expenses. Founders of these companies work tirelessly for years, and are faced with important questions:
How do I begin the process of diversifying my balance sheet?
How do I surround myself with the proper team of advisors, including accounting, legal, insurance and investment?
How do I utilize tax-efficient vehicles to set aside money for the future?
How do I protect my business and my family in the event I become disabled or die?
Over time, as the company becomes a success, the entrepreneur begins to confront a different set of questions:
Should I keep the company, utilizing its cash flow to finance my family’s lifestyle, or should I sell it?
Either way, should I transfer shares in the company to my spouse and children? How do I do this? Should I do it before the sale or after? Can I transfer the ownership of the company and still maintain control? And continue to generate income?
If I sell my company, how will I replicate the income I am accustomed to?
Business owners tend to sell when the opportunity arises, not when they reach a certain age. Therefore, the wealth that has been created requires diligent strategic oversight over the ensuing decades. And a new set of questions must be addressed:
How do I build a sustainable investment portfolio that will enable my family to generate income my family requires?
Once I have enough money to satisfy my lifestyle, how do I structure the family wealth for subsequent generations?
For more information on this topic, please refer to multi-generational families. How do I teach my children/grandchildren how to be stewards of family wealth?
And how is this done without taking away their incentive to work as hard as I have? How do I ensure that my estate planning attorney is aware of the composition of my balance sheet over time and that our estate plan reflects the ever-changing laws?
How do I keep track of the myriad trusts and LLCs that have been created as a result of the plan that has been built?
Finally, how do I ensure that my spouse understands the plan and what it will look like if I die?