Maryland Business Succession Planning Attorney

Many small-business owners haven’t decided who will take over their business upon their retirement.

Some business owners may not want to explore some of the difficult questions that business succession planning may require. But with no formal succession plan in place, a business may fail, and family members could be burdened with complicated legal and tax matters.

Lusk Law, LLC, specializes in assisting owners of small businesses to plan for the future. Whether you’re preparing to launch your first business or you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, we can provide legal guidance on the issues that are most important for your success. Contact us today to request a consultation: 443-535-9715.

Barriers to Business Succession Planning

In 2016, Harris Poll conducted an online survey of small-business owners age 18 to 65, on the behalf of Nationwide Insurance Company. Owners of 502 businesses with fewer than 300 employees participated in the poll.

The poll revealed that three of five business owners had no succession plan. Of those respondents without business succession plans, their reasons were:

  • Didn’t think a succession plan was necessary (47 percent)
  • Not wanting to give up their business (14 percent)
  • Not knowing when to create a succession plan (11 percent)
  • Not knowing whom to consult to create a plan (11 percent)
  • Lacking the time to develop a plan (11 percent)
  • Being overwhelmed with government regulations (8 percent).
(These response percentages amount to 102 percent, meaning some people listed more than one reason for having no succession plan).

It’s true that creating a succession plan can seem like a daunting task. That’s why entrepreneurs need the help of an experienced business attorney.

How Assumptions Can Sink a Business

Family businesses account for 50 percent of the national gross domestic product and are responsible for about 60 percent of jobs nationwide. These businesses clearly play an important role in the economy, but about half of current owners lack confidence that their children would be able to successfully run their companies.

When you create a succession plan, that process forces you to think about family matters. Some business owners may assume their children want to take control of the business at some point, when, in fact, their children have no interest in that. Owners may also feel obligated to name a child or other family member as a successor, even if that person lacks business acumen.

Ideally, business owners should, before retiring, train their successor for 15 years. Considering that, it’s sometimes best to leave one’s business in the hands of a trusted, long-term employee who’s already familiar with day-to-day operations. That’s what hotelier J.W. Marriott did in 2012, when he named one of his veteran executives his CEO. Asked why he didn’t choose his own son to take over the company, Marriott said his son – who had been with the company for 30 years – didn’t love his job and wasn’t excited about the responsibilities that would accompany being CEO.

Regardless of who the successor will be, business owners should put in writing the specific roles of any family members who will or won’t be involved in business operations and decision-making. For example, family members could remain majority stockholders, but not be involved in daily decision-making for the business. Consulting with a Frederick, Maryland business law attorney can help ensure this process is done correctly and protects both the business and its future.

Preparing for the Unexpected

One aspect of succession planning that may be difficult is thinking about what would happen to your business, should you suffer a disability or die. But preparing for such scenarios is important because if you don’t, your family members would have to make those decisions. And they may be unprepared to deal with both your personal estate and your business assets.

You may need more than one person to help you with your succession plan.

A business attorney can help you with the legal framework of succession planning and can also advise you to seek help from an accountant, a wealth management advisor, or someone with expertise in tax and probate issues. Involving the right people in your succession planning will help you prepare for any eventuality.

Getting the Guidance You Need

As the owners of two small businesses, Rebekah Lusk and Steven Bright, understand the challenges entrepreneurs may face. At their Frederick County office, they have helped small-business owners from many parts of Maryland navigate the legal issues of operating a company and represented clients in court when litigation was necessary. Get started on your succession planning today by contacting Lusk Law, LLC – either online or at 443-535-9715.

The buck stops with you, the business owner. Whatever your area of expertise, you are responsible for every aspect of the organization, but a business contract lawyer can help.

While the survival and success of your company depends on many factors — knowing the market, delivering a quality product or service at a fair price, often a hefty dose of luck — it’s critical that you have a knowledgeable business contract lawyer on your side to eliminate uncertainty in dealing with customers, vendors, and employees and to protect yourself when disputes do arise.

Lusk Law, LLC attorneys, Rebekah Lusk and Steven Bright, are experienced Frederick contract lawyers who are not only well-versed in the law. They are also small business owners themselves. As landlords and proprietors of a horse boarding farm, they understand the challenges, setbacks, and potential pitfalls that their clients face. And for this reason, they relate to the same passion that drives their clients.

Whether you are just beginning your business journey or you are a seasoned business owner looking to run a tighter ship legally, call the Lusk Law, LLC business contract attorneys at (443) 535-9715. We will be happy to discuss which types of contracts are relevant to your organization and help you draft them so that they are customized to your particular needs.

What Our Frederick Business Contract Lawyer Will Do for You

A Frederick business contact lawyer will handle all your contract needs so you can focus on your business.

As the owner of a business, you will need to work with all sorts of people and other companies: partners, employees, contractors, vendors, clients, and customers. In an ideal world, you would be able to seal a deal with a handshake and move forward with a shared vision and a healthy and productive relationship.

In the real world, you need to protect yourself by hiring a business contract lawyer to ensure that the terms for every relationship are in writing and are unambiguous and legally binding. The contract lawyers at Lusk Law, LLC will help you determine what contracts are needed and expertly draft them so you can focus on the day-to-day running of your company. Here are a few common types of business contracts:

  • Employment contracts and offer letters:

    Employment contracts are legally enforceable oral or written agreements between an employer and employee that define terms and conditions of employment. An offer letter is a written notice to inform candidates that they have been selected for employment. It includes the details of employment, from the start date to benefits and the specific terms of employment.

  • Sales contracts:

    A sales contract is a legal agreement between a buyer and seller covering the sale and delivery of goods, securities, and other personal property that outlines the terms of a transaction between them.

  • Confidentiality agreements:

    A confidentiality agreement is a written legal contract between an employer and an employee which prohibits the employee from disclosing company confidential and proprietary information during and for a period of time after employment.

  • Letters of intent:

    A letter of intent is a document stating the understanding between two or more parties which they intend to formalize in a formal or legally binding agreement.

  • Leases:

    A lease is a contract by which one party conveys land, property, or services to another party for a period of time, usually in return for payment during this time period.

  • Supplier agreements:

    A supplier agreement is an agreement between a business and a supplier to establish the buying and delivery of products or services. These agreements can be used to measure and ensure the performance of a supplier.

Of course, this is far from a comprehensive list. You may need to borrow money to jump-start your business or sign a lease for office or retail space. The lending institution or landlord will likely have a standard contract in these situations, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be revised to be more advantageous to you.

At Lusk Law, LLC, we are skilled negotiators who will review boilerplate agreements and work hard to ensure every contract you sign represents your interests.

Attorney Steven Bright

Steven Bright is a Member of Lusk Law, LLC. Steven came to the law as a third career after working on the production side of theater and ballet for approximately 10 years, and then another 20 years in construction, both in new home construction and home improvement. [ Attorney Bio ]