The Succession Planning Action Checklist

I spent this past Saturday as a presenter at a workshop for farmers and ranchers put on by Utah State University Extension.  As I was able to observe participants engaging in exercises meant to foster discussion about the succession process, I was reminded again that there is no substitute for communication and there is no substitute for engaging in the process.  The following is a brief checklist meant to help you move through the planning process.

  • Answer the essential question – do you want to pass along a business or just the assets?
  • Schedule a family meeting.
  • Define your goals and objectives.
  • Identify potential successors.
  • Establish a timeline for succession.
  • Seek commitment from all family members.
  • Schedule a meeting with your advisor team (attorney, accountant, financial advisor, insurance professional, exit planner) to discuss implementation.
  • Complete Estate Planning.
  • Create a business plan.
  • Establish a retirement plan.
  • Determine Life Insurance needs
  • Determine Long Term Care Insurance needs.
  • Form appropriate business entities.
  • Create appropriate legal agreements such as an Operating Agreement and/or Buy-Sell Agreement.
  • Establish business systems with appropriate policies and procedures.
  • Establish a plan for training successors.
  • Create a plan for transitioning ownership.
  • Communicate throughout and revise when appropriate.

Remember it is a process and will not be completed in one day or even in one year.  The plan will continue to evolve as your business evolves.  Do not become overwhelmed!  As you embrace the process the opportunity for success will grow exponentially.