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Family Business and Succession Planning


Passion. Trust. Expertise... Results.

You’ve spent decades building and growing your family enterprise, and now it’s time to transition the family business to the next generation, or sell to an unrelated party.  

This is a critical time in any family owned and operated business and there are many things to consider including: 

  • Who will take over from within the family and what about the other family members who are not involved? 
  • Are their external shareholders? 
  • How will the transition take place and over what timeframe? 
  • Will parents still need income from the family business for retirement?  

On top of all these important questions, you need a succession plan that is going to be the most tax efficient and also take into account the owners estate planning needs and the business’ overall strategy and continuity plan.  At McQuarrie, we have the in-house capabilities to help guide you through all of these areas.  We also work closely with your other trusted advisors including your accounting team, to ensure a a successful transition.

McQuarrie’s corporate and commercial lawyers can assist you with the legal decisions facing your family business.

We advise on SUCCESSION matters such as:

  • Structuring the transition to the next generation, including shareholder agreements
  • Establishing an accurate valuation and assisting with sale of the business to an external party
  • Developing the succession plan
  • Tax planning 
  • Wealth preservation and estate planning 
  • Dispute Resolution & Litigation 
  • Mediation 

Our business succession planning lawyers can assist nearly all types of businesses.  We have experience advising small-medium sized businesses across a wide range of industries such as:  

  • Agriculture
  • Construction
  • Financial services
  • Forestry
  • Infrastructure works
  • Land development
  • Manufacturing
  • Retail
  • Technology

Strategic Planning

Running a successful family business presents unique challenges.  Owners have to consider not only what is good for the business, but also what is good for the family.

Our strategic planning services are devoted to keeping your business healthy and sound into the future.  Often, that means developing ownership agreements for the members involved in the business.  These agreements are often crafted to allow liquidity options and provide a safe framework for disputes.

Please contact McQuarrie if you are interested in developing an ownership agreement for your business, or if you have any other strategic planning needs.

An ownership agreement provides answers to questions such as:

  • Which family members can own shares?  For example: All family members? Anyone employed by the business, or just senior management?
  • Who determines if dividends are paid, and when?
  • Who can participate in making major decisions such as buying other businesses or taking on debt?
  • How can a shareholder sell their shares, and to whom?

Working with your business advisers, our lawyers can help you design an effective ownership agreement and avoid costly and emotionally taxing disputes and litigation in the event of a disagreement between family members or shareholders.

Business Succession Planning - Common Issues

Creating a succession plan is one of the more challenging projects a family business can undertake.  These plans address the needs of the senior generation for financial security as they enter retirement, while ensuring that sufficient funds will be left in the business to keep it viable and competitive as the younger generation takes the reins.

You can expect to face challenges related to…

Buying A Business

  • Negotiating the letter of intent
  • Due diligence
  • Purchase and sale agreements
  • Commercial financing

Employer / Employee

  • Employment agreements
  • Accommodation issues
  • Discrimination claims
  • Dismissals

Landlord / Tenant

  • Lease negotiation and drafting
  • Collections
  • Lease terminations

Working in coordination with our clients’ tax advisors as well as lawyers from our own Wills, Estates and Personal Planning department, the lawyers at McQuarrie can help you create an effective succession plan and ensure a smooth transition.

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