Business Succession

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Entrepreneurial Business and Wealth Succession Planning


Successful entrepreneurs have the following attributes in common: 1) they step out of their comfort zones, 2) they take calculated risks, and 3) they relentlessly get to work in building their business. This “put your head down and work” mentality serves them well in capitalizing on opportunities and persevering through adversity.


Oftentimes, however, the entrepreneur or custodian of a family-owned “legacy” business does not focus strongly enough on a vision for business succession. Only once this vision is articulated can a succession plan be designed and put in place to align key stakeholders and provide the legal, tax, and management framework necessary to realize the vision.


Succession planning, like estate planning, is a process, not an event (with goals and circumstances changing). In order to protect the business and the wealth it creates, business leaders must take the time needed to follow through with meaningful succession planning. Dickinson Wright offers full-service succession planning for high-net-worth entrepreneurs, family businesses, executives of private and public companies, principals of private equity firms, and more.


Our lawyers take the time to listen and get to know you and then use their experience and resources to help define and achieve your goals. Central to this work is protecting against creditor claims, federal gift and estate tax liability, management and family unrest, and unintended consequences.


The time to act on succession planning is now. From a federal gift and estate tax standpoint, today provides a historically favorable opportunity to transfer a closely-held business and wealth to the next generation. Politics and tax laws change. Learn how to create certainty in an otherwise uncertain future.


Our Team


Our Business Succession practice group is comprised of corporate, tax, and trust lawyers who integrate business and corporate counsel with wealth succession and estate planning. We are proactive and accessible, providing practical solutions and actionable advice. With our guidance, clients are in a much position to realize their targeted business objectives while avoiding unnecessary legal, tax, and business risks.


Our Services


At Dickinson Wright, we believe that effective legal advocacy requires not only a comprehensive knowledge of the law but also a thorough understanding of our clients’ industries and businesses. Working closely with business owners and their CPAs, wealth advisors, and other professionals, our team develops a personalized strategy to build, manage, and transfer your wealth. Our work includes:


  • Transferring business ownership and wealth to the next generation

  • Reducing involvement in daily operations and creating liquidity

  • Buy-sell agreements

  • Estate planning, including wealth transfers, family and charitable giving

  • Tax planning, including credit shelter trusts (CSTs), tax-free distributions, and controversies

  • Corporate organization and counsel to scale, grow, and protect businesses

  • Wealth and asset security, including protection from federal estate tax and creditor and marital claims of each generation

  • Assistance with leveraging state domestic asset protection statutes (DAPT) and trust documents to achieve maximum flexibility, access, and control over protected wealth

  • Designing DAPT funding strategies to meet client goals for business and wealth succession and asset protection

  • Mergers and acquisitions

  • Protection of intellectual property assets



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