Succession Planning Checklist: Can you answer ‘yes’?

If you haven’t begun a plan to determine what will happen to your business when current leadership is out of the picture, the time to begin is now.


If you are in the midst of the succession planning process, be sure you are covering all of the bases. Can you answer “yes” to all of the following questions?

1. Is there a clear understanding among family members about the plans for your company’s future?

2. Do you have a written succession plan for your business?

3. Do you have a will or living trust that clearly specifies your wishes for the future of your business?

4. Have you named a power of attorney to enable someone to run your business should you become incapacitated?

5. Have you identified a competent successor to replace you when the time comes?

6. Has your successor been adequately trained?

7. Have you clearly established who will own future interests in your company, and in what proportions?

8. Do you have a buy-sell agreement for your company that covers such possibilities as retirement, divorce, death or disability?

9. Have you planned how to fund a buyout if you want to sell to a family member?

10. Has the family agreed on a fair way to distribute assets?

11. Has the family determined how it will value the closely held business?

12. Do you know how much of your estate will be subject to taxes?

13. Does your estate have adequate liquidity to pay anticipated administration and estate taxes?

14. Do you use gifting as a means of reducing your estate tax?

15. Does your business have adequate cash flow for emergencies?

16. Are you and all key family members in your business covered by health and disability insurance?

Your CPA can assist you in completing all the steps necessary to creating an effective succession plan for your company.