In the latest episode of She Talks Law, I was joined by two incredible women who are experts in the field of trusts and estates and wealth planning: Stephanie Seiffert, a partner in Nixon Peabody’s Private Clients practice, and Gina DiMonda, Senior Relationship Manager at Cobblestone Capital Advisors, LLC.
Together we discussed succession planning and critical takeaways for business owners, and those who may be contemplating or getting ready to take over a business.
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For business owners looking to begin the succession planning discussion, Gina outlined these three steps:
- Understand your current organization, your team, and identify factors that may influence your succession plan (both positive factors and factors which may serve as a hinderance to the succession planning discussion).
- Hire and build your teams with succession planning in mind.
- Invite all of your advisors to the succession planning discussion to ensure the business and all key players are structured and aligned on the succession plan.
“It’s not a quick process. It’s a long-term goal.” — Gina DiMonda
The best time to start the planning process, according to Stephanie, is sooner rather than later.
“The second you have something of value that’s important to you and is growing and becoming more part of your income stream, that’s when we need to be talking about it.” — Stephanie Seiffert
As for who should be at the table?
“It’s really important that you have all of your advisors together including your attorney, your accountant, and a wealth planner, because you can come up with different strategies and talk about implementing them. After that step it’s also very important to find out if there are key employees that might be taking over the business or if there is a child or heir apparent.” — Gina DiMonda
For younger generations approaching succession planning, Stephanie says it’s crucial to assess whether a generational business is in the cards for your future and, if so, to map out the necessary steps to maximize your understanding and build connections internally and externally which will better serve you once you step into the role of leading that business.
“Really use the time now to be as educated and knowledgeable about the business as you can possibly be.” — Stephanie Seiffert