For many families, a business represents their most valuable asset. This means a truly effective estate plan is predicated on an effective and thorough business plan. At Joshua T. Keleske, P.L., we can help you through all the stages of a business’ lifecycle, from formation through succession of interests, and at every stage in between.

Ultimately, our goal is to serve as your long-term business and family counselor, fostering an environment wherein your business will prosper and, in the process, strengthen the relationship between your business and our firm.

Formation

A new business, like a home, must start with a solid foundation. When planning your new business, Joshua T. Keleske, P.L. will help to ensure that you do not miss necessary steps in the process. An important first step of forming your business is creating a clear separation of the business and your personal affairs. This can be accomplished by establishing a legal entity to protect your own assets from any liabilities of your business.

When choosing a business entity, many options exist – one size does not fit all. Entities options include a sole proprietorship, corporation (c-corporation or s-corporation), partnership (general partnership, limited liability partnership or limited partnership) and limited liability company. At Joshua T. Keleske, P.L., we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of each entity, including the level of legal formalities that must be followed and the different tax implications, in order to determine which entity will best serve your short-term and long-term needs.

Maintenance

Business planning is often compared to preventative medicine for your health. As important as business formation is, it is essential that you follow certain “formalities” required in the State of Florida. By adhering to these formalities, you will retain the legal protection from creditors that you desired when you established your business. Moreover, you will enhance the overall value of your business when you transition out, whether to a third party or a family member.

Some formalities are as straightforward as not comingling business and personal assets. Other formalities are more involved, such as holding board meetings and income tax planning. At Joshua T. Keleske, P.L., we recognize that your first focus is running your business. As a result, we will work closely with you to ensure that these formalities are honored.

In addition to legal formalities, we can further our relationship with you by engaging in a meaningful and routine dialogue to address various agreements necessary to promote and support the continued success of your business. These agreements may include employee and independent contractor agreements to create incentives and loyalty with key relationships, as well as customer and supplier agreements to define parties’ rights and responsibilities.

Transition

Your business exit strategy can be every bit as important as your overall business plan in determining how much money you ultimately earn from your business. In addressing an exit strategy, our goal is to allow you to retain ultimate control over how your business is managed while you are still in charge and when you decide to transition it to members of your family. When contemplating a transaction with a third party, our focus turns towards maximizing the value of your business while minimizing your income tax exposure.

At Joshua T. Keleske, P.L., we will also show you how to avoid the infighting and other pitfalls that often accompany family businesses. This is particularly important for blended families and those families in which more than one person desires to run the business. We will also devise a transition plan that minimizes your income and estate tax exposure by exploring the use of bifurcated ownership interests, installment sale transactions and grantor retained annuity trusts.

Our business planning services include:

  • Business entity selection
  • Business formation
  • Corporate records maintenance
  • Contract review and contract negotiations
  • Ownership issues
  • Shareholder agreement
  • Buy-Sell Agreement
  • Business tax planning
  • Coordination of estate and business plans
  • Purchase of a business
  • Sale of a business
  • Planning succession and business transition

Questionnaire for business planning