Employee Benefit Plans: Act Now to Avoid Unpleasant Surprises

by Elizabeth L. Foster-Nolan,

Wayne H. Miller and Barbara S. Sargent, Goulston & Storrs, P.C.

Employee benefits play a large role in the attraction and retention of an employers workforce, and family-owned businesses are no exception.  The end of the calendar year is usually a time when employers are providing their employees with benefit plan elections for the coming year.  While employees are reviewing their benefit choices, employers should use this time to review their benefit plans to ensure they are in compliance with the myriad of complex laws related to health and retirement plans.

Keeping up with the laws regarding benefits is not always an easy task.  Here are some important areas that may need your attention. More…

Easing Family Succession: How a Tailored Recap May Be the Answer

by Richard A. Vinci
Family and closely controlled businesses account for more than two-thirds of all businesses in the United States. Many family and closely held business owners start out with the admirable goal to pass the business on to their family members and/or long-term valued employees. Despite the genuine desire to see the continuation of the business in the family, only 30% of family owned businesses survive into the second generation and only 11% survive into the third generation with only 3% of all family businesses continuing through the fourth generation or beyond. These grim statistics have much to do with poor succession planning which is exacerbated by the lack of viable liquidity options for retiring family members.1As the statistics indicate, in most cases succession just happens rather than being planned thereby resulting in less than desired outcomes. Over the next decade, family-controlled firms will experience an unprecedented number of succession events. Since ensuring the continuity and success of the family enterprise is a top priority for most family business owners, these owners will be compelled to address some daunting and potentially unpleasant issues including, but not limited to, succession, control, tax planning and capital procurement for growth. Further complicating matters is the tendency for emotions to run quite high around the family succession of the business which can lead to messy litigation. More…