Buy-Sell Agreements: Protect Your Business From The Unexpected

As a business owner, have you ever worried about what would happen to your business if one of your partners became disabled, got divorced or died? If you had a Buy-Sell Agreement in place, you could sleep a little easier.

Simply put, a Buy-Sell Agreement is a contract that dictates how, when and for how much a company or its remaining owners will be required to pay to acquire the interests of a departing owner. This kind of agreement is essential if your business has two or more owners, but it makes sense for any kind of business entity, from LLCs to corporations and everything in between. In addition to the peace of mind it provides, business owners with a Buy-Sell Agreement in place can avoid costly court battles, or worse, total business failure.

An effective Buy-Sell Agreement should address how the funds needed to buy out an owner will be provided. This funding needs to align with the triggering events. Often, insurance is maintained to fund purchases in the event of death or disability. Other situations are often covered by structuring a purchase over 5 to 10 years.

There are different types of triggering events that Buy-Sell Agreements address. For example, if an owner dies, the surviving business owners may inherit heirs for business partners who care little whether the business survives. The death of a spouse, disability, bankruptcy, termination of employment and retirement are other types of triggering events that put a business at risk.

There are also three forms of such an agreement. They include Cross-Purchase, Entity-Purchase and a hybrid of the two. An experienced business attorney can help you determine the appropriate type for your situation. To have an effective Agreement, the owners must agree upon a mechanism to set the future value of the business. Possibilities include: book value, multiple of earnings, appraisal and annual valuation by owners. Again, these are things you should discuss with your attorney.

Your business needs protection from the unknown and ensuring that critical events are properly covered is essential to the long-term survival of your business. A Buy-Sell Agreement can provide just that.

It is an essential requirement to the long-term survival of your business.

Leave a Reply