You’ve been married for decades, and you want to make sure that everything you and your spouse have built together continues to grow long after you’re gone. You both have worked hard to grow a business that supports your family and can continue to do so for generations.

The business world is tough, but so is passing on a business. Business succession is a serious concern for most business owners, so it’s important that those you’d like to have take over understand the roles that they will take on.

Your business succession plan can be implemented before you pass away, but there are no guarantees. If you die unexpectedly, you’ll want to have a plan in place in your estate plan, so that your beneficiaries and successors know what to do.

How do you choose a successor?

Your successor or successors should be listed in your estate plan and business succession plan. It’s not simple to choose this person or these people, so take time to think it through. If you don’t have a successor in mind, you may instead want to negotiate with another company that wants to buy yours to sell the business upon death.

If you do have a successor in mind, you should talk to them about what is expected if they take over the business. Take time, while you’re able, to start training them. They need experience and to be prepared for the job ahead of them.

Get your business’s value assessed for your estate plan and successors

Another thing to do is to make sure you know the value of the business. It may be that you want to leave your business to your successors, but they may later decide that it’s time to sell. If you know the relative value of your business, that will help substantially. A certified public accountant can help you get a true value on your business, so that there is information to use in the case that an offer to buy the business is received.

Succession plans make it much easier to pass on your business if you die unexpectedly. It helps settle your estate in a more timely manner and can reduce the stress that your family has to deal with during a tragic time in their lives. Your attorney will walk you through the creation of your estate plan, and a succession plan, if you’re prepared to create it.