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A business continuity plan needs to be part of your estate plan

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A critical part of building a succession plan is answering this question: Who do you want to run your business when you're gone?

How to create a business continuity plan

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's business continuity plan2 template includes several steps for evaluating the impact of various risks on your business — and developing a strategy to recover from those risks.

To develop a plan that also addresses what will happen when you die or if you're suddenly unable to run your business, SCORE, a network ofbusiness mentors, suggests the following steps:3

  • Create a written buy-sell agreement to protect all business partners in the event of an accident, illness, or death. A buy-sell agreement4 is a legally binding document that controls how the shares would be sold or transferred if you die or become incapacitated.
  • Create a document – and keep it updated – with account numbers and contact information for resources such as lines of credit, financial accounts, vendors, customers, file sharing access, passwords, email, and social media accounts relevant to the business. In your absence, your business partners and heirs need complete access to all of these to effectively continue to manage your business.
  • Develop a clear succession plan. (See above.)
  • Revisit the business continuity plan regularly to address changes in the business or personal life of partners, heirs, and potential successors.

With proper advance planning and appropriate documentation, your business can thrive even when you're gone and be a source of support for your heirs — whether they end up running or sell your portion and use the cash to better their futures.

Contact Synovus Private Wealth to begin your estate plan.

Important disclosure information

This content is general in nature and does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

  1. Small Business Administration, “Selling a Small Business and Succession Planning for a Small Business," page 11, accessed September 22, 2020. Back
  2. Department of Homeland Security, "Business Continuity Plan," updated March 13, 2020, accessed September 22, 2020. Back
  3. SCORE, “Drafting a Will: Estate Planning for Small Business Owners," published March 6, 2019, accessed September 22, 2020. Back
  4. Buchanan Law Group, "The Buy-Sell Agreement," accessed September 30, 2020. Back
  5. Brette Sember, J.D., "Using a Life Insurance Buy-Sell Agreement to Fund Your Business," Legal Zoom, updated June 26, 2019, accessed September 30, 2020. Back