How to legally pass a business onto a family member
How to legally pass a business onto a family member Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

The time has finally come. You've spent most of your life building up your business, and now you want to pass it onto a deserving family member.

Ideally, if passing on your business to a family member is your plan, you should work out the specifics well before you retire. But even if you aren't ready to retire age-wise, there may be other signs that it's time to think about moving on. For one, if you can retire comfortably based on the profit you've made over the years, it might be a good time to hand it over to an heir. Whatever the case, it's crucial to handle the matter legally. Call in the legal team to draw up some documents, whether it's a will, business succession plan, or something of that sort.

Signs it's time to pass down your business

There are several factors to consider when determining if it is time to pass your business over to someone else. These factors will help you commence the transition of ownership at the right time.

  • Education: You should be up-to-date on information regarding business management. We are in a jet age. There are new ways to do almost everything. If you have your education in the '80s, and you are using the business methods of those days to run your company, then it is time to step down.
  • Age: You're the founder; as you advance in age, certain things are of a higher probability of happening to you. Mainly the inevitability of death and the threat you'll fall ill anytime. You don't want one of these to happen to you without concrete plans for your business succession.
  • The size of the business: Stop seeing a family business as a small business with a small number of employees like the father, sons and a few outsiders. As soon as you decide to expand to other states aside from your corporate office, you should start planning on succession.
  • Capital: As soon as your business starts attracting investors, you should kick-start the succession plan. The succession will help you focus on external things like business expansions rather than internal conflict.

Succession preparation

You must decide which choice of preparation is better for your business long before your death or retirement. Or you can sell the business and divide the income between the remaining family members. If you had selected your successor, complete the paperwork. Another way is to have your successor named in a will or a final testament. Legal paperwork is important to ensure the preferred new owner has a valid hold over the business. You and your family should decide on a business succession plan before your death or retirement.

Drafting of the proposal


If you want to hand over your business to your son or daughter successfully, you must first draw up the business succession plan. The transfer of ownership then comes after the plan. If you worry about who will take care of your family after your death, let the legal team prepare the paperwork and other documentation. This requires hiring a lawyer to prepare the files as a witness to any change or development. With this, you can determine, review the terms, conditions and clauses of the case.

A lawyer will effectively complete the move of the company to the new successor. If the paperwork has been done, you must train the person you have selected to succeed you. This means you have to make sure to give them a proper economic and financial education. They must know what it takes to keep a company going. They must know how to implement a business strategy, and the successor must know how to change goods or services with a shift in technology.

Transferring or selling business majority shares

You'll be completing more processes if you're handing over the business to your heirs, including the transfer of shares or percentage ownership. If you don't do this, you will still be the majority shareholder after retirement or death.

Another option for you is to sell the shares at a discount if you feel comfortable. This method is legal as it gives no future issue to your new successor, who will inherit the business. If there are partners or shareholders involved in your business, this option would be difficult; you will need to complete further procedures.


Family business succession is an important aspect of your business. It should be taken seriously for your business to continue and not die with you after your death or retirement. You must do it thoroughly and legally to avoid problems in the future.