If you are a proprietor of a family business or have intentions to initiate one, the legal structure you opt for will profoundly influence various critical aspects of your enterprise. The most suitable legal structure for your business depends on several factors, including your future objectives for the business. If your intention is to maintain the business within the family, a Family Limited Partnership could be the optimal choice for your venture. To help you make the right choice for you, your business, and your family, the attorneys at Eghrari Wealth Training Firm discuss whether a Family Limited Partnership is right for your business.
Factor to Consider When Choosing a Business Structure
When it comes to family businesses, selecting the appropriate legal structure is a pivotal decision that significantly influences various aspects of the business. Several factors play a crucial role in determining the most suitable legal structure for your family business, including:
- Liability. Whether you are personally shielded from the debts and liabilities of the business will depend on the business structure you choose. A corporation provided the most liability protection while a sole proprietorship provides the least.
- Investment and growth. If you want your business to grow in the future, consider what structure is attractive to investors.
- Taxation. A corporation is subject to “double taxation,” meaning that the business pays taxes, and the shareholders pay taxes on profits they received. A partnership or sole proprietorship only pays “pass-through” taxes on the profits passed through to the owners.
- Management. The type of legal structure you choose will directly impact how your business is managed and what your role is in the official management structure of the business. A Board of Directors manages a corporation, for instance, while a partnership can be governed by a formal or informal partnership agreement.
Understanding a Family Limited Partnership (FLP)
A Family Limited Partnership (FLP) is a specialized form of limited partnership, characterized by general partners making management decisions and bearing liability, while limited partners have restricted involvement and limited liability. In an FLP, family members pool resources to operate or own shares in the business. Each family member holds units or shares, with profits and losses distributed in proportion to their ownership.
Benefits of FLP for Family Businesses
An FLP offers strategic advantages for family businesses, particularly in terms of generational transitions. By facilitating the gradual transfer of business assets from older to younger family members, FLPs help mitigate the impact of federal gift and estate taxes triggered by the death of key family figures. This proactive approach minimizes the risk of forced asset liquidation to cover tax liabilities, ensuring a smoother transition of the business to the next generation.
The choice of a legal structure for your family business is a critical decision with long-term implications. The unique features of a Family Limited Partnership (FLP) make it a compelling option for those looking to preserve and transition their family businesses successfully. To assess your specific circumstances and make an informed decision aligned with your business goals be sure to consult with a business succession planning attorney before choosing your business structure.
Do You Have Additional Questions about a Family Limited Partnership?
For more information, please join us for a FREE estate planning seminar. If you have additional questions about whether a Family Limited Partnership is right for your business, contact the Long Island business succession planning attorneys at Eghrari Wealth Training Firm by calling us at 631-265-0599 to schedule your appointment.
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