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June 20, 2019

Succession planning basics

AP Business Writer

NEW YORK — Many small business owners don't plan for what will happen to their companies after their deaths, even though their businesses could be at risk of shutting down if they die suddenly.

Owners are often too busy running the company or don't want to think about dying, and so they put off succession planning — deciding and committing to writing who will own and operate a business if the owner dies. Without a succession plan, family members and/or business partners can end up fighting over the company in court. The legal battle can drain the company's finances and distract the heirs and employees from running it, says Jillyn Hess-Verdon, an attorney based in Newport Beach, California, who does estate and succession planning. That can damage the business, and, if the heirs want to sell it, they may not get a good price for it.

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