For The Person Selling A Business, A Good Business Attorney Can Help You Reduce Stress As You Move Through Closing.
A good business attorney can help reduce stress by moving swiftly from an agreement to sell a business, through final closing, while carefully guarding your interests. He is a well qualified, meticulously prepared business attorney. And his expertise really shines at closing. He will have prepared a closing agenda and check list. It will be comprehensive because, like others professionals/advisors you have selected, he has done this kind of thing before.
He will guard your interests in a variety of areas. First of all, he will complete the steps necessary to ensure that any liability that you have related to the business terminates at closing. That can include changes to the corporate bank account, ensuring insurance coverage on the part of the buyer, and a myriad of other things.
Since you have selected someone knowledgeable and experienced with transactions the size of yours, he can confidently provide you with expert advice. Upon reviewing the circumstances surrounding you and the buyer, and the agreement to sell a business, he may recommend an asset sale over a sale of shares, or vice versa. This particular subject may become quite complex, as it is likely to have a tax impact on you, and possibly the buyer. So move carefully here.
Bad things can happen. You have made a concerted effort to do everything right. You have been extremely selective in your choice of business attorney. Just as you have with your other professionals/advisors. Despite your care, and their experience, you should want another level of assurance. You need to know the nature and coverage of their liability insurance. You want some deep pockets to turn to in case they have made a mistake that costs you a lot of money. And liability insurance coverage is quite common among attorneys, including business attorneys.
Your attorney will likely have prepared the agreement to sell your business. But if he hasn't, you need to know where to find one, and how to select the right one. As in the case of other professionals and advisors, the best way to find them is to ask. Ask your business valuator, your outside accountant, anyone you know who has sold a business and been happy with his attorney. Don't get your cousin's divorce lawyer, or the attorney that recently handled the closing on the sale of your vacation property.
Your attorney should have prior verifiable experience with transactions like yours. Experience with hundred million dollar transactions if yours is below ten million is not really comparable. Similarly experience with transactions involving the local convenience store is not comparable if yours is a several million dollar transaction. And experience in your industry will bring additional value to the transaction. Despite what a business attorney without specific industry experience may tell you, there are important subtle nuances that are industry specific that can impact a transaction.
Many of the recommended activities on this website, aimed at helping you sell your business in a stress free manner can be done by you. Many of them should be done by you, with some external consulting help if needed. But, one area where the do it yourself approach just won't cut it is protecting your interests at closing. You need the help of a professional, a business attorney. So even though you won't like the price, to avoid the expense and advice of a qualified professional could be extremely costly to your future family financial health.
A brief word on the cost. Most attorney's like to bill by the hour. However, there is nothing to prevent you from requesting fixed price. Depending on the perceived complexity of the transaction, and the current schedule of your business attorney, he may agree. This may be further impacted by his experience in your industry, and closing similar transactions. And if the first one doesn't agree, and you have identified several with comparable qualifications, ask the others.
You may return to
Business Advisors And Intermediaries
, or go to