Owner-Led & Family Business

Hemenway & Barnes assists generations of families as well as individuals and partnerships who own or manage businesses. These have varied from local or regional manufacturing, construction, service, technology and retail enterprises to international, family-owned corporate groups and investment funds.

Owner-led and family businesses benefit from our in-depth knowledge of their diverse needs, including:

  • Succession and continuity planning
  • Tax planning
  • Governance
  • Estate planning
  • Wealth management
  • Family office services
  • Philanthropic strategies

This multidisciplinary approach promotes planning that enhances the success of the enterprise and, more importantly, the outcomes for the owners and their families.

We also work with businesses in all stages of development from start-up through growth and transitions on transactional, planning and management issues. Visit our General Counsel page for more information.

Succession Planning

Prudent privately held businesses plan ahead. This is why principal owners regularly seek our counsel to review and plan how they intend to transfer their ownership interests and how management is to evolve. Family-owned and other closely held enterprises particularly value our careful attention to avoid unintended results, such as a forced sale of the business, which might otherwise become necessary to meet estate tax liabilities, or ownership of the enterprise by unprepared family members. Our attorneys strive to ensure the success and growth of the business as it passes between generations of ownership.

We also recognize that succession planning is often intertwined with personal estate planning, wealth management and charitable giving. Our business and estate planning lawyers and trustees work together to help you develop a comprehensive plan to shape your legacy.

Representative Experience

  • A multigenerational family that owns a $200 million technology company needed help planning for the future of the family company while preserving its privacy. Our attorneys formed a holding company that permits multigenerational ownership while maintaining the family's control of the existing enterprise and creating the structure and vehicle for family governance, education, venture investments and philanthropic efforts.
  • The senior founder of a successful family-owned business and the next generation turned to Hemenway & Barnes to help them with succession planning. We were able to negotiate and document the buyout of the senior founder by the next generation in a complex, long-term purchase involving business and real estate assets. Our lawyers continue to advise the next generation as they plan for the future.
  • A widow needed our help navigating the probate process and the sale of her interest in her deceased husband's business. We helped manage the estate settlement process and negotiated the sale of her interests in the family-owned business, creating a smooth transition to the next generation.
  • After the sudden death of a family member, a family business needed help transferring the assets from the deceased member to the surviving member. Our attorneys managed the valuation, tax structuring and transfer of assets to provide the best possible outcome for all parties.
  • We successfully negotiated the buyout of our client by her sister, who was co-owner of a multigenerational family business.
  • We represented a closely held family corporation in the recovery of assets following embezzlement by a former CFO.

Team Spotlights

John J. Siciliano

John J. Siciliano is Chair of the firm’s Business Law Group. He advises privately held businesses, nonprofits and individuals in business and real estate matters.

How can we help your business?
Contact a member of our Business Law Group today.
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