Buy Sell Agreements – General – Alabama
A buy-sell (business purchase) agreement is an agreement between the owners of the business for purchase of each others interest in the business. The buy-sell can be triggered in the event of the owner’s death, disability, retirement, withdrawal from the business or other events.
Reasons For The Agreement
1. Establish the value of the business for federal and state death tax purposes.
2. Unwilling to continue the business with the family of a deceased co-owner.
3. Prevent all or part of the business from falling into the hands of “outsiders.”
The Agreement Basics
The agreement provides for the purchase price, terms and funding arrangements. The agreement obligates the retiring or disabled owner or owner’s estate to sell the business to the business itself, or to the surviving owner(s), or maybe an option of either.
Types Of Agreements
The Buy-Sell agreements can take several forms, such as:
1. An agreement between the business and the individual owners (stock redemption agreement or stock retirement plan).
2. An agreement between the owners (a cross purchase or “criss-cross” agreement).
3. An agreement between the owners and key person, family member or outside individual (a “third party” business buy-out agreement).
4. A combination of the foregoing.
Basically, these are either a Cross Purchase Plan or Entity Purchase Plan.
Cross Purchase Agreement
Each partner agrees with each of the other partners to purchase his or her share of the business at the time of death. The Partners may take out a life insurance policy on the life of the other(s) to fund the obligation. At the time of the first death, the surviving partner(s) collects the insurance proceeds. The survivor then uses the insurance proceeds to buy the business share from the deceased’s family. This type agreement can be used with two or more partners.
Entity Purchase Plan
Each partner agrees that upon death his or her share of the business will be sold back to the business. The business may buy life insurance policies on each of the partners to fund the obligation. At the death of a partner, the business collects the insurance proceeds and buys the business interest from the deceased partner’s heirs.
The agreements commit the owners not sell ownership in the business prior to death, without first offering it to the persons named in the agreement. This is called a right of first option or refusal.
Life Insurance to Fund the Agreement
Whole life insurance has generally been used to fund a buy-sell agreement.The life insurance industry also offers “Business Value Life Insurance” with a death benefit determined by the value of the business rather than the terms of the policy. The death benefit can grow as the value of the business grows. Premiums may also be higher as the death benefit increases.
The purchase price can be based on an appraisal, set predetermined price, book value, or a formula of assets and earnings.
Agreements may provide that the price will be paid in cash, in installments, or other means. You may also select a combination of cash and installments. Of course, if the insurance proceeds are sufficient to pay the price in cash many agreements provide that the purchase is to be paid in full in cash from the insurance proceeds.