Mercer Capital Publication: Buy-Sell Agreements
A recent edition of Value Matters, a periodical published by Mercer Capital Group, illustrates the reasons for having a buy-sell agreement and what options might be available. Buy-sell agreements are advisable for the same reason as prenuptial agreements: they structure the consequences of a possible future incident such as shareholder disharmony, death, or divorce.
The valuation provisions of a buy-sell agreement, which may dictate the share price in the event of partner withdrawal, death or divorce, must reconcile competing concerns. On one hand, a book value formula might be desirable in the event of divorce or the buyout of a withdrawing shareholder. On the other hand, a below-market share price may result in excessive estate taxes for the beneficiaries of a deceased shareholder. An agreement can provide different formulas for different situations, but must presumably reconcile those inconsistencies or suffer close scrutiny of the courts or IRS.
Trigger events, valuation method, and purpose are some of the important elements of a successful buy-sell agreement. Extensive details are provided, presumably, by Chris Mercer’s book, Buy-Sell Agreements.