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How does a buy/sell agreement funded by life insurance work?

 
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Buy/sell agreements may be set up in conjunction with Sole Proprietorships, Partnerships and Corporations. The method for each is a little different. Below you will find a general description of the options available for each type of business.

Sole Proprietorship

If a sole proprietor has a key employee that has the desire to purchase the business in the event of the sole proprietors death, a buy/sell agreement can facilitate the key employee's purchase of the deceased's business. The sole proprietor and the key employee would enter into a buy/sell agreement, and the key employee would purchase a life insurance policy on the life of the sole proprietor. Pursuant to the buy/sell agreement, upon the death of the sole proprietor, the key employee uses the death benefit to purchase the sole proprietors business from his estate.

Partnership

Cross-Purchase Method
The Cross Purchase Method of entering into a buy/sell agreement works best if there are a small group of partners (preferably two). The partners enter into a buy/sell agreement and each partner buys a life insurance policy on each of the other partners lives. Pursuant to the agreement, upon the death of one of the partners, the surviving partners use the death benefit from the above-mentioned policies to buy the deceased partner's business interest from his or her estate. The surviving partners then own all of the partnership while the deceased partners estate receives the funds from the sale of the deceased partners share of the partnership.

Entity Method
The Entity Method of entering into a buy/sell agreement offers the advantage of simplicity over the Cross-Purchase Method if there are more than two partners or if there is a likelihood of more partners joining the business later. In this scenario, the partnership and each partner enter into a buy/sell agreement. The partnership buys a life insurance policy on each of the partners lives. Pursuant to the buy/sell agreement, upon the death of one of the partners, the partnership uses the death benefit from the above-mentioned policy to purchase the deceased partners business interest from his or her estate. The surviving partners then own all of the partnership while the deceased partners estate receives the funds from the sale of the deceased partners share of the partnership.

Corporation

Cross-Purchase Method
The Cross-Purchase Method of entering into a buy/sell agreement works best if there are a small group of shareholders (preferably two). The shareholders enter into a buy/sell agreement and each shareholder buys a life insurance policy on each of the other shareholders lives. Pursuant to the buy/sell agreement, upon the death of one of the shareholders, the surviving shareholders use the death benefit from the above-mentioned policies to buy the deceaseds shareholders business interest from his or her estate. The surviving shareholders will own all of the outstanding corporate stock while the deceased shareholders estate receives the funds from the sale of the deceased shareholders stocks.

Stock Redemption Method
The Stock Redemption Method of entering into a buy/sell agreement offers the advantage of simplicity over the Cross-Purchase Method if the corporation has more than two shareholders or if there is a likelihood that additional shareholders will join the business later. In this scenario, the corporation and each shareholder enter into a buy/sell agreement, and the corporation buys a life insurance policy on each of the shareholders lives. Pursuant to the buy/sell agreement, upon the death of one of the shareholders, the corporation uses the death benefit from the above-mentioned policy to purchase the deceaseds shareholders business interest from his or her estate. The surviving shareholders then own all the outstanding corporate stock while the deceased shareholders estate receives the funds from the sale of the deceased shareholders stock