Throughout my career as a practicing CPA, family owned business advisor and forensic business appraiser, I have been, and continue to be, frequently asked by small business owners:

what is my business worth? This is a complex question for several reasons. The answer depends on WHY for many reasons. The purpose of the value governs methodologies and approaches.  For example, in litigation, the business value is defined as fair market value or fair value, based on case law in the jurisdiction. In a strategic sale to a competitor, the value will be based on synergistically adjusted financial information. For estate, gift and succession planning  purposes, business value is defined as fair market value pursuant to IRS rules. However, business owners want to know the value for a whole host of reasons:


·       Realizable
dollars in their bank accounts upon an imagined value – maximizing dollar value

Gifting and succession planning – usually
minimizing value for tax purposes, or maximizing for      future basis considerations

·       Shareholder
disputes – Fair Value in NYS defined by case law

·       Divorce
– Fair Market Value in NYS defined by case law

·       Ego and
bragging rights


A collaborative divorce presents
an opportunity to explore solutions surrounding the business value for the
mutual benefit of the parties in a process of mutual cooperation not offered by
the restrictive and possibly financially and emotionally destructive litigation
alternative where the courts dictate the terms of the settlement, and can
result in a solution without depleting the marital estate and/or disrupting the
income producing capability of the business or its other shareholders. There is
the case law value regarding litigated NYS case law. And then there is the
income stream benefit available to the owning spouse. I know many peacefully
agreed upon divorce settlements where various income stream approaches were
used to settle the valuation issue when the marital parties explored the
various cash flow and taxable options available to reasonably satisfy the
financial, emotional and ego issues. When combined with structured options in
certain cases, and the comfort afforded by working with an insurance based potential,
exploring solutions can yield far more lucrative results. It is not a cookie
cutter approach but requires a careful and unique analysis to satisfy the needs
of all. Here are some examples of the benefits associated with exploring all
the available options:


Enhancing maintenance period in exchange for
business value as part of settlement

Securing the collection of maintenance for a
defined period – peace of mind

Tax planning opportunities shifting tax burden
as modified accordingly to spouse with the least measurable tax consequence

Maximizing available annual cash flows


The collaborative process is
sufficiently conducive to the creative crafting of an agreement pertaining to
the division of assets that suit the parties’ temperament, patience and risk
tolerances. The careful crafting of an agreement enabling the valuation of the
business to mutually work for the best of all during a very trying time will
yield far greater financial and psychic benefits for the entire family, not to
mention substantial cost savings associated with a protracted trial. In
addition it will save all the efforts involved by spousal owners to try to
mitigate business value by manipulating techniques that depress earnings and
minimize cash flows.


And finally, the whole host of reasons bears fruitful results for all.


I am inspired by the awesome judicial system and have dedicated my work to its intellectual challenges surrounding my areas of expertise.
Simply speaking, I offer financial support to attorneys handling complex commercial litigation matters, issue business valuation reports, investigate occupational related and other frauds, conduct forensic examinations, and when necessary defend my opinions via expert testimony.
I also have many years of experience advising family-owned business owners and their families on business profitability, enhancing business value, and diversification of personal wealth from that of illiquid business value.


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