Not everyone attaches the same meaning to "business succession planning".  It is perhaps best described as planning for the transition of the ownership or management of a business.

Business succession planning is different from "estate planning".  An estate plan deals with who gets what and when in the case of the owner or controller of the business dying.  It may involve the appointment of a Special Executor to deal with the business. However, business succession issues can be quite separate from this.  A business succession plan deals with the passing of control of the running of the business during the lifetime of the current owner or controller.

It is one thing to consider the death of the owner on control of the business.  It is possibly more likely that they will be disabled or suffer severe illness during their working life and this needs to be taken account of when preparing business succession plans.

Where there are a number of proprietors of a closely held business, then often buy/sell agreements are used to deal with the orderly transfer of equity in certain events such as death trauma or total and permanent disability.  Businesses may be owned in different structures involving partnerships, trusts and/or companies.  Certain events affecting key personnel trigger the orderly transfer of equity.

Developing successful business succession planning will often involve a number of professional advisers depending upon the circumstances of each case and the needs of the parties.