Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs)


Walter | Haverfield attorneys guide businesses of all sizes on the feasibility, design and installation of employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) — a proven tool for securing a legacy of continuity as well as tax savings. From large, publicly-traded companies with thousands of plan participants, to small, family-owned businesses with only a handful of employees, our team of ESOP advisors deliver detailed analytics and unique insights tailored for the ultimate outcomes for business owners dedicated to their pride of ownership. From manufacturing and construction to distribution, healthcare and financial services, our clients span many industries, but their goal is the same: establishing the best succession plan.

Composed of established and highly experienced business, ERISA, finance and tax lawyers, our ESOP legal experts manage all plan elements, from inception to maturity. We are dedicated to serving businesses that have transitioned, or plan to transition, to full or partial ESOP ownership; the controlling shareholders who sell to ESOPs; and the lending institutions that finance these transactions.

Walter | Haverfield is your business succession partner; our established ESOP experience is your business succession solution.

Walter | Haverfield’s ESOP attorneys in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, help business owners transition their businesses to a new generation through in-depth ESOP succession planning strategies. As a valuable legacy planning tool, ESOPs allow business owners to retain as much or as little control to shape the future. With an ESOP, the focus is on protecting a company’s independence, culture and reputation built over decades while simultaneously growing the business.

We are dedicated to helping our clients fully realize the unique benefits ESOPs can provide, including the ability to:

  • Implement acquisition strategies
  • Implement succession planning strategies
  • Provide liquidity to selling owners
  • Realize competitive advantages
  • Recruit and retain top talent

ESOPs can help businesses and their owners realize a wide range of tax advantages, including:

  • Defer long-term capital gains tax on sale proceeds with a Code Section 1042 election
  • Minimize estate taxes and preserve family wealth
  • Eliminate federal income taxes on company profits

In addition, we ensure our clients achieve and maintain compliance with:

  • Lender and investor requirements
  • Tax, labor, securities and ERISA requirements

Our clients are also provided valuable support from Walter |Haverfield’s strong relationships with accounting firms, lending institutions, third party administrators, valuation experts and other vendors integral to establishing and managing ESOPs.

At Walter | Haverfield our wealth of ESOP transaction experience ensures a reliable partner for every step of your legacy-transitioning plan. From deciding whether an ESOP is the right business succession strategy for your business with a feasibility analysis, to managing and maintaining the mature ESOP, we walk with you toward the future.