Closely Held Businesses/Private Client



Who We Are

We are partners with closely held businesses and private clients, helping them to grow and strengthen their finances, families and futures. We know what closely held businesses, multi-generational families and high-net-worth individuals need, and we have the capability to navigate sophisticated matters with a sensible and flexible approach. Using this, we approach our role with empathy and compassion for each unique situation. Our team frequently operates in one or more capacities as:

  • Outside general counsel for closely held businesses
  • Family counsel
  • Tax counsel

 We are a unique multidisciplinary team from an array of practice areas essential to closely held businesses and private clients. These include attorneys with deep and sophisticated experience in areas including corporate, trusts and estates, real estate, labor and employment, employee benefits and ERISA, intellectual property and litigation.

Why Closely Held Businesses and Private Clients Choose Us

  • We meet clients where they are and make things work for their unique business needs.
  • We have multi-generational fluency with over 100 years of helping families and their businesses transition, from first generation to fifth generation and beyond.
  • We provide integrated advisory services – we understand the family and business owner perspective and care for the client’s legacy and longevity.
  • We can handle "messy” and keep advancing the deal or resolving the dispute.
  • We are client-centered and avoid over-lawyering matters that can be resolved efficiently and effectively.
  • We engage a client-bottom-line-centered approach with empathy and compassion for your position.

What We Do

Outside general counsel for closely held businesses  | 
Family Counsel  |  Tax Counsel

Outside General Counsel and Day-to-Day Business Counsel

To help business owners and executives increase efficiency and effectiveness while managing overhead expenses, our team operates in a day-to-day advisory capacity as outside general counsel.  We provide “first call” counsel on matters that engage business owner and company executive priorities for:

  • Organizational and operational advisory, including real estate, litigation disputes, insurance coverage, intellectual property and technology strategies, and record-keeping policies.
  • Talent and employee management, including employment policies and handbooks, employee benefits, wage and hour law compliance, harassment and discrimination complaints and other labor and employment matters.
  • Supplier and vendor management, including contracts and agreements
  • Financial planning
  • Strategic planning, including succession planning
  • Intellectual Property protection and enforcement

As outside general counsel for a business or organization, we aim to provide ongoing legal services that match your company’s goals and exceed expectations. Starting with a deep dive into understanding your company and its people, we will begin an assessment that will help you mitigate risk and prioritize legal needs. The process is ongoing, with an annual review intended to assess progress and plan for the future, as well as continual communication on strategic goals and challenges.

Family Business & Succession Planning

Known for our representation of entrepreneurs and owners of family businesses, we serve our clients beyond their day-to-day matters.  We can also be of particular assistance in planning for a leadership transition, advising on:

  • Structuring gifting strategies designed to minimize the potential tax imposed when the business owner dies.
  • Preparing governing documents addressing succession and buy-out matters.
  • Putting in place techniques designed to minimize the potential for family conflict over management of a closely held business.

 We help clients restructure the current ownership of their business, setting the stage for a smooth transition, and when the time is right, map out the ownership and control transfer to the next generation.

 We represent a variety of closely held business clients that have grown from small, entrepreneurial businesses to companies with billions of dollars in revenue. We also work with clients who have a family office – a professional team established to manage the family’s wealth, investments and professional advisors. We serve as trusted members of the team, bringing business, tax, estate planning and planned giving expertise to the table.

Increasingly, American families tend to hold much of their wealth through some form of family business entity – often an S corporation, family partnership or limited liability company – which may provide a variety of benefits, including:

  • Centralized management of family wealth
  • Increased investment opportunities
  • Greater economic efficiencies
  • Asset protection
  • Privacy
  • Potential tax savings

Family Office Exchange (FOX) logoGreensfelder is a proud member of the Family Office Exchange (FOX). FOX supports wealthy families and their advisors in handling the challenges of managing family wealth, running family offices, and planning for future generations. We also are a strategic partner of the St. Louis chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO), a network that enables business owners to learn from each other, leading to greater business and personal success.

Merger and Acquisition Services

The corporate attorneys in our industry group work with owners and company executive teams at every stage of the business cycle – buying new divisions, growing into new markets, or transitioning the business to the next generation when the time is right. From brick and mortar to completely digital ventures, our clients are typically established, closely held businesses that are growing through acquisition. Our lawyers frequently serve as lead counsel for these companies, providing strategic advice through each business transaction, establishing protocols and conducting process checks to keep the operation – and the transaction – running smoothly.

We can represent client business’s interests through all aspects of structuring, negotiating, and documenting transactions and generally counsel business owners in the following areas:

  • Entity selection
  • Business structuring
  • Acquisitions and divestitures
  • Business and tax planning
  • Corporate governance
  • Finance and securities
  • Intellectual property and technology diligence review, audits and valuations 

Corporate clients also seek our counsel in connection with securing financing. In a business’s pursuit of financing, we can advise as to the planning and structuring of new loans, refinancing and restructuring existing loans, securing financing incident to mergers and acquisitions, and financing or leasing a variety of assets. We can also guide clients through cash flow management issues, credit enhancement and interest rate protection agreements.

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Family Counsel

Clients turn to our attorneys for sophisticated and personal lifetime, estate planning and tax planning services. We help high-net-worth individuals and families, business owners and executives plan for and protect their financial future and the family’s wealth for generations to come.

We have extensive experience working with closely held businesses and multi-generational families. Some of our clients have partnered with us for five or more generations, and those relationships allow us to serve as trusted members of the advisory team. Working closely with colleagues in our Business Services practice group, our Trusts & Estates attorneys represent a variety of clients that have grown from small, entrepreneurial businesses to companies with billions of dollars in revenue.

We counsel families and individuals on the disposition of their property through sophisticated lifetime, estate and charitable planning and work on preserving their wealth and educating younger family members, including representing family offices. We have extensive experience in structuring trusts and can help manage a variety of ancillary issues.

Handling Unique Needs with Compassion

Every plan is unique because we take each client’s personal situation and ultimate goals into account and work to create highly customized solutions. To preserve your legacy, our team can provide an in-depth analysis of your goals and the planning techniques available to make sure your complex needs are addressed. Above all, we take an approach that is focused on your goals and crafted with empathy and compassion for your position.

We have experienced attorneys at all levels who serve as family counsel for our clients, allowing us to provide clients with high-level service. We work closely with attorneys in other Greensfelder practice areas – including corporate, employee benefits, real estate, employment and labor, intellectual property  and litigation – to ensure every resource available is used in the interest of our clients. Our attorneys also work closely with outside accounting, insurance, investment, banking and trust professionals to provide the most seamless and effective counsel to the families we serve.

Our services as family counsel include:

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Tax Counsel

Clients turn to us for careful and thoughtful guidance through all aspects of federal and state tax law. Our lawyers will guide clients through the proper choice of entity, assist with sale/merger planning, and represent client interests should issues arise with respect to an audit or appeal. Clients frequently turn to us for tax advice when addressing the following business matters:

  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Organization and operation of closely held business enterprises including C corporations, S corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies
  • Implications of Section 338(h)(10) elections
  • Employee compensation matters
  • Like-kind exchanges
  • Creation and operation of tax-exempt entities
  • Contingent worker and worker misclassification matters
  • Settlement of all types of business and commercial disputes
  • Private letter rulings from the Internal Revenue Service
  • Disputes before local taxing authorities, state agencies or the IRS

We have particular expertise with tax audits and appeals and counsel clients in business planning in a manner that anticipates what the IRS may seek in an audit and help ensure the deals are properly documented from the start. 

To minimize the impact gift tax, estate tax and generation-skipping transfer taxes may have on a transfer of family wealth, we take great care in the advance planning – taking into account each taxing scenario, the associated issues and concepts and the applicable state law. We will also take a holistic approach to your tax planning by considering and incorporating, where applicable, other planning vehicles you may have in place, including life insurance policies and retirement plans.

A certain degree of flexibility is built into each and every plan to respond to the possibility of future change, whether in the tax laws, the economy or a family situation.

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News & Insights

Seminars & Speaking Engagements

  • “Look Out for Gen Z: Planning Ideas for These Beneficiaries”
    Missouri Bar Estate, Trust & Elder Law Institute, October 20, 2022

Blog Posts

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