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ESOPs as an Exit Path

Ben Wells and Jim Carlisle
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On this episode of Tales from the Trenches, Ben Wells and Jim Carlisle dive into ESOPs; detailing different ways to structure an ESOP, the tax advantages of an ESOP, educating clients on ESOPs as a possible exit path, and how advisors can approach the ESOP conversation with their clients.

Ben Wells is a Partner in the Corporate Department and is Chair of the firm's Tax, Benefits and Wealth Planning Practice Group. He leads the firm's Fringe Benefits Committee and is a member of its Practice Management Council. Over a period of more than 25 years, Ben has advised and counseled clients on a full range of issues relating to employee benefits and executive compensation.

Ben works with Fortune 500 companies, privately held employers, not-for-profit employers, state and local governmental entities, health care providers, private equity investors, ERISA plan fiduciaries, financial institutions, board of directors, compensation committees and executives. He helps his clients design, offer and terminate both qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, including stock option, deferred compensation and incentive plans. Ben advises boards of directors and compensation committees on senior executive compensation, including the requirements of Sections 162(m), 280G and 409A of the Internal Revenue Code, and compliance with the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank Acts. Ben also represents senior executives in the negotiation of employment, incentive, change in control and severance agreements.

Ben is also a nationally recognized authority on employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), and is a frequent author and lecturer on ESOP issues. He counsels ESOP trustees, fiduciaries, sponsors and lenders on the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code and ERISA as they relate to ESOPs and also in the use of ESOPs as tools of business planning and succession.

Jim Carlisle, a Partner and a member of the Corporate Department and the Business, Acquisitions and Securities practice group, engineers outcomes for business owners to ensure that they achieve their objectives. As a corporate lawyer, he has over 25 years of experience working with business owners in connection with growth initiatives, financing, generational transfers, third party sales and general business matters. Jim is a frequent speaker at events throughout the United States with respect to growth and exit planning, mergers and acquisitions and family business.

He provides clients with his focus, attention and passion. Jim offers his perspective, experience and judgment to help clients make the best decisions with respect to their most important issues.