What information do I need to evaluate a business in a divorce?

While the following list is not comprehensive, it is a great starting point of information:

Financial Statements and Supporting Documents

  • Financial statements for the last three fiscal years ended, and the most current financial statement available.
  • Aged accounts payable list as of the latest fiscal year-end.
  • Aged accounts receivable as of the latest fiscal year-end.
  • Information regarding any contingent assets or liabilities including documents on pending or threatened law suits, insurance claims and environmental studies.
  • Explanation of significant non-recurring and/or non-operating items appearing on financial statements, if any.
  • Depreciation schedules showing original cost and accumulated depreciation by named item.

Taxes

  • State and federal tax returns for the last three ended fiscal years.
  • IRS or other government agency audits or reports, including all adjustments, received during the last three years.

Evidence of Property Values

  • Appraisals of real estate, equipment, collectibles and any other business appraisals that may exist.
  • Insurance policies in force and amounts of coverage at the valuation date.
  • Real and/or personal property tax bills for the last three years.
  • Personal property tax form for the last three years.

Contractual Agreements and Obligations

  • Copies of significant leases in effect as of today, for equipment and property.
  • Copies of buy-sell agreements, options to purchase stock or rights of first refusal, trust agreements or other documents affecting the ownership rights of the owner(s) of the business or any entity in which the business has an interest.
  • Information regarding prior sales or offers to buy control or other interests in the entity being valued. This includes prior sales contracts for an interest in the entity, options to buy or sell all or part of the entity and valuation reports thereon.
  • Covenants not to compete.
  • Other significant contracts.

Entity Records

  • The articles of incorporation and by-laws, including amendments thereto, and corporate minutes, if a corporation; or similar documents if a partnership, LLC, etc.
  • Documents detailing any recent issues of new stock: details of any prior equity transactions involving the entity.

Related Party Documents

  • List of all related companies, if any, (common ownership, shareholders, etc.) and brief description of the relationship and ongoing transactions.

Management and Operation of the Entity

  • A compensation for owners, directors, partners, officers and managers, including benefits received, for the last three ended fiscal years.

Sales and Marketing

  • Budgets, projections, sales forecasts and profit and loss forecasts for the current year, prior years and future years, if available.
  • Copies of marketing literature-catalogs, brochures, advertisements, etc.