How long will your family business stay in the family? One generation? Two generations? How about 4 generations down the line?

The truth is that very few family business stay in the family beyond the first generation. Statistically, Only 40% of family owned businesses survive to the second generation, 12% to the third, and 3% to the fourth. There are many possible reasons for this, such as lack of interest by subsequent generations or the evolving market and economy, but one of the main reasons that family businesses don’t survive to the second and third generation is lack of planning.

Which families have been successful with succession planning for their businesses? This article in Business Week profiles the famous families of business, and includes some interesting discussion of why certain families are successful where others aren’t. Parent-child relationships often become fraught with tension when the time comes to pass the baton, but history has shown that succession transitions are much smoother when the occur gradually, and according to a plan created and agreed upon by ALL interested parties.

Business succession planning is a key element to owning your business at any step of the game, not just at retirement age. This is because it is not merely about exit strategy, but about making goals and planning for future success. Leaving the business to your children is not your only option. You may decide to sell your business, or leave it to a partner. The options are out there, if you only know where to find them.

This is where an estate planning attorney can help.

Whether your business is in its first generation or its fifth, whether you intend to pass it on to your children or sell it, planning is essential if you want your business to survive. Our firm can help you do just that. Whether through wills and trusts, or the succession planning described in this blog, it is our business to look to the future. Trust us to help you do the same.