This is easily the most mismanaged planning stage due to the personalities and human relations involved. In a first-generation business where the owner is also the founder, there can be attachment issues and a hesitation to "let go". It is imperative that the owner and family members decide whether they are a family business or a business family. Until this is thought through it is virtually impossible to implement optimal wealth management strategies.

If the proper corporate financial structure has been put in place it greatly facilitates either the sale to new owners or the transfer to the new family generation.


  • Begin this stage years before expected transition of business
  • Groom key employees/family members to take on business responsibilities
  • Set up a Family Council and meet at least once per year
  • Join a family business organization such as CAFE
  • Read succession planning books articles and materials
  • Seek out family business specialists to help manage the succession process
  • In the case of an outside sale seek out services of a business valuator and an experienced business broker


  • Ever forget the axiom: "perceptions are reality, facts are negotiable"