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The Importance of a Succession Plan With Family Business

The Importance of a Family Business Succession Plan

Over the holidays I found myself reading the charming history of Marchesi Antonori, an Italian wine company, and the 10th oldest family-run business in the world. For twenty-six generations, the Antonoris have dedicated themselves to crafting some of the finest wine on the planet. In the process, they have navigated an assassination by a jealous Duke, the disastrous flood of the Arno River accidentally poisoned batches of their goods, and an aggressive buy-out attempt by Allied Lyons (later Allied Domecq), among many other hurdles. Miraculously, the company has survived and even more impressively, the family still gets along.

The success of the Antonori’s is not by chance or dumb luck but the result of planning. Piero Antonori, the company’s leader through much of the twentieth century, did not blindly pass control to the next in line; on the contrary, he waited until his three daughters developed natural, genuine interest before even considering handing over the reins. A qualified and trusted outside individual served as CEO while his children acquired the skills needed to understand the intricacies of wine-making and even then, they only ascended to leadership roles when their own initiative guided them to do so.

Measured, gradual training of heirs is only one aspect of a working succession plan. Other important elements include the establishment of a family trust that ensures major decisions are made with third-party input and a financial plan that includes provisions (and funds) to buy out any future family member that may not wish to participate. All of these considerations were worked into Marchesi Antonori’s planning and the result speaks for itself.

Such foresight is essential to the continued success of any family business, be it one with a 600-year history and annual net profits of tens of millions of dollars or one started just this past year when the global Covid-19 pandemic finally provided you the time to start your dream enterprise.

An experienced estate planning attorney is the person to turn to when beginning to draft such a plan. Not only will they have seen it all and know the tricks of the trade, but they will also provide that essential, outside perspective that ensures you and your business do not fall victim to the blind spots that come with heart and soul investment.

At the Law Firm of Christopher W. Dumm, we only wish to work with clients to whom we can bring real, dollars and cents value. For this reason, we first and foremost are always here to listen and promise to provide a transparent, sincere evaluation of your interests and needs.

Give us a call today and we will do everything within our power to set you and your family business up for lasting success, both in terms of your bottom line and your sentimental well-being. After all, a family business is not only about enriching your bank account but about enriching the relationship between you and your loved ones, as well.

Contact the Estate Planning Attorneys at the Law Firm of Christopher W. Dumm

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