Family Business Resource Center

Insight & Commentary on Ownership & Leadership Transition, Family Wealth, and Business Succession

For fans of Shakespeare, our blog is taking a literary bent again. Our first Shakespeare post related the lessons from King Lear. Now we turn to Hamlet. We all know that one of the biggest struggles of a family business is surviving succession. According to Lloyd Steier, Professor in the Department of Strategic Management and Organization at the University of Alberta School of Business and Director of the Alberta Business Family Institute, William Shakespeare’s writings…
A few weeks have passed since the beginning of the New Year, and we suggest that it is time to check-in on your family business’ New Year’s resolutions. One resolution that should be on every family business’ list in 2019 is succession planning. According to the Conway Center for Family Business, each year around 70 percent of family businesses fail to successfully navigate the rough waters of succession because owners are putting off having important…
One of the biggest struggles of a family business is surviving succession. According to Lloyd Steier, Professor in the Department of Strategic Management and Organization at the University of Alberta School of Business and Director of the Alberta Business Family Institute, the writings of William Shakespeare are one place to look for strategies of survival – “Shakespeare offers us eternal lessons and shows us that these issues have been around for hundreds of years.” Steier…
On January 10, 2019, the Seattle office of Davis Wright Tremaine hosted Bud Gould and his children to discuss the history and legacy of one of the most iconic Northwest family-owned restaurant chains, Anthony’s Home Port and the Anthony’s restaurants. The discussion was part of the Family Business Legacy Series, hosted by Davis Wright Tremaine and co-sponsored by Moss Adams, the Pacific Family Business Institute and Cascadia Capital. Bud Gould told the listening audience of…
Family businesses, like any other business, are often created when a family least expects it. Womaze, a self-empowerment app with a mission to “democratize wisdom, reminding women of their infinite worth and potential,” was founded by three sisters Becca (21), Leah (21), and Hannah (17), and their mother Corin (52), when they least expected it. The women of the Wiser family had a tradition of supporting each other through group-chat when two of the…
You may have noticed a recent flurry of articles on “Governance” in our Family Business Resource Center. This is intentional. The concept of “Governance” as it applies to families and family-owned businesses is often misunderstood. But, done well, it is perhaps the one factor that most influences success for the family enterprise, which we generally believe means a family that communicates well, is aligned on key objectives, and a business that is well-positioned to flourish…
We are pleased to share with you a link to a recent article from the Puget Sound Business Journal featuring DWT partner Bill Weigand. At a recent Northwest Family Business Advisors meeting, Bill and fellow family business advisors Dan Gaffney (Moss Adams LLP), Christian Schiller (Cascadia Capital), Richard Simmonds (Pacific Family Business Institute), and Ron Dohr (Pacific Family Business Institute) discussed key takeaways from the Pacific Family Business Institute’s recent survey, Governance & Compensation: The…
Hiring and employing family members is common in the realm of family businesses. An important thing to remember is that most family employees are treated in the same manner as any other employee for federal tax purposes, meaning that their compensation generally is subject to federal income tax withholding and FICA (i.e., social security and Medicare) and FUTA (i.e., unemployment) tax. However, the wages of certain family members are exempt from FICA and FUTA taxes.…
When Congress enacted tax reform in December 2017, federal gift and estate tax “basic exclusion amount” (often referred to as the “gift and estate tax exemption”) increased to $10 million per person (from $5 million), indexed for inflation ($11,180,000 in 2018 and $11,400,000 in 2019). Absent further legislation, this portion of tax reform sunsets on December 31, 2025 and the basic exclusion amount reverts back to $5 million per person, indexed for inflation. An issue…
You’ve gone through the motions of succession planning—groomed your successor, established and executed all the attorney-advised documents—and now you’re prepared to hand off your business, right? Not necessarily. Many family business executives actively or passively resist the transition process they once agreed to when it comes time to implement the plan. Even a well-crafted succession plan can fail if it lacks one key element: psychology. A focused review of the executive’s and member’s psychology should…