1) Values and Life Lessons
2) Instructions and Final Wishes
3) Personal Possessions of Emotional Value
4) Financial Assets and Real Estate
Your Legacy: A Firm Foundation for your Family Business
One of the biggest considerations in dealing with a business legacy is that the next generation must uniquely respect your values, life lessons, and instructions in order to secure the financial aspect of your inheritance. For example, the matriarch of one family started her own business, and rather than allowing her personal wealth to build, continued to always reinvest into her business. With little-to-no fluid assets to leave to her children, she instead chose to involve them in her company, turning it into a family business a decade after its inception. By working alongside her children, she was able to instill in them her values for running a business, her desires for the future of the business, and a sense of ownership and pride in keeping the business afloat. Rather than leaving her children a rather meager financial inheritance, she instead built her children into her business succession plan, leaving them not only with the keys to a successful business, but also the knowledge and tools to keep it thriving.
This strategy, of course, necessitated thorough communication with her children. With each of them she had a heart-to-heart, explaining that she would do her best to leave an inheritance upon her passing, but that the nature of the business meant she could only promise so much. She spoke with them about their desires and about respecting their autonomy, but also instilling in them the opportunity that would come with joining the business. In the end, both children signed on, in part because the positions they were offered matched their interests. These communications and respectful considerations are as much a part of her lasting legacy as the business she built.
With all these intertwining concerns (and more), it can be hard to know where to begin to build a legacy within your family business. Open communication, frank and thorough discussion, and practical considerations for both familiar inheritance and business succession are needed to make sure that your legacy is left as a strong foundation, not a burdensome mess. For advice on opening up these discussions and more solutions to the problems unique to family businesses, contact Hubler for Business Families today to set up a free orientation meeting with Thomas Hubler, the expert on family business planning.