Ownership & Leadership Transition

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Washington’s New Trustee Delegation Law: Allowing Fiduciaries to More Easily Keep Businesses in the Family

If you are a family business owner in Washington who wants to place control of your business in the hands of a trustee until your beneficiaries are ready to assume control, or for other reasons, a recent change in Washington law may make this alternative more accessible. Until recently, trustees had little flexibility in managing an operating business, and might even sell the business in order to reduce their fiduciary risk ...Continue Reading

The Non-family CEO in the Family Business

Top Washington Winery Looks to Next Generation

Recap: Powell’s Books | The Rise of an Empire

Who Owns the Family Name?

Passing on the Business to the Next Generation: Not for Everyone

Governance & Business Operations

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The Importance of Leadership Training Outside the Family Business

For up-and-coming family members who anticipate becoming leaders in their family business, an increasingly common requirement is that they first get meaningful business experience outside the family business.  Michael A. Klein of MK Insights recently published an interesting analysis of such requirements in Smart Business Online, and lays out good reasons why such experience can be a very good thing for the business and the family members. Read more on Michael ...Continue Reading

Perils in Family Business Succession: Dynasty or Meritocracy?

Separate but Equal

Proposed Regulations Would Curtail Most Valuation Discounts for Family-Owned Businesses

Do Securities Laws Apply to the Family Business?

Earn-out Pitfalls for Business Owners

Growth & Exit Strategies

Funnel flow flat line style concept illustration

Top Ten Seller Mistakes

In his recently published book, Perfect your Exit Strategy:  Seven Steps to Maximum Value, Seattle investment banker Thomas Metz highlights what he sees as the top ten mistakes made by sellers of businesses.  Family-owned businesses are not immune from these mistakes.  We present a brief summary of the list with Mr. Metz’s permission:  Confusing Price with Value. The buyer and seller need to agree on price, not value.  The price can be ...Continue Reading

The Difficulty of Succession Planning

What’s Next: After the Sale of a Family Business

Family Business in China – Is There A Succession Crisis?

Valuing Interests in the Family Business

Deferred Payments and Earnouts – A Potential Source of Family Discord

Estate Planning


Be Careful with Living Trusts that Own S Corporation Stock

In many states, Living Trusts are a person’s key estate planning document.  Living Trusts are created to hold assets during life and then dispose of those assets at death according to the person’s directions (here, we will call the person making the Living Trust the “Grantor.”  Living Trusts thus operate much like a Will, but, unlike a Will, Living Trusts have the benefit of avoiding probate.  This makes them common ...Continue Reading

Succession & Estate Planning Fundamentals for Business Owners

Plan to Communicate

Preserving Your Family Business (or Sale Proceeds) for Generations

Effectively Utilize Your Combined Federal Gift and Estate Tax Exemption

Your Estate Plan – Four Documents You Should Be Considering


Social Media Likes

Social media research reveals insights for retaining top talent.

Successful companies depend on finding and retaining talented employees. Attrition, on the other hand, is expensive. A constantly revolving door means more money and time spent training new employees, makes it hard to build effective teams and can undermine company morale. Family businesses may have a particularly difficult to path to tread in this regard: retaining non-family member employees is a constant issue in family businesses. Even beyond the family/non-family concerns, ...Continue Reading

Harder to Let Go?

The Cowles Company

Does “Hobby Lobby” Apply to My Family Business?

Simple Cafeteria Plans – Key to Keeping Key Employees

Essential Employment Policies for Family Businesses, Part II

Beyond Business

Microphone with Bokeh

Coming Up: Seattle University’s Family Business Exchange

This Monday, October 17th, Seattle University’s Albers School of Business and Economics is hosting the latest of its Family Business Exchange Events. This installment features: Amy Burns of Anthony’s Restaurants Denise Moriguchi of Uwajimaya Casey Schuchart of Schuchart Construction A.J. Televen of Sprague Pest Solutions The Family Business Exchange Events are only open to family business owners and managers, so it is a great opportunity for this community to come together and share their experiences and ...Continue Reading

Reflections on Selling the Family Business

(Not) All in the Family

Around the Pacific Northwest: Family Business Events You Won’t Want to Miss

Seattle Family Business Exchange

Introducing: The Family Owned Business Guide