Family Businesses

News & Analysis as of

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

A recent article in The Economist (“The Reluctant Heir”) addressed the challenges in getting the next generation ready to take over the family business. These challenges are nothing new in the family business community. In...more

Before Your Han Solo Dies, Have a Business Estate Plan

In a Galaxy, Far Far Away, Han Solo ran a smuggling business with his good buddy Chewbacca in his ship, The Millennium Falcon. He would occasionally have a crew but they would always end up dying (I wouldn’t want to work for...more

Business Succession Planning - February 2016

The transition of a family owned or closely-held business is a significant undertaking even with the best laid plan. This article will outline the issues that should be considered by the business owner in transitioning a...more

Recap: How our Business Survived Three Generations of Family Leadership and Ownership

Two generations of the Hemingway family recently shared their experiences with partnering for growth and developing the next generation. On January 20, 2016, at Davis Wright Tremaine’s Seattle Office, Jon Hemingway, Chairman...more

Who Runs Your Business and Finances if You Can’t?

You are the senior executive of a successful family business. If you experience a stroke, or a heart attack, or are in a serious accident, such that you are in a coma, for example, or otherwise unable to act on your own...more

Parent, Child and Participation vs. Ownership: A Family Business Dilemma

Here’s a common scenario: Parents successfully develop a business. Then their children get involved in the business – but maybe not all of the children. Then comes the challenge: One of the offspring works at the business and...more

The Results Are In!

Each year, our colleagues at the Pacific Family Business Institute (PFBI) conduct a survey of approximately two hundred family business leaders in the Pacific Northwest. They ask about topics such as growth, succession...more

Business Succession Planning - January 2016

The transition of a family owned or closely-held business involves a variety of legal and tax issues. This goals of this process, however, should be focused on issues that are just as important – if not more important – than...more

Keeping the “Family” in Family Business: Succession of Ownership Does Not Always Mean Succession of Control and Income

As family business owners often are advised, business succession planning should include some form of estate planning. This advice is especially true when an owner wishes to transfer a business to future generations by gift...more

Permanent Charitable IRA Rollover

Congress recently made permanent the IRA charitable rollover. Individuals over age 70½ can make lifetime gifts, up to $100,000 per year, to qualified public charities from their individual retirement accounts (IRAs). To...more

Speculation Continues Regarding Potential Proposed §2704 Regulations

The general consensus among attorneys and accountants had been that the Treasury hoped to issue new proposed regulations under Section 2704(b) prior to this fall’s tax section meeting of the ABA, which was September 17...more

3 Year-End Arbitration Lessons From Appellate Courts

Before I can sum up 2015 in arbitration (next post!), I need to report on some new cases coming out of the federal and state appellate courts in recent weeks. Two are just good reminders of basic arbitration law, but the...more

Succession Planning: “If I get hit by a bus tomorrow…”

Let’s face reality. We are all going to pass on someday, so we might as well be prepared and lessen the burden for those following behind us. One of the first steps in effective succession planning is to gather in one place...more

Family Business in China – Is There A Succession Crisis?

In September, Gary Locke, former U.S. Ambassador to China, Secretary of Commerce and two-term Governor of the State of Washington, returned to Davis Wright Tremaine as a Senior Advisor. Ambassador Locke’s return sparked a...more

Washington LLC Act: How Family Businesses Are Affected

Embracing change is tough, because it rarely hugs you back. But the recent changes to the Washington State LLC Act (RCW Chapter 25.15) at least have some provisions that are affectionate toward family businesses and LLCs in...more

Family Businesses Outperform Publicly Traded Companies

In late 2012, researchers Nicolas Kachaner, George Stalk and Alain Bloch at the Harvard Business School published a study to compare family-owned businesses of certain sizes and industries with their non-family-owned...more

Use a noncharitable purpose trust to achieve a variety of goals

Generally, trusts must have one or more human beneficiaries, but there’s an exception for certain “purpose” trusts. One popular type of purpose trust is a charitable trust. But don’t overlook the noncharitable purpose (NCP)...more

Transferring the Family Business Timing is Everything

One of the most important factors to consider in any business succession plan is the timing of the transition of ownership. Whether a sale or a gift (or combination of the two), no transition should occur before the next...more

Dynasty Trust Planning: A Tax-Efficient Way to Manage Wealthy Families' Assets

Private Wealth Services partner, Michelle R. Canerday, and Corporate & Securities partner, Robert G. Gerber, recently co-authored the article "Dynasty Trust Planning: A Tax-Efficient Way to Manage Wealthy Families' Assets,"...more

The Immigrant Family Business: Succeeding in the American Market

Statue Of Liberty Against A Golden Sky There is nothing uniquely American about the concept of family business. Families have operated businesses in every nation of the world, and some cultures are well known for fostering...more

Structure, structure, structure

In reading Andrew Keyt’s piece about family businesses (recently published on FoxNews.com), “structure” was the one word that continued to resonate for me. Mr. Keyt never used the word “structure” but his advice to family...more

Business Succession Planning: The Time is Now

Family-controlled businesses comprise between 80-90 percent of all business enterprises in North America. And while it is estimated that nearly 40 percent of family businesses are passed successfully to a second generation,...more

Five Legal Documents Every Family Business Should Have (and Use)

Every business is different. Certainly, every family is different. But family businesses, as a group, share certain challenges and opportunities. In order to ensure their businesses survive, thrive and grow, leaders of family...more

Potential Limitations on Gift Tax Strategies Coming Soon

Valuation discounts have been a significant component of estate planning for many years. By contributing assets to a family entity and gifting or selling an interest in the entity to family members, you can effectively...more

Domestic Partnership Agreements: Financial Disclosures and Privacy

To reduce risk of later attack on the domestic partnership agreement, domestic partners should make fair and reasonable financial disclosures to each other prior to signing the agreement. Each partner should disclose to the...more

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