Family Business Transition and Succession Planning – 10 Questions

Family business – Hour-long radio program – on transitioning to the next generation; resolving family issues in and out of the business; planning for succession or sale of the business.

By Robert Adelson

This post is about  an hour-long radio show “Exit This Way” where I was the sole guest for the show’s host Kerri Salls, which show aired three times on Monday, March 18, 2013, on The show was on the topic of Family Business Transition and Succession Planning.   To have a listen, go to I hope you enjoy this radio show.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Below is a list of questions considered for the show.

  1. What steps should an owner take who wants to bring a son or daughter into the business?
  2. What actions can be taken to give non-family members a sense of fair treatment, meritocracy and transparency when there are family members in the business who seem to be favored?  How to combat at sense of nepotism in the business?
  3. What actions can be taken if there is discord in the family between family members who work in the business and family members who don’t work in the business but nonetheless benefit from that business and voice their views on how the business should be operated?
  4. What can you do if the business outgrows the family – how can you bring in outside talent to help an owner who has been largely making all decisions on his own and needs others to lean on for advice in a changing world and marketplace
  5. What techniques can a family business use to recruit non-family members to bring in new Talent and expertise and build the business?
  6. What are some of the choices available to an owner to plan his or her estate and transfer interest in a family business?
  7. How do you design a plan for succession of the leadership of a family business from the older generation to the younger generation?
  8. What if the owner wants to retire and there is no one in the next generation capable of taking over – What are your choices if you still want to preserve the livelihood of younger members still in the  family business?
  9. If you decide as owner at you are going to sell the family business, how do you prepare for sale?
  10. If you decide to sell the business – What different forms can a sale take?  What is the best form of sale for you and the family?

Most of these questions were covered in the show, but the extent not all were covered you are welcome to call or email me and we can go over any of the other questions.

Also, if you or anyone you know is involved in a family business and faces questions or issues over transition or succession or needs legal representation , please do give me a call (617) 951-9980 ext.  205  or shoot me an email at

I would be glad to work with you, your friends, colleagues or relatives to make the transition or succession for the family business effective for you to hopefully accomplish the goals you seek.



Author: Robert Adelson

Robert Adelson has been a corporate and tax attorney since 1977. He began as an associate at nationally prominent New York City “mega” law firms, first at the Wall Street firm Dewey Ballantine Bushby Palmer & Wood and later at the Park Avenue firm Weil Gotshal & Manges. In 1985, Adelson returned home, where he has since established himself as a respected Boston business attorney. He has attained partner at several small and midsize Boston law firms, most recently at Lawson & Weitzen LLP and then Zimble Brettler LLP, where he was a partner from 1994 to 2004 before becoming a partner at Engel & Schultz LLP from 2004 to 2019. With the breakup of that firm over semi-retirement of senior partners, Robert Adelson formed the firm Adelson & Associates, LLC, where he is the principal, that commenced operations 1/1/2020.

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