A business expert has urged people to plan early when they are looking to hand over the family business to a relative.
Brendan Walsh is the senior vice president of American Express' Global Corporate Payments in Europe and chair of the company's European Governance Board. He responded to a reader message on director.co.uk by saying that it is important to keep the process as business-like as possible.
Among the items that he advised working on were exit plans, business objectives, successor assessments, organisation structures and any leadership development programmes.
Mr Walsh praised the reader for beginning to plan early, saying: "The fact that you are thinking about it is the first obstacle to overcome. Research has shown that over 70 per cent of family businesses fail to successfully hand over to the next generation and part of this tendency can be explained by a general unwillingness to plan for succession."
Businessman and 'You're the Boss' blogger Jay Goltz agreed that a minority of family businesses make it to the second generation. In a piece for nytimes.com, he said that succession has the potential to become a "nightmare" because of the emotions involved.
Mr Goltz - who owns five businesses - revealed that he is starting to look at his options, so that when it comes to the time when he can no longer run his companies, he can avoid fighting in his family over who deals with which responsibilities.