Collaboration among professionals is essential for business and legacy families. There is tremendous complexity involved in meshing the emotional/relational world of families with the economic realities of business and shared assets. No one profession can handle it all, and families benefit when their professionals work well together, egos set aside, to help families navigate their challenges and opportunities.

I’ve tried to practice this myself as a member of a study group, originally affiliated with the Family Firm Institute, for ten years. Its members represent accounting, law, finance, psychology, family dynamics/systems, wealth management, financial planning, organizational development, and more. Many of us, including me, have had personal experiences in business families. We discuss cases, books and articles and various deep and interesting issues as they arise in our work.

Ron Drucker, co-founder of the tax strategy firm Drucker and Scaccetti, has been a member of this study group since day one and has become a friend as well. Over time I have met his partner Jane Scaccetti and I have deep respect for their firm. Jane recently wrote a blog post about planning for a “Sudden Succession” and I’m sharing it here with you.

Businesses of any type would do well to heed this advice. However, business families are often particularly hard hit by “sudden succession” as working and non-working family members, and owning and non-owning family members, struggle to make decisions without a framework. It is not unusual to see the emotional pressure and informality in planning harm the business and family alike.

Thanks, Jane, for sharing. I hope my clients, colleagues and friends find it as useful as I did.