Kids Often Feel Pressure to Take Over the Family Business

Business succession planning gets complicated. If you leave a company to your children, are you making their career choices for them? What if they wanted to do something else with their lives?

It’s a worry that many parents have, and it’s true that children often feel this pressure — even if their parents do not put it on them directly.

“Even though my parents had always been very clear that they wanted us to pursue our own interests, I felt like doing something different would be abandoning what my father had been working on his whole life,” said one man in an interview. “I was definitely concerned that I’d hurt my parents’ feelings if I didn’t get into the business — especially my dad’s.”

It’s more than just a business decision at that point. Feelings and emotions play a role. Do parents and heirs make clear choices that are best for their future? Or will they make mistakes based on what they think they should do, not what they want to do or what they’re good at doing?

This is the type of thing you can avoid. When you start doing your estate planning and creating a business succession plan, sit down with your heirs. Ask them what they want in life. Tell them about your preferences. Have an open and honest conversation, assuring them you’ll respect their decisions. It can take time, but this conversation helps you craft the right plan for your family. That’s what’s important.

After you know how to proceed, then it’s time to look into the legal steps you will need to take to make it a reality.