Women Reach the Top at more Family Firms

Women Reach the Top at more Family Firms
by Edward Taylor
Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal

This article is reprinted by permission from StartupJournal.com.

As chief executive of Swedish forklift truck manufacturer Atlet AB, Marianne Nilson is one of a growing number of women who hold key positions in their family firms.

“The dynastic model of succession, where the business is passed on to the eldest son, seems to be fading,” says Jozef Lievens, a partner at Belgian law firm Ebilius Lawyers, and founder of the Belgian Family Institute, a nonprofit organization that provides training and education for family businesses. “We see a growing tendency for daughters to take over the firm — or even entire teams of siblings.”

A 1997 survey of 3,000 family firms conducted by Mass Mutual in the U.S. showed that the number of female chief executives was set to rise, with 25% of respondents saying their next CEO would be a woman. A similar trend is evident in Europe, Mr. Lievens says. More…

Sheltering Growth From Estate and Gift Taxes

Family Limited Partnerships and Family LLCs:
Sheltering Growth From Estate and Gift Taxes
by John V. Ivsan
Shumamker, Loop & Kenkdrick

Introduction

A problem inherent in most family businesses involves the issues of succession and taxation. As a family business continues to grow, the business becomes an increasingly valuable asset in the hands of the elder family members. If the business remains in a parent’s estate, upon death there may be significant estate taxes, as well as liquidity problems involved with paying those taxes. The parent’s estate may be compelled to sell valuable assets to pay for estate taxes, jeopardizing the family business and leaving heirs with a diminished estate.

Parents are often reluctant to remove a family business from their estates.Typically, a parent does not want to part with management control over the family business, risking the fortunes of a growing enterprise with children who may be less experienced at the business.Additionally, many traditional forms of transferring ownership of the family business from parents to children are subject to high levels of gift tax.

The explosion in popularity of family limited partnerships (“FLPs”) in the past few years as a solution to these problems can be attributed to the versatility that a FLP offers to a family business.By contributing their interests in a family business to a FLP, parents may transfer future ownership and control of the business to their children at a substantially reduced transfer tax cost while at the same time permitting the parents to retain control over the business. More…