Taking over a firm within the family?


typewriter_BonsaiIf you belong to an entrepreneurial family you will sooner or later face the question if, and how, you want to take part in the family firm. Family members considering taking over have to make some basic decisions. In most cases, family members work in the business as normal employees, in order to get to know the processes, such as dealing with customers and other employees. The management and/or the ownership are then transferred after some years. What the transfer looks like can depend on many factors.

What questions need to be addressed when considering internal succession?

Nachfolge_BonsaiThe following questions are important for successors within the family:

  • Do I really want to become an entrepreneur or do I only feel obliged to my family?
  • How will the other family members and employees trust and support me?
  • Do I have all the qualifications needed to take over the business yet?

Documenting the expectations and wishes of the predecessor is equally important. Honest and open communication helps avoiding misunderstandings. Issues that should be addressed early include details of the business will be transferred (Testamentary gift? Donation inter vivos? Royalties? Profit Share?) and in which time frame the transfer will take place.


Additional links and hints (in German only)


The nachfolg-o-mat (“success-o-meter”) is an online tool that gives a general overview about business succession in Germany. Each user can answer different questions and will then receive an individual analysis about their succession knowledge. In addition to that, the users can see in which areas they still need to acquire more information or knowledge and which contacts might be useful for that.
The nachfolgewiki contains many articles that explain different aspects of business succession which are important to know for family internal succession. The following articles might be relevant to you:


Wie bereite ich die interne Nachfolge für mich persönlich vor?

Was sind die aktuellen Regelungen in der Erbschaft- und Schenkungsteuer?

Prinzipien der familieninternen Nachfolge

Wie erstelle ich ein Nachfolgekonzept?

Was ist bei der Mitarbeiterführung zu beachten?

Hinweise zur Planung der Nachfolge und Definition von Zielen