What could be easier than transferring your family business to its natural successor: your heirs apparent, your offspring? If some of your first guesses were peace in the Middle East, increasing honesty in politics, or convincing a teenager that he or she might be wrong about something, you have probably witnessed your share of family-business transfer disasters.

Statistics widely quoted by Estate Planning writers indicate that “only” one-third of all family-owned business are passed on to the second generation, and “only” 10% of family owned businesses are transferred to a third generation. Experience indicates that those statistics are wildly optimistic and overstated.