Succession Planning v. Continuity Planning

Working with families on their legacy is more than just conversations around estate, endowments, bequests, donations to charities and taxes.  It is about continuing on what was created in previous generations.  This is where succession planning differs from continuity planning.

A Succession Plan is an output of continuity planning.  It includes both the emotional and technical solutions around wealth transfers.  Continuity planning is the journey or process that leads to the successful transition of wealth between family members, owners and operators, friends, community and we cannot forget, government.

In my practise, I work mostly with family enterprises.  Usually I am brought in after the succession planning has begun.  In ideal situations I am able to join the conversation with the other advisors at the start in an effort to support the team in shifting the dialogue from a technical, succession planning discussion, to a bigger vision of continuity planning for the family.  At the end of the day, there are definitely technical objectives related to wealth transfers, but there are also emotional objectives embodied in healthy, happy families.

How do you get through a continuity plan?

You don’t… It is a journey that is always evolving.  What you do, is you develop tools for conversation, exploration and decision making between generations. 


Continuity Planning

Image source - Source: © Cunningham, Sage-Hayward, 2015

How do you envision your continuity planning process starting?  My suggestion – start with a conversation.  Bringing your family or inheritors up to speed on where you are in your thought process is critical… they likely are three or four steps behind you.