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At what age should children take over your business?

You started your business from nothing. You have been grooming your children to get them ready to take it over when you decide to retire. Maybe you have one specific heir that you think is the right pick for the job. Now, you're just wondering how old they should be when you give it to them.

Interestingly, experts largely think that age makes no difference. Don't wait for your heir to hit some magical point in their life when they can run the company well. Instead, look for the signs that they are ready to do it. That comes at different times for different people.

At the same time, there is something to be said for experience. Don't just hand a company to your son or daughter after they graduate from college, assuming that they're ready and eager to do it.

Instead, you often want to give them a lower-level position within the company. Work with them. Show them the ropes. Make them work their way up, experiencing different types of jobs. They'll learn far more about how the business really works this way than if you just put them in at the top with no experience. They will also appreciate the company more, and they will not just take the business for granted.

Keep all of this in mind when doing your estate planning and your business succession planning. Every family is unique, as is every family-owned business. Think about what will really be best for all involved and what steps you can take to make sure that things work out smoothly.

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