Ultra-high-net-worth families that own their own business are frequently not prepared to turn the business over to the next generation in the family, says a new survey conducted by Campden Research and others.

   Although four out of five families (78%) want to retain control of the business within the family and most (76%) have prepared succession plans, only a minority (38%) has actually implemented the succession plans.

   In addition, almost all respondents (93%) want to decrease their tax exposure for transferring the business, but 73% have not focused on tax mitigation issues in their succession plans.

   "Most ultra-affluent family business owners do have basic succession and trust and estate plans," says Mindy Rosenthal, managing director of Campden's North American Business and co-author of the report. "The problem is they are all too often sitting on shelves gathering dust."

   The research shows ultra-high-net-worth business owners need a "financial advisor to act as quarterback, coordinating all aspects of succession plans, trusts and estates, taxes and investing, keeping everything up to date and making sure all the expert advisors talk to each other," she adds.

   The study surveyed 242 second- or third-generation business owners with business interest valued at a minimum of $300 million and a mean value of approximately $730 million. Each is a senior officer in the business with a seat on the board of directors.

The study, "Protecting the Family Fortune Research Study," was conducted by Prince & Associates /Campden Research, U.S. Trust and Bank of America Private Wealth Management. Russ Alan Prince of Prince  & Associates is also editor of Private Wealth magazine, which is published by Charter Financial Publishing Network Inc., publishers of Financial Advisor magazine.