Flight Simulators, Musical Bands, and Succession and Estate Planning for Family Enterprises

Flight simulators are excellent tools to test whether or not a pilot is ready to fly on her own without actually taking a multi-million dollar plane in the air.  Can you imagine booking your next flight to London with a pilot who has a flight plan but has never tested the plan by actually flying a few times? So this begs the question, how do we test something as complicated as a succession and estate plan for family enterprises when the owner is not there?

Just as a pilot would gain experience flying in the simulator to prevent  a crash and burn during an actual flight, a musical conductor of a world class orchestra  would rehearse a piece of music with the orchestra members to prevent crashing and burning during the live performance.

The process of creating the succession and estate plan for family enterprises is about collaboration and practice and lessons can also be learned from the world of music.  Owners of family enterprises and their family members can learn from a Musical Conductor and orchestra members.



  1. They are reading from the same page of music (  a common shared succession and estate planning song ( vision) to be performed for the first time by the family members when the owner is not there)
  2. They are  in time and in tune and playing in the same key ( one flight plan and one piece of music)
  3. They collaborate well to create the succession and estate song and great music ( They have conflict but there are boundaries and rules)
  4. They practice, practice, practice together to simulate the live performance
  5. Some of the orchestra members will become conductors
  6. When the band leader is no longer there the music continues ( New York Philharmonic has been creating great music since 1842 despite having many different conductors)

Read more about rehearsing the family agreement  in the Metronome Method to ensure everyone is in time and in tune!

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