German Legal and Tax Experts for family-owned Enterprises

3Q|Law also advises family businesses and family entrepreneurs in Hamburg, northern Germany and throughout Germany. In doing so, the advice is not limited to selective areas, but includes with all cross connections and interdisciplinary corporate law, inheritance law, matrimonial property law (prenuptial agreements) and real estate law up to company succession and company sale (M&A). If required, 3Q can handle the tax side as well as questions of company valuation through the highly qualified team partners from the 3Q|Network. Of course, this is not mandatory, as 3Q|Law also works regularly with the "house and farm tax advisors" of the entrepreneurial family.

Measured in terms of number, turnover and employees, family businesses hold an important position in the overall economy. 93.6% of all German businesses are family businesses; they account for 41.1% of all turnover and 61.2% of all employment subject to social insurance contributions (source: Haunschild/Wolter, study Institut für Mittelstandsforschung Bonn "Volkswirtschaftliche Bedeutung von Familien- und Frauenunternehmen", IfM-Materialien No. 199, September 2010, p. 26.). In this context, the specialist literature offers a wide variety of proposals for defining the term "family business". In contrast to the subdivision into small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and large enterprises, family businesses are defined according to qualitative rather than quantitative criteria. Family businesses can be both SMEs and large companies (Boerger/Macke/Hauser, study by the Institut für Mittelstandsforschung Bonn "Die größten Familienunternehmen in Deutschland", IfM-Materialien No. 192, February 2010, p. 3). According to the understanding of the IfM Bonn, family businesses (also referred to as owner-managed and family-managed businesses) are determined by the unity of ownership and management, i.e. an owner or a group of owners who hold significant shares in the voting capital or in the rights of control manages/manages his or their business themselves or together with outside managers. According to the IfM Bonn definition, a family business is therefore one in which

  • up to two natural persons or their family members hold at least 50% of the voting shares in a company and
  • these natural persons are members of the management (source: Wolter/Sauer, study Institut für Mittelstandsforschung Bonn "Die Bedeutung der eigentümer- und familiengeführten Unternehmen in Deutschland," IfM-Materialien No. 253, June 2017, p. 5).

Accordingly, the term family business does not include all those companies that are managed only by outside managers and all companies in which the managing owners or their families do not hold a significant share of the capital or corresponding control rights. Since ownership and management are in one hand in family businesses, there are no negotiation and decision-making processes between owner and management, and the business can be very flexible in its decisions. Principal-agent problems, which occur when ownership and management rights are separated, are thus ruled out.