McManus & Associates Client Featured in New York Times Column on Family Business Succession

Paul Sullivan writes the “Wealth Matters” column for the New York Times, which shares insights on the mindset and strategies of the affluent. Recently, McManus & Associates Founding Principal John O. McManus chatted with Sullivan about the decisions that adult children who are expected to take over a family business face and connected Paul with his client Sharon Madison, a remarkable woman who successfully navigated the challenge of family business succession.

Sullivan’s article leads with Madison’s dedication that kept United Building Maintenance, the business that her father started, on its successful path after he became ill.

Madison was a strong asset while performing the role of COO and found a creative way to continue her positive impact, even after she decided to pursue her passion with a nonprofit organization. From the column, “Tough Choices for Succession in the Family Business”:

Ms. Madison said two of the things she took from her time at Verizon and applied to her father’s business when she joined were maintaining her sense of professionalism and drawing on the key things that had made her successful in her previous career.

“I was used to all the different levels of authority, but in a family business, the buck stops with you,” she said. “I never changed who I was or how I performed or the quality of the work I did.”

And when Ms. Madison decided to leave after six years, she said she used the skills she acquired as chief operating officer to move into a similar position at a nonprofit organization.

Her role today is as a board member and trustee of the trust that owns the company.

The trust to which the article refers was set up by McManus, who was brought in to do the estate plan for Madison’s father, as well as its administration after he passed away. In addition to ensuring that the family business was transferred in a tax and asset efficient way, McManus actively helped balance the dynamics of succession planning for United Building Maintenance. Today, McManus is the estate lawyer of Madison, who is armed with the insight that she gained through her involvement in the creation of her parents’ estate plan.

Family mission planning and preparing heirs for inheritance is an emphasis of McManus & Associates. We’re in the business of, not just estate planning, but making sure there’s a smooth transition to the next generation.

With strong know-how and deep commitment, Madison and her twin brother, who is now CEO of United Building Maintenance, defied the statistic that two-thirds of family businesses don’t survive to the second generation. And Sharon Madison proved that there are more ways than one to lend invaluable support to a business started by an earlier generation.

You can read Sullivan’s column in the June 13, 2015 New York Times on page B4 of the New York edition. To learn more about effective family business succession planning, give us a call at 908-898-0100 or send a note to

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