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unHeritage – 11 Pitfalls to Family Legacy and How to Avoid Them

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“unHeritage is definitely the lighthouse for protecting your family and wealth for generations. This book is a must read for anyone interested in legacy planning.” Enzo Calamo

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Center for Family Conversations

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The Center for Family Conversations (CFC) is a resource center that provides the integral tools and ideas in helping families establish a 100-year-plus Family Legacy Plan.

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THE TYCOON PLAYBOOK – How Business Empires Are Built

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The Tycoon Playbook course was created for business families who are already running a successful business and wish to ramp up their growth while preserving wealth for future generations. Specifically, the Playbook teaches high performance business owners the two most highly rewarded skills in business, namely deal-making and how to acquire cash flow producing business assets.

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Post Tagged with: "Estate planning"

 
  • Understanding and Valuing Perspective by Tom Conway

    Understanding and Valuing Perspective by Tom Conway

      How does estate planning disconnect couples? Certainly there may be many issues where a husband and wife are on the same page. They may be happy with their marriage, with their current lifestyle, with the common friends they have, but when it comes to making an important decision within estate planning, they are not in alignment. Let’s look at some of the possible reasons for misalignment.   Different Assumptions related to Upbringing   Different family backgrounds influence the way people see life. Those who grow up in wealth are likely to see an expensive lifestyle as normal. Naturally, they would expect the same for their children. Many beliefs and attitudes grow out of early life experience.   Differing Values   Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work. They play a significant part in the the way you view life, generally determining your priorities. Whether you recognize them or not, they are there, and they are the measures you use to tell if your life is turning out the way you want it to.   Although it is challenging to examine how your emotions intersect with your thinking, this level of self-awareness is necessary to identify the values that motivate you. Once you recognize and acknowledge your values, you can make plans and decisions that honour them. Understanding each other’s values can easily help a couple come to agreement on decisions.   Differing Perspectives   Our perspective – the viewpoint we bring to any consideration – influences our perceptions. You have probably heard the expression, “Perception is reality.” We are satisfied that the way we see it is the way it is, and we are unwilling to entertain the thought that our view is distorted or incomplete.    Lack of understanding leads to loss of communication   When spouses don’t agree on certain topics, they often avoid the subject. This false peace can lead to devastating consequences in the future.   Pride   All of us deal with an internal nature that wants our own way.  We often feel that our way is the best and that if everyone would just do as we say, or believe as we believe, the world would be a much better place. This pride can cause us to become defensive when we are challenged. It can also lead to a closed mind.   The opposite of pride is humility. To be humble means to be willing to listen to thoughts and opinions of others with an open mind. It means being willing to submit your own ideas to the scrutiny of others. So many conflicts in life can be resolved if two people approach the issue with a listening ear and an attitude of humility.   So how can a couple resolve the issue of goal incongruity? Often they cannot do this alone. Their differences often bring on heated discussions that lead to anger, hurt feelings, shutting down by one spouse, and pain. An impartial […]

     
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  • The New EBITDA: Emotions Before Interest Taxes and Depreciation

    The New EBITDA: Emotions Before Interest Taxes and Depreciation

    The New EBITDA: Emotions Before Interest Taxes and Depreciation by Tom Deans, Ph.D.     Sitting in the departure lounge at LAX, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation between an investment banker and his younger associate. I learned two things. First (and most business travelers can relate), it is amazing how cavalier people are about discussing confidential details in public places. The second confirmed something I had been thinking about family businesses for some time.   The older of the two bankers was whining about how he thought the slam-dunk deal they had just presented was now probably never going to happen. On and on he grumbled about the time he had spent running the numbers, lining up partners and generally bringing the deal to a crescendo, only to have the business owner change his mind about selling.   The investment banker was completely perplexed about why the offer, the numbers, the multiples that looked so good weren’t enough to entice the owner to do the deal of a lifetime.   It took everything I had to stop myself from leaping into the conversation and selling him a copy of Every Family’s Business (it wouldn’t have been the first time). But I exercised extraordinary restraint and settled back and listened to him talk about the clever structure of the deal, the tax that could have been saved and the instant wealth the owner would have secured if only he had been smart enough to take the deal.   Emotions are Squishy – Not the Stuff of Deal-Makers in Suits   The funny thing about listening in on a conversation is that the longer you listen the harder it is enter the conversation. So I bit my tongue and instead simply wondered how many other business brokers, M&A professionals and investment bankers expend such effort trying to bring deals to fruition only to have sellers back out. I wondered how an entire industry of intermediaries could so badly underestimate the emotional connection that owners have to their businesses, and also fail to understand how these emotions can scupper so much good work and extraordinary planning and lead the owner to ultimately destroy the business’s value.   When really bright finance experts hear the word “emotions” you can so often see their eyes roll back and the calculators shut off. Yet students of the greatest financiers of all time – deal-makers like Warren Buffett – know that these people get deals done by running the numbers and then engaging business owners in the one corner of their life where most number crunchers don’t go – their family. It is the rare rainmaker who has both the left and right brain firing on all cylinders.   Warren Buffett Buffett and other great deal-makers know that the sale of a business will typically result in a “liquidity event” that will leave owners with more wealth than they feel comfortable consuming. Most business owners accumulate wealth precisely by denying themselves consumption. Sellers will often kill deals, blaming a low bid price, […]

     
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  • Why Do Family Business Owners Often Die at their Desk? by Tom Deans, Ph.D.

    Why Do Family Business Owners Often Die at their Desk? by Tom Deans, Ph.D.

    Why Do Family Business Owners Often Die at their Desk? by Tom Deans, Ph.D.   I was speaking to a friend who owns a successful manufacturing business and asked him when he plans to sell his business”. His response echoed something that I’m hearing more and more from business owners in my audience. “I can’t afford to sell – if I sell and take the proceeds and invest in this market, I couldn’t replace half my current salary”.   Of course the danger with this logic is that if unforeseen risk visits the business and it fails, my friend will neither have his salary nor the equity that he’s accumulated in the business over the past 20 years.   Misaligned financial interests of family members   But here’s the real problem. My friend, like so many, has other shareholders, namely other family shareholders who aren’t working in the business who want the sale proceeds now! His family dinners can best be described as a food fight waiting to happen. What to do?   What we do know is that doing nothing is a plan. Do nothing long enough and we know that a business owner will die at his desk. But where does the stock in the company go? Will it go to his or hers estate, to minority shareholders?   What usually unfolds is chaos especially when family is often left out of the planning loop. Financial advisors are doing a much better job these days of getting business owners to play the “what if” game. In fact there is a brand new breed of advisor brandishing a tough to acquire professional designation known as the Certified Business Exit Consultant — CBEC. I delivered a keynote to a recent convention of CBECs in Boston and they’re a rather impressive group of professionals committed to exit planning excellence.   The best advisors never stop reminding clients about the risks of business ownership   Asset allocation has forever been the first principal of sound investing. As investors near retirement, advisors constantly rebalance portfolios away from equity to income. The business owner who allows their high salary to cloud their thinking about the dangers to their equity in their business don’t need to travel Las Vegas to gamble – they’re already there!! Extraordinary advisors will keep this risk in focus for their business owner clients and work on divestiture strategies and timelines that meet the financial needs of both business owners today, their retirement tomorrow and the needs of surviving family.   Savvy advisors remind business owners that the sale process seldom unfolds quickly and even after the sale of a business, the new owners may either insist or welcome the seller to continue working and drawing a salary. It took our family 5 years to find the right buyer for our business and another 4 years to receive the full sale proceeds – that’s almost a decade from start to finish. Business owners in their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s often completely […]

     
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  • Changing Conversations About Estate Planning

    Changing Conversations About Estate Planning   Changing estate planning conversations to focus on your values and goals can help establish what matters most to you and what you would like your legacy to be. 

     
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  • Introducing the concept of a Collaborative Will by Tom Deans

    Introducing the concept of a Collaborative Will by Tom Deans

    Introducing the concept of a Collaborative Will by Tom Deans At a farm convention in Chicago, I was approached by an audience member who explained that gifting a working farm to her children was preferable to selling and leaving them each $5 million. When I pressed her for more details – such as – “what do your children think of your plan?” She snapped her head back and proclaimed, “why would I tell them?”   I have to confess it wasn’t the first time that I had heard someone say that silence was going to be the key ingredient of their estate plan. It got me thinking how many beneficiaries – children especially — truly know the contents of their parent’s wills?   When I put the question to my audiences, “how many people hold a copy of their parents’ wills?” Only 10% on average acknowledge they do. The more interesting question is: “how many in the audience will play a lead or significant role in providing care for an aging parent?” The response — an average of 75% — agreed they would. I find the disparity between these two pieces of data, striking.   The relationship between inheriting money and the provision of health care is an issue moving into the media and cultural spotlight for two major reasons – we’re living longer (a lot longer) and the cost of health care and assisted living are rising faster than inflation and saving rates.   For some who live much longer than the average age of 76 for men and 81 for woman, many will turn to family for financial support and care when their savings are fully depleted – the same family from whom secrets were kept when a surplus seemed assured.   Why do so many people keep secrets from those who will likely be providing them with late in life care? How do secrets serve beneficiaries or add to relationships before we become old and dependant? Talk to enough estate planning professionals and they’ll tell you it almost always comes down to a lack of trust and a debilitating fear of death.   For those who view their money as an absolute source of power and control you can see how the aging process and the concomitant relinquishing of power and control makes dying and death such a wretched, fearful experience. Compare that to individuals who seriously prepare family, friends and charitable organizations to receive not just their wealth but their wisdom and you’ll find some extraordinary relationships built purposefully over a lifetime – even when years outstrip savings.   Sharing the contents of a will requires judgment – some might call it wisdom nurtured over time. A wisdom both taught and harvested through conversations with intended beneficiaries not in the last year of life, when death seems imminent, but precisely the opposite, when death is a distant abstraction.   A will doesn’t need to be seen as a solo “end of life document” but rather a […]

     
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  • Succession Planning for a Family Business

    “Succession Planning for a Family Business” Part 1 of 3 Michael Gray interviews attorney John Hopkins for Financial Insider Weekly about how to determine which child gets what proportion of your family business and some unique issues that come up when planning for the future of your family business. Part 1 of 3. Part 2 of 3 Part 3 of 3  

     
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  • Life Insurance and Estate Planning

    Life Insurance and Estate Planning  

     
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  • Salo Grabinsky on “Incapacity Planning: Preparing for the Possibility of Owner Dementia”

    Salo Grabinsky on “Incapacity Planning: Preparing for the Possibility of Owner Dementia” When alzheimer’s disease or related illnesses affect the owner of a family business, the individual, their family, their business, and their estate planning are all powerfully impacted. In this video, Salo Grabinsky describes the impact of these illnesses, and encourages families-in-business and their professional advisors to take specific steps to prepare for this potential challenge.  

     
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  • Estate Planning 2013: Now What? A Must Read For Everyone by STEVEN J. FROMM, ATTORNEY, LL.M. (TAXATION)

     
  • The transfer of family wealth to the next generation: What’s the money for?

     
  • Family Office Expert Reveals Three Imperative Principles of Business Succession Planning

     
  • Today’s Wealth Holder and Tomorrow’s Giving: The New Dynamics of Wealth and Philanthropy by Paul G. Schervish

     
  • Capacity for Care: Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow by John J. Havens and Paul G. Schervish

     
  • What do family businesses need to do to continue to be successful?

     
  • Some Core Principles for Building a Legacy

     
  • What is a Family Office?

     
 
 
 

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