• What Is The Value Of Family Meetings?

    February 1, 2017

    “I’m not coming to a family meeting until you agree to give me what I need to pursue my passion,” said a recent family member angry that mom and dad will not add to his current distribution. For this son, he has grown tired of the family meeting simply being a forum for dad to talk about the business, dangle a carrot of future wealth that may come his way, and mom to tell the kids how pleased she is about her decisions regarding the foundation. The meeting closes with the not-so-mild interrogation of what each family member is up to adding to the already palpable judgment and competition among siblings. So where is the value in attending a family meeting?

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  • A New Perspective On Being A Beginner

    July 5, 2016

    Within our society, age and experience fuel the perception that we are competent, a master even, in our chosen domain or field of life. Yet most of us are reluctant to acknowledge that we are beginners, especially when it comes to how we practice trust and communication within our families.

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  • Lemons to Lemonade

    May 23, 2016

    An article in DailyMail.com, "The rich kids of Beijing," talks about the flaunting of wealth by a new generation that only knows how to show off its wealth. They have no idea about where the money comes from. Makes you wonder where are the parents and what are their values?

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  • Our Perspective on Love, Money and Control

    April 22, 2016

    This month, Merrill Lynch released the findings of a nationwide survey on generational differences in perspectives on family wealth and division of assets, along with a paper titled, "Is There Love in Money? How Families Put Wealth in Perspective." This paper was interesting, and the authors should be acknowledged for wanting to address the concerns many families have over control and family feuds.

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  • A Costly Lesson

    March 22, 2016

    I recently had a conversation with Ed Halbach, the retired Professor and former Dean of The Boalt Hall School of Law, UC Berkeley. He has just completed a 10-year, four-volume project to produce a Restatement of the Law of Trusts, which has been adopted by The American Law Institute.

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  • Working on Trust and Communications Bridges

    March 21, 2016

    We frequently review clients’ estate planning documents to see if there are conflicts between these documents and the family’s values, mission, and glossary platform they have developed as a group.

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  • The Biggest Mistake Executors Make

    February 9, 2016

    A Jan. 31, 2016, WSJ article, “The Biggest Mistake Executors Make” by Veronica Dagher, outlines the dilemma friends and family members have when they are named as the executor of someone’s estate. They are unaware of the duties and actions they are required to take as an executor. Some go to Google, others to a law library and seek out the responsibilities executors have. Many times, they are not even notified that they are to become an executor of someone’s will until after that someone dies. The role of executor is more complex than the broad duties of paying taxes and debts, and managing asset distribution.

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  • Bridging The Generations: What families need to know before transferring wealth to heirs

    January 21, 2016

    Over the years, questions asked by concerned parents, worried about leaving a family legacy, usually fall into similar categories: How do we provide for our heirs, long term, in a way that will help, not harm them? Do we want to treat our heirs equally or fairly, when we die? How do we address the breakdown of trust within our family? How can we pass our values to our children and grandchildren, and what is our definition of wealth?

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