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Best estate planning could not protect a family when money was the motivator.

The patriarch is a first-generation wealth creator who grew up very poor and immigrated to the U.S. at age 17. He was determined to give his family a better life. He spent most of his time building the largest company in his industry, spanning multiple continents.

His seven children from his first wife grew up knowing only abundance. The eldest son held various positions within the family business; however, they all did not work out due to past relationship friction with his father and disagreement on the company’s direction.

The patriarch’s relationship with his children is solely based on money. They contact him when they want something. He uses money to connect with them, offering to take them on trips, buy them houses, and pay for their children’s private schools. Sadly, he does not have much of a relationship with them when money is not involved.
He kept the realities of the family wealth close to his chest because he feared disincentivizing the children’s work ethics. He is concerned about entitlement. The patriarch has set up trusts that each child could access once they reach a certain age.

He has the best estate attorneys and a family office. He hoped his estate planning would care for the family and prevent lawsuits.

The father came to us when he realized his relationship with his children would not get better with time. He grew increasingly frustrated at the missing “thank you’s” and concerned over their lack of direction. As his wealth increased, he knew he could give his children anything. However, he could not give them desperation. The patriarch envisioned his legacy as a source of opportunity for his children and many generations to follow. However, he did not know how to put it in place.

Today, the family has created a highly successful family council responsible for protecting the family values. As a family, they have established clear roles that enable them to conduct the business of a highly successful family with efficient decision-making, agility, and a platform for the next generation to learn the ropes. They have established protocols and expectations for the next generation to learn and step into family leadership roles while growing wealth for themselves and the family.

Family Case Studies