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book reviews

About Our Book, Bridging Generations – Transitioning Family Wealth and Values for a Sustainable Legacy

Edward C. Halbach

Professor Emeritus, UC Berkeley Law School, and Janet B. Halbach

Effective communication remains vital (to avoid, e.g., unpleasant surprises), as does preparation for potential fiduciary roles or simply for beneficiaries’ prudent management of inherited funds and informed decision making about their own needs, opportunities and goals. Even issues inherent in preserving a testator’s vacation home for interested descendants are analogous to those of continuing a family business. Bridging Generations is thus worth recommending to a broad spectrum of persons concerned with estate planning. 

James (Jay) E. Hughes

Jr., Esq., Author

As with Roy’s seminal book Preparing Heirs, his new book, Bridging Generations, co-authored with Amy, helps every enterprising family make a great transition, thereby avoiding the three-generation shirtsleeves proverb for many generations into the future.

Pete Coors

Chairman, Coors Brewing Corporation

This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to ensure the wealth they leave their family has a positive impact. It offers valuable tools for families, including how to get along, appreciate each other for each member’s talents and develop the trust needed to be in harmony.

Mitzi Perdue

Perdue and Sheraton Hotels Families

Williams and Castoro address one of the biggest pain points business families face: 70 percent of them will fail at passing their legacies on to the next generation. Since what we leave after we’re gone helps give meaning to our lives, every business family needs to know how to be in the 30 percent that makes a successful transition. Drawing on the experiences of more than 3,000 business families, the authors know how to do it. They explain what needs to be done, and they do it in practical terms, along with riveting examples. This book fills a need! Frankly, I think all business families owe Williams and Castoro a debt of thanks for this book.

Glen Holden

In this book, The Williams Group provides information for readers to apply in planning the transfer of their assets to others. The Williams Group has gathered this information from many actual family cases and years of experience. This book is a must for people who wish to learn ways to communicate and transfer their personal mission in life to the recipients of their assets.

Anne Wiles

Franchisee of Carl’s Jr. (fast-food restaurant company)

This book outlines the expectations for the members of a family, starting with the meetings. The Williams Group process created an atmosphere for our multi-generational family to have honest communications and lasting tools for the following years.

James C. Pigott

Industrialist and Philanthropist

This book is full of useful examples, understandable explanations and detailed checklists. Its emphasis on the need to balance family trust and inclusiveness with accountability and mentoring separates this wealth-transfer book from others on that subject.

Carrie Meek-Cuneo

President, Western Division – Meek’s Lumber & Hardware

This book is a gift to all who are interested in protecting not just family wealth but also family harmony. The Williams Group has designed a clear and defined path for families to build trust and communication, as well as to plan for the future. I know so many families who did not go through a planning process until a triggering event occurred, such as the death of a father. Unfortunately, what follows is often a disruptive and chaotic time for all family members. Our family was lucky enough to find Roy Williams and embark proactively on the Preparing Heirs process. While not always easy, we now feel united, resilient and, most of all, prepared.

Richard (Dick) Patterson

The Patterson Family

My experience with Roy Williams and his group has been invaluable in helping me organize my thoughts for what a real family future wealth plan is. I was very confused on what I was trying to accomplish until I had the chance to understand what the real goals and objectives are for me and my family.

Bridging Generations is a great insight into the realities of forming and shaping our family’s history. Preparing Heirs is a great book and helped me tremendously. Bridging Generations is a terrific push forward.

Richard D. Boyd

Co-CEO and President, Boyd Coffee Company

Roy and Amy have presented many facets of trust, communications, values and beliefs like a diamond being carefully cut to expose its brilliance of light glittering before your eyes, thus capturing the essence of a worthy cause of planning and transitioning for a family’s wealth and sustainable legacy.

Bridging Generations drives home the importance of the entire family’s participation, emphasizing trust, effective communications and accountability to achieve transitioning family wealth and values for a sustainable legacy.

Being a past recipient of The Williams Group’s teachings, I found Bridging Generations to be a wonderful refresher of lessons learned and a great reference as the plan for a sustainable transition of wealth and values plays out over time.

Bridging Generations is a comprehensive manuscript designed to develop family trust, effective communications, values and beliefs to enhance the planning process for a successful transitioning of wealth, values and a sustainable family legacy.

Jordan Vander Kolk

President, Artisan Medical Displays

Many of those considering the services of The Williams Group are planning for the transition of wealth that was built through business and enterprise. While building that wealth in business, these founders and leaders never presupposed the success of their endeavors without fully sharing with their employees, their teams, the vision prior to executing any plan. These leaders built wealth by working within teams to strategize and plan so that team members knew their roles and then executed the plan. So, too, with the transition of wealth. The vision of many parents is that as they pass on, what they have built should be used to create an opportunity for their children that is greater than what they themselves had and that their children use it to grow themselves and do greater work. Not just grow the wealth or preserve it, but use it to grow the person and purpose. Now actively transitioning wealth, how can one expect the next generation to fulfill that vision of person and purpose if they haven’t participated in the plan created by one who is no longer living? This book and the work of The Williams Group provide a playbook for the successful transition of wealth through the learning and understanding of individuals. They do not leave you to decipher the playbook alone; they provide the coaching to successfully execute the transition and preservation of wealth to the furtherance of the family in future generations.

Joe Harper

President & CEO, The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club; and Trustee, Cecil B. De Mille Foundation

Once again, Roy Williams has given us a well-marked path through the minefields of successful wealth transfers. Generational differences are the new hurdles requiring new communication skills. Masterfully, Roy and Amy have laid out a step-by-step program that will bring the generations together. No one does this better than The Williams Group. Love and understanding are two very different words when we arrive at the chasm of generational differences. Communication is the bridge of understanding. This book shows us, step by step, how to achieve the harmony that will lead to successful wealth transfers.

Jose Higueras

Tennis Pro and Coach, U.S. Tennis Association

I highly recommend Bridging Generations: Transitioning Family Wealth and Values for a Sustainable Legacy to anyone attempting to navigate through the complex world of financial planning for their heirs. As a father to two adult children, the importance of securing my wealth for my family and future generations has in the past few years become paramount. Roy’s book provided a road map that I could easily follow to ensure that my hard-earned money would remain a part of my legacy.

Bob Graham

CEO & Founder, Namaste Direct SF

Bridging Generations is a well-written, reader-friendly book. It describes the finely honed process developed by Roy Williams and his team for building family unity through trust and communication. The idea of a loving, respectful, cohesive multi-generational family may seem like a dream to most, but here is a practical, step-by-step guide to making it a reality.

Dine Dellenback

Wyoming State Regent, DAR

I have been using the “team” approach, and I realize that people are much more willing to work if they have a part in the game. All the things suggested in this book create harmony within a family.

Dean Daily

CEO, Van Nuys Airport Industrial Center

Wow! Roy and Amy have written the go-to primer on family business and succession that will keep you engaged, motivated and moved to action for your own family — seeking not only focus on assets, but most importantly, the value of family unity and harmony.

Neil Douthat

UBS Financial Services, Inc.

As a wealth management professional, I recognize that merely focusing on creating or preserving financial wealth for the families we work with is short-changing our clients. Families of wealth also yearn for wise counsel on how their financial wealth can be a force for good — for future generations and for the communities where they live. Bridging Generations is an indispensable guidebook for those families.

Frances W. Douthat

UBS Financial Services, Inc.

Great wealth can be used in a multitude of beneficial ways. The one thing that no amount of wealth can do, however, is insulate us from the “human condition.” If not addressed, the human conditions of emotionality, aspiration, conflict and mortality can poison all the potential that wealth presents. In my work as a wealth management advisor, I have witnessed the heartbreaking destruction of families, individuals — and financial wealth — due to the absence of attention to our natural human tendencies.

Bridging Generations illuminates this all-too-often overlooked facet of family wealth and refocuses a family’s attention and efforts on preserving their true wealth — the individual family members — those living and those not yet born.

Jeff Verdon

Esq., Verdon Law Group

For most of my 40 years as the family consigliere to America’s more affluent families and business owners, my law firm’s mission was to protect our clients’ assets from financially ruinous lawsuits and to pass the maximum amount of wealth from Generation 1 to Generation 2 and Generation 3 with the least amount of transfer taxation. When I read the earlier book, Preparing Heirs, I realized our work was incomplete unless we engaged the next generations early in the process. The Williams Group platform in Bridging Generations presents the best opportunity to avoid the devastating “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves” in three generations. While the work is challenging, the results are worth the effort to successfully protect and pass on the family legacy. The Williams Group is the best thing to happen to the estate and trust planning industry since the advent of the asset-protection trust. Bridging Generations is a must-have guidebook and should be on every serious estate planning professional’s desk next to the Internal Revenue Code.

Thorne L. Perkin

President, Papamarkou Wellner Asset Management, Inc.

Roy and Amy’s book, Bridging Generations, helps families comprehend and appreciate what ultimately matters — the principles, ethics and morals that define reputation and cement legacy. This book serves as an invaluable tool in educating families about the importance of having a concerted familial mission; Bridging Generations expresses, in a thoughtful and legible manner, this vital cohesion and the health effects that can result in positively linking generations.

Marvi Ricker

VP, Philanthropic Advisory Services, BMO Wealth Management

This book provides some very useful research data and insights, not only for families of wealth, but also for advisors working with these families.

The Williams Group research identifies as the main cause of failure in transitioning family wealth the breakdown in communication and trust within the family unit. Their research, as well as other published findings, reveals that these wealth transitions have only a 30 percent success rate.

Of particular interest to me is the role of family philanthropy. I am not surprised that it is a common element among families with successful transitions. The values and skills needed for effective and meaningful philanthropy — good communication, trust, accountability, consensus building, as well as articulated shared values — are also necessary for success in transitioning family wealth.

Wendy Craft

COO, Favara Family Office

Roy and Amy simply “get it right.” Family founders are amazing at building wealth but rarely trained on how to preserve and pass on their legacy and values. Much of the information surrounding the family-office space simply deals with wealth preservation and, to some extent, governance structures. That information does not touch on the human aspect of family wealth and transition. Bridging Generations provides solid case studies and road maps for avoiding the pitfalls that so many families end up in. I view this work as a necessary part of the family-office toolkit for the generational transition.

Carol Zeist

Family Trust Litigation Attorney, Newmeyer & Dillion LLP

Too many wealthy families become embroiled in family trust litigation, particularly after the matriarch’s and/or patriarch’s passing. This book’s process for creating trust and consensus across generations could and should decrease that growing trend.

Wendy J. Dominguez

President & Co-Founder, Innovest Portfolio Solutions LLC

This book is an excellent resource for families who are interested in successfully transitioning their wealth to the next generation. Roy Williams and Amy Castoro offer a time-tested approach to a successful transition rooted in building trust and improving communication. As a financial advisor who works with many first-generation wealth creators, I found this book to be an excellent tool to discuss the “softer” — and just as important, side of wealth transfer.

Chris Cincera

David G. Roberts, MBA, Lead/Principal, The Rainier Group

Bridging Generations is an incredible testimony to the expertise and lifelong learnings of Roy Williams and his team. It is a must-read for family office executives who represent or wish to represent multiple generations. Roy has been a great mentor to me during my family office career. He coached me to be the family consigliere to provide families the much-needed level of support required for a sustainable legacy. That has served me well in working with various families that I have represented over the years. Bridging Generations is a great tool and guide designed to assist families and family office executives to navigate a road to success built on trust, communication and a clear vision that aligns with the families’ values and purpose for their wealth.

David G. Roberts

MBA, Lead/Principal, The Rainier Group

The successful transition of wealth within a family has many challenges, as outlined by The Williams Group. These challenges only increase when a family business is also involved. Very often, owners of these businesses want to see the continued success of the business they worked so hard for, ensure that their family wealth is protected, see their children succeed in business and most importantly, they wish to keep the family relationships intact and harmonious.

The book Bridging Generations by Roy Williams and Amy Castoro of The Williams Group is a vital tool for all families who want to prepare their children to preserve the legacy of business and wealth that is being transferred to them, lead productive and successful lives and keep family relationships intact. The book outlines the importance of family trust, developing good and effective communication and achieving accountability for a continued family legacy. This is a must-read for any family hierarchy wishing to begin the process of transitioning a successful business and/or family wealth to the next generation.

Bob Gould

Partner, Creaghan McConnell Group

Roy Williams dedicated his life to helping families prepare for their wealth transition. It was his higher calling. Through it all, Roy discovered that authentic trust is the root of all progress for families. It’s setting them on a higher trajectory. In this definitive book, Roy and Amy share their collective wisdom, knowledge and experience about building trust in families. Having seen their work firsthand, I know what they write of in these pages truly works. So, read this book not only for the knowledge you will gain, but also for the impact you will deliver and the results you will achieve.

David Allen Brown

LLP, Founding Partner, Brown & Streza

We can reduce the estate tax on a giant estate to zero, but there is nothing I can do in my documents to fix broken people. Working with people is always a challenge, but with family in business, it is mission-critical.

I have seen firsthand the wonderful work done by The Williams Group in building harmony into the family and the values. The alternative is not very pretty. All of us could benefit from Preparing Heirs and Family Meetings and now Bridging Generations! I wish I had known of The Williams Group 40 years ago!

Betty Mower Potalivo

Region President, Northern Trust

Bridging Generations is a must-read book for families of wealth. Many families we work with find the most important aspect of wealth management is preparing their children and grandchildren to become highly financial functioning adults. Common questions are: How much to give them, and when? What is the meaning of money? What purpose does it serve? Will wealth have a negative or positive impact on future generations? The issues become more and more complex with each generation. Some family members are enabled to become dependent; others find their path to self-actualization. How does a family work together to achieve harmony and individual self-actualization using wealth as strength and not a crutch?

Northern Trust and The Williams Group have a track record of successfully helping families reach an understanding of the purpose of their wealth, individually and collectively. How does a family begin this process? My recommendation is to start by reading Bridging Generations. Then become fiercely intentional by engaging with your family using best practices and expert facilitators. Have faith that answers will unfold through your “intentional journey of discovery” as you and your family come together to define your family’s values, vision, goals and roles.

Michael D. Allen

Board Certified Estate Planning Specialist, Allen Lottmann-Kimmel PC

There is a very short list of wealth advisors who have the character, wisdom and stature to sincerely and effectively advise families of significant wealth. Roy and his talented team are leaders on this short list. They know how to teach families the essential competencies required to sustain and, when necessary, restore relationships while greatly improving probabilities that wealth, influence, values and commitments to making a difference will be transitioned to successive generations.