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The Dilemmas of Family Wealth: Insights on Succession, Cohesion, and Legacy

ISBN: 978-1-57660-190-7
222 pages
February 2006
The Dilemmas of Family Wealth: Insights on Succession, Cohesion, and Legacy (1576601900) cover image


Few families are able to pass along their wealth successfully to the next generation. The barriers to keeping money in the family are much more formidable than the barriers to making money in the first place. Why should this be? What pitfalls are most common? How can families and their advisers increase the odds of a successful intergenerational transfer of wealth? How can they preserve the family’s human and intellectual capital?

Judy Martel, CFP®, provides insightful answers to these questions and dozens more in this richly detailed book. The Dilemmas of Family Wealth takes a fresh look at the communications barriers, misunderstandings, and generational conflicts that can pull families apart and scatter their wealth in far less time than it took to build it. Martel identifies the dilemmas that families are likely to face and offers wise counsel for overcoming the challenges they pose. Her book includes advice and perspectives from top experts in the field and frank first-person experiences related by family members with whom they have worked.
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Table of Contents

About the Contributors.

Part One: Transitions and Letting Go.

1     Succession and Letting Go of a Business.
Dilemma: It’s time to plan for succession, but I don’t
know how to let go of the business.

2     Keeping Future Generations Connected.
Dilemma: I sold my business at the right time and have more than enough to take care of my family, but I feel alone and uncomfortable in my new position of wealth. What do I do with my time, and how do I preserve a connection with the family wealth in subsequent generations?

3     Future Wealth Generators.
Dilemma: As the family grows, the original fortune is not enough to support everyone. How can I support and encourage future wealth generators to add to the family coffers?

Part Two: Retaining Family Cohesiveness.

4     Keeping the Family Together.
Dilemma: I want the wealth to enhance our dreams, but don’t want it to be the only reason we stay together.

5     Integrating New Family Members.
Dilemma: As new members come into the clan through marriage, how do I level the playing field if one partner is less wealthy, and what value do certain structures like prenuptial agreements offer me?

Part Three: Preparing Heirs.

6     Preparing Children and Grandchildren.
Dilemma: I need to prepare my children and grandchildren for the responsibility of wealth, but I’m afraid that if they know too much, it will destroy any initiative to earn a living. How do I communicate this concern?

7     Fairness in Estate Planning.
Dilemma: I plan to be fair to my children, but if I leave them unequal amounts of money, am I setting up a future battleground?

8     Strategic Philanthropy.
Dilemma: I want to give some of my wealth back to society, but how can I do it without my children thinking I’ve given away their inheritance, and in a manner that will reflect our values and enhance the family legacy?
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Author Information

Judy Martel, CFP, is a former vice president at Asset Management Advisors (AMA), a leading multifamily office and subsidiary of SunTrust Banks, Inc. Martel has twenty years of experience in journalism and public relations. She was a newspaper journalist for eleven years, and she has written extensively on wealth issues and family dynamics for such publications as Robb Report Worth, Town & Country, and Vive magazine where she writes a regular column. She is a certified financial planner. 

The book’s foreword is by James E. Hughes Jr., author of Family Wealth: Keeping It in the Family (Bloomberg Press). His foreword offers the perspective of a respected longtime family counselor and a preeminent expert in the field of family governance and wealth transfer.
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“When the mountains of unread books on investing and estate planning are weighed against The Dilemmas of Family Wealth, many will elect to keep this book on the bedside table. Instead of teaching how to calculate P/E ratios or ROI, these twenty-three wise practitioners share their insights in ways that encourage action—not calculations! Wealthy baby boomers, who have been frustrated by so many other how-to books, should rush to purchase this terrific compendium.”
     — Charlotte B. Beyer
         CEO, Institute for Private Investors

“Most families aspire to use wealth purposefully and to raise children as thoughtful stewards of their inheritance. But such aspirations are often thwarted for lack of the kind of sound guidance that Judy Martel offers in The Dilemmas of Family Wealth. The value of this very effective book lies in the stories that illuminate the complexity of wealth—and how to deal with it in the context of the family system. Martel’s book is both specific and provocative. Families would be wise to buy multiple copies and read the book together, chapter by chapter!”
     — Joline Godfrey
         CEO, Independent Means Inc.
         Author, Raising Financially Fit Kids

“Wealthy baby boomers have many individual advisers, but they desperately need some guidance on how to work together as a family to create the best possible future for themselves and their investments. This is a great guide to all facets of the personal side of wealth planning.
     — Dennis Jaffe
         Professor, Saybrook Graduate School
         Executive Director, Family Enterprise Center
         San Francisco State University
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