Patricia Annino Receives “Best in Wealth Management” Award

The Euromoney Legal Media Group chose Patricia Annino, Chair of Prince Lobel’s Estate Planning and Probate Practice Group, to receive the prestigious “Best in Wealth Management” award at the second annual Americas Women in Business Law Award ceremony held May 24, 2012, in New York City.

Selected from a short-list of eight well-known, highly-qualified nominees, Patricia’s award was based on extensive peer review research conducted by Euromoney’s research team, her professional accomplishments during the past 12 months, and her advocacy and influence in the field of wealth management.

Following the success of similar award ceremonies in Europe and Asia, the Americas Women in Business Law Awards was launched by Euromoney Legal Media Group to give law firms and professional services firms the recognition they deserve for their efforts in helping women advance in the legal profession.

Patricia Annino is a nationally recognized expert on estate planning and taxation, with more than 25 years of experience serving the estate planning needs of families, individuals, and owners of closely held and family businesses. She speaks regularly on many issues of concern to family owned businesses, including succession planning, risk management, managing a business with multiple stakeholders, the risk of divorce, and more. Annino is a graduate of Smith College and Suffolk University School of Law.

Patricia is the author of two widely utilized professional texts: Estate Planning in Massachusetts, and Taxwise Planning for Aging, Ill, or Incapacitated Clients. Patricia’s recent books for consumers include, Cracking the $$ Code: What Successful Men Know and You Don’t (Yet), Women in Family Business: What Keeps You up at Night, and Women & Money, A Practical Guide to Estate Planning.

About Prince Lobel

Prince Lobel Tye LLP is a full-service law firm providing a wide range of services for Fortune 1000 companies, closely held businesses, and individuals. Prince Lobel’s attorneys are guided by the highest standards of legal excellence, professionalism, and service – whether they are addressing complex business issues or providing advice on personal legal matters. Practice areas and industries served encompass corporate law, data privacy and security, domestic relations, employment law, estate planning and probate, insurance and reinsurance, intellectual property and Internet law, litigation, media law, nanotechnology, real estate, telecommunications law, construction law, environmental law, renewable energy, health care, and education. For more information, visit Prince Lobel at PrinceLobel.com.

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  Annino recently released an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime.  To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit, http://www.patriciaannino.com.

How Psychedelic Drugs Can Help Patients Face Death & What it Means to Estate Planning Effected Towards the End

I recently read an article in the New York Times (read article here: http://nyti.ms/Kp9yct) about a study using Psychedelic Drugs to help patients cope with facing death as the result of a life-ending diagnosis, like cancer.  In the article it indicated that these end-of-life researchers only included otherwise healthy patients, those with no indication of mental illness, in the study.

These drugs are also being examined as treatment for alcoholism and other addictions.  While I can see the advantages of such treatment for those facing the end of their lives due to grave illnesses, it also makes me very aware of how this might affect the ability for someone to consider and finalize their estate planning needs at a time when they are not only facing their own demise, but while under the influence of psychedelic drugs.

Could this open up their decisions to scrutiny after their death?  Even though they are otherwise considered of sound mind, does this open the door for others to challenge a person’s Will or other estate planning functions finalized after such diagnosis, and while using psychedelic drugs.

I am an advocate for putting your affairs in order early on, long before you might be facing something like this, but the reality is, even if plans had been made, depending upon the individual situation, such a diagnosis could cause someone to rethink or alter their plans.

It seems like we would need to take some sort of extra steps during this process to make sure we can forego any challenges that could or would be made to change your final wishes.  I’m not exactly sure what that might look like, how we could provide verification of your ‘sound’ mind at such a time.

What do you think?  Leave your comments or questions below and expand the discussion!

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  Annino recently released an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime.  To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit, http://www.patriciaannino.com.

Women In Family Business – The Importance of Clarity

By Patricia Annino, J.D., Thomas Davidow, Ed.D. & Cynthia Adams Harrison, Ed.D., LICSW

The Importance of Clarity

The more you and your husband agree to treat the business as a performance arena in which preparation is everything, the more productive your child will be. Similarly, the clearer you can be in terms of creating structures, the better off your child will be when he does enter the business. Being proactive about creating routines through governance structures or through accurate job descriptions is very helpful. If your child is already working in the business, you and your husband can discuss how to create sensible structures with appropriate boundaries. Everyone performs better when they know what’s expected and what the rules are.

Be Informed-Be Influential – Points to Remember

  • If your husband resists talking to you about the business or is upset about something at work and won’t share why, don’t take it personally and don’t give up.
  • Men and women really are different in how they think, behave, feel good about themselves and communicate.
  • When you set a limit for your husband, you are actually encouraging him: You are telling him that he is capable of achieving his goals as a businessman, husband and father.
  • It is possible to find the balance between creating objective criteria for your child’s performance in the business and maintaining family harmony.
  • There’s a difference between granting your child the automatic right to work in the business and giving him the opportunity to do so.
  • Things go best when there is consistent communication between you and your husband and between both of you and your child.

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  Annino recently released an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime.  To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit, http://www.patriciaannino.com.

 

Gifting Ownership of the Vacation House: A Gift or a Curse?

Ben Franklin once said that fish and houseguests smell after three days. But what if the houseguest co-owns the house? The perils of the vacation home, what to do with it, who should own it and what the rules are can be a source of family satisfaction and family conflict.

Under current law, the 2012 federal gift exemption is $5,120,000. Since many parents and grandparents are uncertain of their economic future, they may not want to gift assets that still earn income. Nor do they want to give away assets that have a low income tax basis that may be sold in the future. For these families, the vacation home is an attractive asset to consider gifting.

Gifting the vacation house to the next generation, or to a dynasty trust for the benefit of subsequent descendants, can remove that home (and any appreciation in its value) from the taxable estate. But before heading down that path, homeowners must carefully consider how that home will be owned post transfer.  We will explore three options: (i) outright ownership, (ii) an irrevocable trust (which could be a dynasty trust), and (iii) a family limited partnership or a limited liability company.

Outright Ownership

Often, the choice of making an outright gift of the vacation home is not appealing, whether the next generation owns the property as tenants in common, or as joint tenants with a right of survivorship. Many states have the right to compel a sale of that asset through a court proceeding, so the ownership of the home may be divisible in a divorce and subject to that family member’s creditors.

Also, family issues and resentments may develop with co-ownership. The child who lives out of state and never uses the home may resent sharing the expenses. Plus, with each generational transfer, the ownership becomes more fractionalized and the ownership of the asset is included in the taxable estate of each subsequent generation. There could also be conflict, such as who uses it the week of July 4th? Who pays for maintenance? Should rent be charged to cover expenses?

Irrevocable Trust (could be a dynasty trust)

A more appealing option for many families is transferring ownership of the home to an irrevocable trust. To complete the gift, the trust must be irrevocable, meaning that the donor cannot retain the ability to change, amend, or revoke its terms. The art of drafting an irrevocable trust is to remember that life is a movie not a snapshot, and that the document, while irrevocable, must also be flexible enough to contemplate the future.

The trust should address what happens to the child’s share at his or her death, whether or not the child’s spouse or stepchildren can continue to use the property in a divorce, or if the child predeceases his or her spouse. It should also address who is responsible for paying expenses, the line of succession of trustees, how the home should be furnished or updated, whether nonpaying guests may use the property, and who sets the rules for using the property.

Reasonable rules include who can use the property and when, the process for how that determination is made, whether use can be exclusive or must be open to all families all the time, payment of operating expenses, noise, cleanliness, pets, number of people, who pays for landscaping, parking, whether the property can be rented to nonfamily members, and other issues affecting the use and enjoyment of the property. The trust document can also address who has the right to determine the operating reserve and when income and/or principal may be distributed to the beneficiaries.

It may be also helpful for the donor to state intent – perhaps the use of the property is not intended to be equal, but based on relative degrees of interest in and ability to enjoy the property, and to take into account relative contributions (financial or otherwise) to its maintenance and improvement.

The document may also include a buyout provision by which one beneficiary (or beneficiary’s family) can sell his or her interest to other family members. Many families do not allow family members to cash out of their share in the home. An advantage to restricting what a family member can do to convert his or her share to liquid funds provides additional creditor protection and also helps keep that interest out of the taxable estate of subsequent descendants.

The trust should also address the mechanism by which a decision can be made to sell the home – should a decision that important be left only in the hands of the trustee? Should it include the trustees and all adults in the next generation? Should the vote be by majority or unanimous? The tension in that choice is that one family member who wants to use it more than others may block the sale for personal gain.

It is important to fund the trust with enough liquid assets to cover ongoing expenses and trustees. Future family discord might be avoided if family members who do not use the property are not expected to help cover its expenses. The funding can occur during the donor’s lifetime or at his or her death, through the donor’s estate plan. Once the property is transferred to the trust, the trustees should ensure that the property has sufficient property and casualty insurance coverage.

The trust document should also address the duration of the trust. It could end at a certain date, when the underlying asset is sold, when the trustees decide to end it, when the trustees and all adult beneficiaries agree to end it, when the Rule Against Perpetuities Period ends it, or if it is governed by a state that does not have any Rule Against Perpetuities, then it may never end.

Family Limited Partnership or Limited Liability Company.

A third choice is transferring the home to a family limited partnership or limited liability company, where the terms of the operating agreement control how the property is used. These entities are more businesslike than a trust, as they are members or partners. They offer the same benefits of the irrevocable trust, but may be more flexible. The operating agreement can provide a mechanism that allows it to be amended. If the entity is underfunded, the manager or general partner can make a capital call on the owners to contribute additional funds to the entity. As with the trust, the agreement will appoint a manager or management committee. The ownership structure can have two classes- voting and nonvoting. The transfer of ownership through sale or gift can be restricted.

Another benefit to gifting in this manner is that the valuation of the gift may have additional leverage and qualify for minority discounts or lack of marketability discounts. If the gift is not made all at once – but rather over several years – then all gifts are made off the record of the respective Registries of Deeds. In other words, the transfer to the entity is recorded initially, but ensuing gifts are transfers of the units or shares in the entity and are done within the entity itself, not in the Registry. This can save annual recording fees.  Additional benefits include income tax consequences in that each owner may have the benefit of the income and deductions flow through to his or her individual income tax returns.

Summary. Gifting the vacation house this year while the federal exemption is so high may be a very wise move. It is important for clients to think through their choice of entity and the considerations mentioned above before making this irrevocable decision.

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  Annino recently released an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime.  To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit, http://www.patriciaannino.com

Estate Planning Conundrum: What to do when a beneficiary has a substance abuse problem

In my 25 years of working with families on their estate plans, many parents have raised the issue of what to do when a child or grandchild struggles with substance abuse. With the recent death of Whitney Houston and her connection to substance abuse, it reminds me of what this means during the estate planning process. These parents are heartbroken and need guidance on how to address this difficult situation in their estate planning documents. Substance abuse – whether it’s alcohol, prescription drugs, or illegal narcotics – affects many of the families we advise. As a result, we developed a list of questions for families to consider when designing their estate plan:

  1. Has the beneficiary ever been diagnosed with a mental illness?
  2. Is the beneficiary having a particularly hard time – is divorce on the horizon? Has he lost his business? Does he gamble?
  3. What is his relationship with other family members?
  4. Who does he trust?
  5. Who is giving him money?
  6. Is he eligible for government assistance?
  7. Who is paying his health insurance?
  8. Is he employed? For how long? What types of jobs?
  9. Has he ever been treated for his addiction?
  10. Is he a member of Alcoholics Anonymous or a similar organization?
  11. Do these issues run in the family?
  12. Has there been a family intervention?
  13. Is he open to counseling? Has this topic been addressed?
  14. Where is he living? Can he live alone?

I have noticed that substance abuse often masks other underlying mental health issues, including undiagnosed or untreated schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. That these issues are often part of a larger family pattern makes having the discussion much more difficult, but much more essential.

Families in Conflict

An addicted child may have already taken a significant emotional, physical, and financial toll on the entire family. Parents who find it difficult to handle this child become increasingly disturbed when they consider who would step in if they are unable or unavailable. This helplessness often leads to anger, frustration, and conflict.

One parent may want to cut off the beneficiary while the other parent cannot consider doing so. One parent may want to kick the child out of the home, while the other parent believes that doing so would make matters worse. These conflicts add stress to their marriage and the family at large.

Grandparents may have different opinions than the parents. Siblings may already be resentful of their addicted sister or brother. In many families, the troubled child has already received significant emotional and financial assistance. His troubles have already taken center stage at the dinner table. His presence in the home and attitude toward the family may have already created constant disruption.

Estate Planning Tools and Options

As complex and emotional as these issues are, families must address them. And they will welcome having an impartial, yet compassionate advisor to provide guidance, suggestions, and choices.

One planning tool for parents to immediately consider is for that child to designate them as the agent under his health care proxy and his attorney in fact under the durable power of attorney. Without these documents, HIPPA will prohibit the parents from being involved with his treatment. Also, these documents give parents legal access to his health and financial records, which could be extremely important if it becomes necessary to apply for government benefits.

Inevitably, an estate planning discussion will include disinheritance. In my experience, this is a subject frequently discussed and rarely implemented. No matter how angry and frustrated they are, parents still want to provide some sort of safety net for their child.

This pressure to disinherit the troubled child may come from the sense that he has already taken more than his fair share of the family’s resources, possibly at the expense of the other, more responsible children. As the family’s advisor, however, you should ask the parents:

  • If you are not here, how will the child be cared for with no existing financial resources?
  • Who will be responsible?
  • Who will he call?
  • Will disinheriting him place a financial burden on your other children, or will they be able to walk away?

Establishing a Trust

Rather than disinheriting him, a common solution is to establish a trust that includes him as a permissible beneficiary – or is only for his benefit during his lifetime. The hard decision, however, is who will serve as trustee after both parents die. Parents are understandably reluctant to place that burden on their other children or on other relatives.

If there are significant assets, then choosing a corporate trustee is the simple choice. The other children or trusted friends or advisors can then have the right to remove or replace that trustee during the trust duration. If there are not sufficient assets to warrant a corporate trustee, then the parents must identify friends or trusted advisors – who should be paid for their services. The trustee should review the trust document to ensure that he has the right to resign from his office, and understand the mechanism for subsequent trustee appointments. The document should provide the trustee with the authority to expend funds for purposes such as counseling, detectives, drug testing, and private security.

Trust Terms and Provisions

After deciding on the line of succession and identifying who will operate the trust, parents need to focus on the various purposes for which the trustee may or may not distribute income and/or principal from the trust to the beneficiary.

If the beneficiary is likely to require government assistance, then the terms of the trust must contemplate that. The trust document may also give the trustee authority to withhold payments if deemed advisable. This is often preferable to asking that trustee to determine whether a beneficiary is drug-free. Those suffering from substance abuse can be clever, and making such a determination is tricky.

Rather than withholding payments, another approach is to provide the beneficiary with incentives for staying clean. The trustee could provide additional distributions if the child holds a full-time job or regularly attends  counseling sessions. Making the distribution provisions restrictive and under the trustee’s sole control can help protect those assets from the troubled child’s creditors, or from any of the many “friends” and acquaintances who might take advantage of him if they believe there is money in his pocket.

Many parents have a sense of shame or denial, and may rightly choose not to make these troubles public, or put them in a trust document that others can access. I encourage parents to write an annual side letter to the trustee that describes their observations and offers details that they are reluctant to share while living. This letter could be placed in a sealed envelope, kept with the original estate planning documents, and updated/revised as circumstances change. It can be comforting to the trustee to understand more about the parents’ goals and objectives from their own voice.

Planning for the beneficiary with a substance abuse issue is complex and can have consequences that affect the entire family. Remind parents that life is a movie, not a snapshot. A plan created now should be good enough to handle today’s circumstances, yet flexible enough to contemplate the unknown. Encourage parents who are dealing with this difficult situation to revisit their plan every few years as circumstances change and evolve.

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  Annino recently released an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime.  To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit, http://www.patriciaannino.com.

Women In Family Business-The Importance of Clarity

By Patricia Annino, J.D., Thomas Davidow, Ed.D. & Cynthia Adams Harrison, Ed.D., LICSW

The Importance of Clarity

The more you and your husband agree to treat the business as a performance arena in which preparation is everything, the more productive your child will be. Similarly, the clearer you can be in terms of creating structures, the better off your child will be when he does enter the business. Being proactive about creating routines through governance structures or through accurate job descriptions is very helpful. If your child is already working in the business, you and your husband can discuss how to create sensible structures with appropriate boundaries. Everyone performs better when they know what’s expected and what the rules are.

Be Informed-Be Influential – Points to Remember

  • If your husband resists talking to you about the business or is upset about something at work and won’t share why, don’t take it personally and don’t give up.
  • Men and women really are different in how they think, behave, feel good about themselves and communicate.
  • When you set a limit for your husband, you are actually encouraging him: You are telling him that he is capable of achieving his goals as a businessman, husband and father.
  • It is possible to find the balance between creating objective criteria for your child’s performance in the business and maintaining family harmony.
  • There’s a difference between granting your child the automatic right to work in the business and giving him the opportunity to do so.
  • Things go best when there is consistent communication between you and your husband and between both of you and your child.

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  Annino recently released an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime.  To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit, http://www.patriciaannino.com.

Women in Family Business: The Lure of Distraction

By Patricia Annino, J.D., Thomas Davidow, Ed.D. & Cynthia Adams Harrison, Ed.D., LICSW

The Lure of Distraction

Frequently, parents’ inability to acknowledge and address a child’s problematic behavior is a sign that something is wrong in the marriage. Rather than deal with a difficulty in their relationship, parents allow their child’s negative behavior to serve as a distraction from it. As a result the child comes to believe, albeit unconsciously, “If I continue to act out, my parents will stay together rather than confront their own issues.” In clinical terms, he becomes the “Identified Patient.” What he is actually doing is signaling a dysfunction in his parents’ marriage.

Any time there are unresolved core problems at the heart of a marriage, those issues are going to splatter all over the walls of the family business. In that light, think about the following difficult questions:

When you state that your husband does not accurately assess your children’s talents and weaknesses, are you saying that you do?

Is it your husband’s fault alone?

Have you managed your child in a way that has proven to be successful?

How long has the problem existed?

Have you and your husband figured out how to work together to have your child perform?

Opportunity, Not a Right

While children in a family business may eventually acquire assets from it, they should not automatically have the right to work in it. Parents can create estate plans through which they share their assets-the monies their business generates, their wealth-among their children, but they ought to differentiate between sharing assets with their children and offering them employment in the business.

It is one thing to give your child a job in the business if he needs one. It is another to move him into a management or leadership position for which his only qualification is that he is a family member. If your child expects to work in the business, you can manage his expectations by talking to him honestly, so that he has the chance to adjust to reality sooner rather than later. If you postpone the discussion about reality for too long, a chasm can develop between expectation and reality and create a huge problem.

One facet of reality to share with your child is that as a family member he will have a leg up in terms of opportunitties within the business, but he will also face disadvantages. For one thing, he will be working under a microscope. His every little error will loom large. In addition, he will be wedged between the employees and the family. Non-family employees will approach him with complaints about events in the business; and since he has to keep his relationship with other employees harmonious, he will not know what and what not to share with you. That is a difficult position to be in.

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  Annino recently announced the release of an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime.  Annino’s book is an exhortation, resource and trusted companion for women in all facets of life.  To purchase the book visit:  http://amzn.to/hOHuEV or for more about Annino, visit: www.patriciaannino.com

 

 

 

Women in Family Business: Setting Limits

By Patricia Annino, J.D., Thomas Davidow, Ed.D. & Cynthia Adams Harrison, Ed.D., LICSW

My husband does not accurately assess the talents and weaknesses of the children who are working in the business. How do I voice my opinion?

Whenever you and your husband talk about your children who are about to, or already have, entered the family business, your respective genders, priorities and positions relative to the business will likely affect your differing views. Most likely you want your children to be loved and treated equally, while your husband’s focus is on the performance and how that should be responded to fairly.

As natural as it is for you to protect your family’s harmony, when you express that intention vis a vis the family business, it can create a significant problem. Children working in the family business are held accountable at a much higher level of performance that they ever have before. When they are students, they may have been forgiven for less than excellent grades-“I know you got  a C, sweet heart, but next time go for an A.” Once they enter the business, however, they arein a performance arena which doesn’t allow for repeated C’s and D’s and F’s. the focus of relationship management is how to get the job done. If it were otherwise, the business would suffer, as would your children, who cannot grow without being held accountable.

Delicate Balance

In order to talk productively about your children’s talents and weaknesses, it would be useful for you both to figure out how to assess their performance clearly, fairly and objectively.

What are the criteria?

What are the standards?

What are the performance expectations?

How can you know when they are being fulfilled?

Are their job descriptions and functions clear?

How do their positions compare to “industry standards” in terms of title and compensation?

Putting a traditional business matrix on job descriptions is not the only way to evaluate the appropriate compensation for your children. Family businesses have an unwritten rule: “We take care of family,” which manifests in different ways. Your husband, as a family business owner and member, has a certain amount of privilege and leeway. Once you and he have made performance criteria objective by creating job descriptions and functions that make sense for what your children are doing in the business, you can be creative in how you meet your family needs, and how you attain family harmony, adding compensation where you want. In other words, you can find the delicate balance between holding your children accountable through objective criteria and maintain family harmony.

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  Annino recently announced the release of an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime.  Annino’s book is an exhortation, resource and trusted companion for women in all facets of life.  To purchase the book visit:  http://amzn.to/hOHuEV or for more about Annino, visit: www.patriciaannino.com

 

The Peril of Collusion in Family Business

In the following family, once again, the father is performance oriented; and the mother is more focused  on the relationship between her children, but their problems are more complex and far harder to resolve:

After Alice and Harvey retired from their family real estate business, their older daughter, Susan, and her husband, Ed, continued to work in the business, as did their only son, Kenny. Ed was always highly effective but was also emotionally and psychologically overbearing towards Kenny, who was not much of a worker. Alice and Harvey had two other daughters, both younger than Kenny. One worked outside the business; the other was a stay at home mother.

Because Kenny was their son, Alice and Harvey were never able to come to terms with his weaknesses. They compensated him commensurately with Susan, a much harder worker. Although they didn’t accept Ed’s behavior towards Kenny, they liked that Ed generated a lot of money. Comfortable with their cash flow, they were never able or willing to resolve the tension or to make a decision about who would eventually end up with what stock.

Kenny is now in his fifties, and Susan and Ed are close to sixty. Recently, Harvey died and Ed became terminally ill. Alice, influenced by her two other sons-in-law, decided to split the stock among her four children. Unsurprisingly, Susan feels betrayed by Alice’s decision. She and Ed worked their entire adult lives for the family business and were never able to get any kind of footing. Not wanting to spend the next twenty years of their life making her brother and sisters rich, her only alternative is to sell the business.

The primary source of the family’s problem is that Kenny never wanted to work in the family business. He was forced into it by Harvey, who believed it was Kenny’s responsibility to work in it. After refusing to pay for Kenny’s college tuition, Harvey disapproved of Kenny’s poor performance in the business, not realizing that Kenny was acting out his anger at his father by not performing. For a man, independence is the root of self esteem. Kenny felt emasculated for years.

The parents’ failure to assess honestly Kenny’s talents, weaknesses, and desires, and to respond accordingly, underscores the importance of original placement. Alice colluded with Harvey. They both remained in denial about the consequences of forcing Kenny to work in the business. Worse, they let the conflict fester unresolved for thirty years. When they were ready to pass the business onto their children, the issue came back to haunt the whole family.

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  For more visit:  www.patriciaannino.com




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