Broker Check

Episode 16: Communication in the Family Business

In this episode of "The Family Biz Show," host Michael Palumbos interviews Susan Schoenfeld and Jane Beddall, experts in family business and communication. The discussion delves into the importance of effective communication within family businesses, the challenges of handling family dynamics and wealth, and strategies for conflict resolution.

Susan Schoenfeld shares her journey from a trusts and estates attorney to a consultant focusing on the "human issues" of wealth, such as governance, legacy, and stewardship. She emphasizes the necessity of open conversations about wealth within the family to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.

Jane Beddall discusses her background in conflict resolution and how understanding and addressing conflicts can benefit family businesses. She highlights the distinction between good and bad conflict, advocating for open communication to foster collaboration and innovation.

The episode also covers the topic of equitable versus equal treatment in family businesses, especially regarding inheritance and involvement in the business. Susan provides insights on how to address this issue through clear communication and planning, potentially using tools like life insurance or non-voting stock options to balance interests among family members.

Michael Palumbos shares his personal experience with his family business, emphasizing the value of facilitated family meetings to address and resolve underlying issues and improve communication. He suggests that such meetings can help prevent future conflicts and ensure that all family members feel heard and valued.

Overall, the episode underscores the critical role of communication in sustaining healthy family dynamics and the success of family businesses. It provides practical advice for family business owners and members on fostering open dialogue, addressing conflicts, and planning for the future to maintain harmony and prosperity in both the family and the business.

Watch the entire episode!

Episode 16 Transcript


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Michael Palumbos: Well welcome everybody to the family biz show. I am your host Michael Columbus from family wealth and legacy here in Rochester, New York.



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Michael Palumbos: And we have an awesome show to you today. We have two incredibly wonderful guests and thought leaders in the areas of family business and communication within the family business. Susan Schoenfeld and Jane battle, and I really appreciate both of you joining us today. Welcome.



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Susan Schoenfeld: Thank you for having us.



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Michael Palumbos: It's a pleasure. So what I typically do we love to have a little bit of a moment to



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Michael Palumbos: Ask about your journey people that end up in this world of serving family owned businesses and and families of, you know, affluence typically



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Michael Palumbos: You didn't start there. It's not like you went to college and got a degree in family dynamics and said I'm jumping in. I can't wait to do this. So tell us about your journey, if you would, and and introduce yourself chain. Would you mind. Kicking us off.



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Jane Beddall: Be happy to. Thanks again, Michael, it's great fun to talk with you and I always enjoy being with Susan whatever we might be doing together.



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Jane Beddall: So my journey. Interestingly, started a long time ago. I'm feeling very old when I say this,



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Jane Beddall: But way back when, when I was in a Joint Degree Program in law school and a master's degree program in public policy analysis at the University of Pennsylvania.



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Jane Beddall: My advisor and I had to come up with a concentration for the master's program and we came up with. And this is 1981 we came off with conflict resolution.



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Jane Beddall: And it was honestly. It was almost as a phrase, we've heard somewhere. Today I could go get a degree in that, but my interest was strong way back when.



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Jane Beddall: And it continues to be, I find it fascinating how we get ourselves into the mess we get into in conflict and how to get ourselves out. So that is the journey that led me in the direction where I am today.



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Jane Beddall: As you both know the idea of families trying to balance. What they care about in the family. What they care about in the wealth, the legacy



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Jane Beddall: An operating business or businesses, no longer operating there is a lot of opportunity for conflict and I take great satisfaction and helping folks deal with the conflict get better and get better at dealing with themselves as well as helping them as a neutral third third party.



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Michael Palumbos: Hello, thank you for sharing. I look forward to hearing some more about the the conflict resolution side of what you bring to the table. I think regardless of wealth.



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Michael Palumbos: All families, you know, are prone to having some form of conflict happening and when there is wealth or a business or something that's emotionally charged it probably magnifies that so we'll hear some more from Jane, Susan.



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Susan Schoenfeld: Thank you again, Michael, for having me and I'm delighted to be here with you and Jane today.



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Susan Schoenfeld: I described myself as a recovering trusts and estates attorney and CPA after I left the active practice of law. I worked for 14 years as fiduciary counsel at a white sheet Trust Company.



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Susan Schoenfeld: That cater to ultra high net worth families where I created developed and facilitated a series of women and wealth workshops



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Susan Schoenfeld: That were designed to explore the personal issues of wealth issues like how do I raise my family in an atmosphere of wealth and still have them turn out to be productive members of society.



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Susan Schoenfeld: And issues like how do I protect my family's hard earned wealth, whether it comes from the family business from the bum. Who's going to marry my child and might become a creditor of my family, one day.



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Susan Schoenfeld: Ultimately, that led me to leave the trust company and first work with the $600 million single family office where they had just had a liquidity event of their family on business.



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Susan Schoenfeld: And I was family ambassador for that $600 million family. And then in 2013 I launched my consulting firm wealth legacy advisors based here in New York City.



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Susan Schoenfeld: Where I serve as thought partner to families family businesses and family offices and their trusted advisors.



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Susan Schoenfeld: On what I like to call the issues that keep people up at night, issues of governance legacy stewardship next generation and philanthropy.



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Susan Schoenfeld: Even though I'm still a member of the bar. I don't practice law or give any legal advice, even though I'm a CPA. I don't give any accounting advice or tax advice.



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Susan Schoenfeld: I give no investment advice and I sell no product. What I provide is strictly as I said, third party thought partnership.



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Susan Schoenfeld: To families of wealth on the human issues of wealth that matter the most to them. In addition, I'm a keynote speaker to financial services firms about these issues of legacy and stewardship.



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Michael Palumbos: Wonderful. I appreciate it.



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Michael Palumbos: Of course, the in this world of coven we're not sitting in soundproof studios and my neighbors are having their lawn done right now so I



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Susan Schoenfeld: Hear anything



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Michael Palumbos: Please let me know. Um, I want you so today we're talking about communication in the family business. And at the end of the day, you know, I think the the families that



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Michael Palumbos: Can learn to communicate and a very high level. You know where the emotional intelligence is high. It really makes a giant difference in you know where they can go and what they can can can



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Michael Palumbos: propel themselves towards. So that's the title of today's show communication and the family business. And we've got a couple of, you know, pieces that Susan and Jane and I had talked about. And so, you know, let's just dive right in and Susan, you know, why don't you, you know, kick us off.



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Michael Palumbos: Why is it so tough to discuss the business or the wealth and, you know, I, you know, we put it out there and said, you know, sometimes talking about those things is tougher than the birds and bees conversation, you know, why is then what happens if you don't talk about it.



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Susan Schoenfeld: Talking about the wealth is scary. There is no there's no getting around that. It is often said to me that families would rather have the dreaded sex talk with their kids.



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Susan Schoenfeld: Than the even more dreaded money talk with their kids, it is it is a scary thing. And my favorite quote on the topic of communication comes from George Bernard Shaw.



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Susan Schoenfeld: Who said the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.



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Susan Schoenfeld: And why I love that quote so much is because it really conveys just how much and how hard it is to talk about these types of things and how we think we have communicated so much more with our kids, then we have



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Susan Schoenfeld: The other, the other side of that the corollary to that is that some parents say to me, my kids have no idea that will were wealthy.



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Susan Schoenfeld: And you know what I say back to them is you're just fooling yourself. The money is the elephant in the room, you know, there's this wonderful thing out there called the Internet. Maybe you've heard of it.



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Susan Schoenfeld: Of course, our listeners are using it right now to to listen to this broadcast



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Susan Schoenfeld: Kids Google their parents. They Zillow their house to see what it's worth, they see how you live. They see how you travel back when we traveled before coven



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Susan Schoenfeld: kids at school talk and of course at Thanksgiving dinner.



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Susan Schoenfeld: When all the parents are downstairs chatting over coffee and dessert when the kids are all upstairs, talking with their cousins.



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Susan Schoenfeld: Well, even if you haven't told your kids about the wealth but your brother in law has, guess what, now your kids know



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Susan Schoenfeld: Or, or, guess what, you know they're they're about to find out from the kids at school. So, it is it is foolhardy to pretend that the wealth doesn't exist.



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Susan Schoenfeld: A much more realistic approach is to in age appropriate ways and we can get into this as as the conversation develops.



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Susan Schoenfeld: In age appropriate ways, talk about the wealth to the children if there is an active family business invite them in on school vacation or summer vacations.



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Susan Schoenfeld: To work in the in the family business so that they can begin to appreciate an understanding of the responsibility that accompanies the privilege of their wealth, the



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Susan Schoenfeld: The one thing that that I hear all the time. Is that the knock on millennials these days is they live in a world where Facebook went from zillion you know from



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Susan Schoenfeld: Zero to a bazillion dollars in five minutes and they think that's how it's done. But that's not true that young people today are craving more information and more education and a better grounding in in who they are and what their identity is so it really behooves the parents, whether



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Susan Schoenfeld: Over the course of time in age appropriate ways or in the course of a family meeting in a facilitated way to have structured intentional conversations with your kids because just like the sex talk, if you don't have that conversation with them, they're going to find out anyway.



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Michael Palumbos: I knew that was going to happen. Jane, anything that you'd like to add to what Susan was saying.



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Jane Beddall: I certainly agree with all of it. And because my focus is conflict, helping people prevent it and then deal with it if it crops up and



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Jane Beddall: I'm using the shorthand of negative conflict which is the part we talk about so frequently nothing more positive idea of conflict as a source of collaboration and creativity.



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Jane Beddall: The best part, to my mind, is the best part of what Susan was touching on is starting and continuing. Best of all, when it's not one big conversation.



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Jane Beddall: But starting and continuing including on issues that are very difficult and the kids will ask and they need to understand. Similarly, if you are having a situation where



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Jane Beddall: There are siblings who are spread out geographically or not everyone gets along well or if there is a situation where there are cousins.



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Jane Beddall: keeping people in the loop, even a little bit. It was in whatever mode works for your family can help a great deal when something difficult comes along.



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Jane Beddall: Because then you have some basis of communication. Instead of, oh, by the way, we haven't actually connected in five years, but I need to tell you right now that something really awful is happening, that would be very difficult to handle.



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Michael Palumbos: Agreed, you know it's it's funny when we talk about you know the numbers and you know I've been working with family businesses for 20 years and



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Michael Palumbos: So often, you know, it's not just inside of the family, but it's the employees.



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Michael Palumbos: You know, and Susan, to your point, you know, you can go out and, you know, get a Dun and Bradstreet and accompany you know what what a company is worth in the



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Michael Palumbos: Kind of sales volume that's out there and people at all. I'm not sharing those numbers, we're not talking about, you know, every you know what you're taking in salary or every single thing that you're doing.



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Michael Palumbos: But if you're running and equity style business where you're trying to grow equity, you better share those numbers. If you're growing a lifestyle business.



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Michael Palumbos: And you're just doing this for you and your immediate family, that's different. And you know, I would imagine that you probably don't want to share it share those things.



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Michael Palumbos: But I think the vast majority of people, especially in the family business are looking to make that leap.



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Michael Palumbos: From that lifestyle business to the, you know, grow the equity, make sure that we're doing this the right way and it's good communication.



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Michael Palumbos: With the family and throughout the organization probably makes an awful lot of sense. So this is good stuff. And I, I appreciate it.



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Michael Palumbos: I'm James Jane, when we talk about family conflict, why don't you start diving in talking about, you know, what is the good you know you talked about good conflict bed conflict and the ugly conflict. So let's talk about that a little bit.



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Jane Beddall: Well, let's start with the ugly, because that's always the fun, entertaining part and the place no family would ever want to be



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Jane Beddall: That's what makes movies and TV shows and great books and back when everyone read a newspaper that was made of paper.



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Jane Beddall: front page news or maybe the style section because it's gossip worthy. No one wants to be there. That's the sort of thing where all the dirty laundry is out.



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Jane Beddall: When we're talking about communication. We're certainly not talking about that and there's always an undercurrent there of someone trying to



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Jane Beddall: Make someone else look bad make themselves look good there. There's a motivation behind the ugly conflict usually



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Jane Beddall: Now will back up for a moment to the bad, the bad is what we focus on, it's what people talk about generally when they say conflict.



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Jane Beddall: They think it's always bad it is. Some would say inevitable, I would disagree. It is insurmountable. Once it takes hold, I thoroughly disagree with that idea.



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Jane Beddall: Sometimes it is simply the fact that we have different perceptions. We have different needs. We have different life experiences we have different expectations and where the communication part comes in is if I think I know what your ideas are



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Jane Beddall: And I assume from my beliefs things that aren't true. Things that are unduly negative better that we have a conversation and we find ways to honor each other's intentions.



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Jane Beddall: expectations and needs and then move on into a more positive type of conflict that I call good conflict and that is the collaborative and creative type



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Jane Beddall: That's where innovation comes from. If we all thought exactly the same. There will be no new ideas, it would be too difficult to try to understand



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Jane Beddall: Where we go from here because we're in lockstep. We don't know what to do now, but the spark of imagination is, to my mind, good conflict, what you need to have the communications, you need to be open to those new ideas to allow them to come forward.



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Michael Palumbos: Love it. It's



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Michael Palumbos: Burn a brown is big on you know out there right now, when



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Michael Palumbos: My team and I read one of her books and we love the word rumble. And you know that word for us means good conflict because you know it's you don't have to agree, we have to get these we have to get these thoughts out there and



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Michael Palumbos: I'm one of those D type personalities. I'm a di which means you know for me that you know I like to win.



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Michael Palumbos: And I want to talk about it and and other people might not get their words in. And so it's, you know, a real chore for me to remember to sit back and listen because some of the best stuff is when people don't agree with me. Right. And yeah.



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Jane Beddall: And Michael. May I share something that I find interesting, which is the assessment tool that you're talking about, well no not nearly as well known is a tool that I recently became certified to us as a practitioner and that is called the conflict dynamics profile.



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Jane Beddall: Okay, based on research done at the mediation Training Institute and they are quite clearly focused based on their research on behaviors.



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Jane Beddall: Not personalities not styles in part because it is easier for us, regular people to focus on one or two of our behaviors that are not so good. Like I rolling would be near the top of everyone's list, I think.



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Jane Beddall: And to try to get that under control and the flip side of that is to get better at using the good behaviors that we have, but quite interesting and not very well known.



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Michael Palumbos: Appreciate it. Susan, you want to chime in on what you see in terms of the good, the bad, and the ugly of family conflict.



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Susan Schoenfeld: The good, the bad, and the ugly of family conflict, well the the ugliest is, in my experience, generally around marital disputes which I know is not something that gene.



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Susan Schoenfeld: Good for her. It's not something that she she she likes to do



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Susan Schoenfeld: When I think about prenuptial agreements and I think about guiding families around the issues of prenuptial agreements, I tend not to



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Susan Schoenfeld: delve too deeply into the legality of it, the things that the lawyers will tell you, like, make sure



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Susan Schoenfeld: Each party is separately represented and make sure that there's full disclosure and all those sorts of legal things when I tried to guide families around cleanups, not surprisingly, I



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Susan Schoenfeld: Tried to guide them in the area of communication because the the image that stays with me is a long married couple



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Susan Schoenfeld: After 42 years of marriage, where the wife turned to her husband in my office and said, your mother never trusted me because 42 years ago they made me sign that stinking prenup agreement.



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Susan Schoenfeld: And for 42 years of marriage she held a grudge against her long deceased in laws so sure, by all means, make sure there's full financial disclosure. Make sure there's



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Susan Schoenfeld: All the different things that the lawyer is going to tell you. But the most important thing is to make sure that there's plenty of time for both parties to consider the pros and the cons.



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Susan Schoenfeld: Make sure all of this happens, long before the wedding invitations go out. We all know that that story of Barry Bonds, who



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Susan Schoenfeld: Allegedly in the limo on the way to the wedding tossed a prenup into his intended slap and said, If you don't sign it. The wedding is often you know of course that was deemed to be



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Susan Schoenfeld: Undue duress and and the, the agreement was set aside the main thing really for parents for whom having a prenup is going to be part of the expectation for their children.



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Susan Schoenfeld: Is to make sure that that expectation is on the table before your kids even hit dating age because then it's not personal, then it's not



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Susan Schoenfeld: You never liked this person. I'm about to marry. But no matter who you marry, whether it is someone vastly less wealthy that we, or even someone vastly wealthier than we are. It is something that we are going to insist on



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Susan Schoenfeld: A card corollary to that and one I have seen work particularly well if there's more than one child is to encourage your children to enter into a pact among



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Susan Schoenfeld: Themselves with each other that no matter who they marry as an element of responsible stewardship of the family's wealth.



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Susan Schoenfeld: They are going to make sure they all have cleanups before they get married, and then it's not personal, to the dreaded you know mother in law.



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Susan Schoenfeld: But rather it's something that we're all doing as siblings to to act as responsible siblings and I've seen that work really well. So again, like Jane. My focus is on



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Susan Schoenfeld: Communication. It's on the conflict avoidance before it happens and it's not so much on the legalities because there are practicing lawyers who are going to be better advisors on that, but rather, I can help families before the before it turns ugly.



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Susan Schoenfeld: Enter into some of these potentially ugly conversations



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Michael Palumbos: Love it, you know.



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Michael Palumbos: When you said that. Go ahead, Jane.



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Jane Beddall: It. See, and I had, I have seen an instance just jumps to mind where



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Jane Beddall: Of course I'm hearing all of this third hand at best, but the intended is so offended that this topic has come up and it's far far advanced, there's no wedding date that it is way in advance so that part went well.



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Jane Beddall: But the adult child of the family. And in this instance, there was not an operating family business. But there was enough wealth that the family had had conversations with the children.



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Jane Beddall: Very early on that that adult child was able to say to the intended. This has nothing to do with you. I knew about this long before I met you.



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Jane Beddall: So just to what Susan was saying if you get it out there before they can meet that perfect love match that, then that that person is in the position to say, I guarantee it's nothing to do with you. I've known about this for so long, long before I know you



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Michael Palumbos: Love it. Yeah. You know what makes me the phrase that comes to mind is, when is the best time to plant a tree 20 years ago.



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Michael Palumbos: When is the second best time today. And so you know it's it's coming through coming up with and thinking about what are all the what ifs. What are all the, what are all the conversations that if we don't have them.



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Michael Palumbos: Have the ability to undermine all of the work and trust and the things that we that we've built up within our family. And again, I'll go back and say what the employees as well. Most family owned businesses, you know, we think of our employees as family.



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Michael Palumbos: And and that's, you know, makes makes a big difference. And so you, you really want to be doing those things I remember years ago and I'll share this you know



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Michael Palumbos: I was new in the business and lack confidence and what I was doing and I made a mistake I screwed up with a client, something went wrong and



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Michael Palumbos: I made the very immature mistake of blaming it on my team. And when I did that somebody overheard me do it, and they sat me down in the office and they, you know, they had been around.



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Michael Palumbos: As admin for the family for longer than I was involved in the business and she sat me down with the door closed and read me the riot act.



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Michael Palumbos: And I was like it was a very maturing moment for me because I made sure that it never ever happen again. And it took me a while to regain that trust. And so it's really important that these conversations and how you do things.



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Michael Palumbos: You know and like in our team. What do we say we, it's okay to come to the team with that on your face. You know, it's okay to make mistakes. But, own it.



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Michael Palumbos: So that's I appreciate what you're saying. Any other stories that pop into your mind about, you know, families were they surprise you with the good work that they're doing.



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Michael Palumbos: And what it may be an example of, you know, some of the things that they were doing proactively that jumped, jumped in your mind. Anything come to mind.



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Jane Beddall: I'll jump one family in particular was so keen on the idea of people staying connected



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Jane Beddall: And they made it a commitment and they they grew. They were not a tiny family in G one, but they grew and they grew and they were all over the place.



00:24:49.770 --> 00:24:57.270

Jane Beddall: Most or in the United States. Everyone spoke English as a first language that made things a little easier. But they decided they'd have a family newsletter.



00:24:57.690 --> 00:25:05.940

Jane Beddall: That was not. It wasn't about the business, particularly touched on film public news about the business fun things



00:25:06.390 --> 00:25:15.630

Jane Beddall: But what mattered was that if you had some news to share you were invited to share it, and one of the older members of the family took responsibility for



00:25:16.350 --> 00:25:24.810

Jane Beddall: Distributing this. I can't call now three or four times a year, maybe, something like that. And it was not fancy, but the younger kids.



00:25:25.590 --> 00:25:34.350

Jane Beddall: As soon as they were able to read. It's like, oh, okay, here it comes. And it brought them into the idea of. We are a family.



00:25:34.740 --> 00:25:44.370

Jane Beddall: And they had a family business that had the family name in it. So that kind of helps this idea of this is our. This is our family. This is our business.



00:25:44.790 --> 00:25:59.850

Jane Beddall: But they kept that connectedness going in a very low key fashion. It really helped kind of build and submit the bonds of people who did not see each other in person. Very often, and this is long before coven but it was important to them.



00:26:01.800 --> 00:26:13.080

Susan Schoenfeld: That's a great story. Jane and. And to that point when I facilitate family meetings. One of the first things that I like to do in family meetings.



00:26:13.410 --> 00:26:23.430

Susan Schoenfeld: Is to go around the table and encourage each participant at the meeting to share some news of what has happened in their lives that their children or their grandchildren's lives.



00:26:23.790 --> 00:26:33.840

Susan Schoenfeld: That the other family members might not necessarily know about or perhaps to go into more detail and more depth about things that people do know about. So in a



00:26:34.230 --> 00:26:38.970

Susan Schoenfeld: family meeting that I facilitated right before coven happened. It was actually in February.



00:26:39.240 --> 00:26:52.980

Susan Schoenfeld: We went around the table and people not only talked about. They started off talking about the the charity work they're doing or what's doing with their kids and grandkids, but then they got into some deep dark stuff they started talking about



00:26:53.430 --> 00:27:02.400

Susan Schoenfeld: What they're afraid of. And what's stressing them out and that encouraged other people to talk about what stressing them out and it turned into



00:27:02.790 --> 00:27:11.370

Susan Schoenfeld: This beautiful bonding moment among a family that that surely loves each other. They don't talk all that often. They're on



00:27:12.180 --> 00:27:29.580

Susan Schoenfeld: They're in different time zones, but they were able to really bond over things that they hadn't expected to talk about the meeting was extensively to talk about something very specific about the family business, and it turned into a much deeper connecting moment for everyone.



00:27:30.690 --> 00:27:39.810

Michael Palumbos: That's great. It's, um, you know, the Susan, we're going to talk some more about, you know, family meetings and why they should be facilitated



00:27:41.010 --> 00:27:51.630

Michael Palumbos: So in a second. But we just finished a facilitated family meeting and it was really unique you'll you'll you'll appreciate this, the family.



00:27:52.230 --> 00:28:02.700

Michael Palumbos: Across the board, except for two people who voted to say yes. And everybody just said, Okay. They were so afraid of this family meeting they did not want to do it. It was the very first time.



00:28:03.090 --> 00:28:10.290

Michael Palumbos: And it was like, you know, when we want when we want to where the family was on the day when we got everybody together.



00:28:11.070 --> 00:28:25.140

Michael Palumbos: It felt like we were death coming to them, it was, it was so extreme. You know, and so what was amazing is one of the things that we wanted to do was introduced the business to the kids.



00:28:25.440 --> 00:28:31.830

Michael Palumbos: And, you know, again, going back about being intentional and and helping people to understand that there's another way of



00:28:32.070 --> 00:28:43.530

Michael Palumbos: You know, doing things, not just always about, you know, the family getting together. Having a picnic having fun, sometimes doing a little bit of work today, will you know spread you know make things easier in the future.



00:28:44.100 --> 00:28:51.300

Michael Palumbos: Nine year old kid is watching the video of what the family does and looks at it and goes, who does that.



00:28:51.750 --> 00:29:00.240

Michael Palumbos: And then so you know we had to turn that kid around and make everybody raised their hand and they were all like, oh my gosh.



00:29:00.540 --> 00:29:05.190

Michael Palumbos: How did they not know that that's what we do. And she's like, fit super cool.



00:29:05.520 --> 00:29:16.650

Michael Palumbos: And so just like these little moments that happened through facilitated family meetings where somebody that just can be a little bit more intentional. We'll talk more about that. I want to take and you know those things away from you.



00:29:18.000 --> 00:29:28.140

Michael Palumbos: But just maybe talk about good things happening. And here was a family that was really afraid the conflict, the level of conflict avoidance was so high.



00:29:28.560 --> 00:29:51.540

Michael Palumbos: That they didn't want to do anything. So you've got that, um, how about let's talk about one of Susan's favorite topics which is the equal and equitable challenge within families and you know the secrets to navigating through that stuff. Do you want to guide open that up a little bit.



00:29:52.470 --> 00:30:02.550

Susan Schoenfeld: So I call it the equal versus equitable debate because fair doesn't always mean equal and equal doesn't always mean equitable



00:30:03.000 --> 00:30:13.650

Susan Schoenfeld: So parents tend to give to their children, based on their needs and that's appropriate. So if one child is attending junior college and the other is going to med school. They're going to have different financial needs.



00:30:14.010 --> 00:30:23.190

Susan Schoenfeld: If one child lives in the Midwest where the stand the cost of living is is perhaps less expensive and the other is here in New York City.



00:30:23.490 --> 00:30:36.150

Susan Schoenfeld: The needs are going to be different if one child becomes a member of the clergy, or an inner city school teacher or a nonprofit employee and the other child becomes a reality star or a



00:30:37.230 --> 00:30:43.020

Susan Schoenfeld: One of those rarefied sports figures. Well, then their needs are going to be different. And in fact,



00:30:43.560 --> 00:30:49.530

Susan Schoenfeld: Chances are one child may very well need help making their monthly rent and the other child.



00:30:49.920 --> 00:31:01.650

Susan Schoenfeld: The last thing they want is gifts from their parents because they're doing their own creditor protection planning, but at the end of the day when you treat your children on equally you risk that age old



00:31:02.850 --> 00:31:11.640

Susan Schoenfeld: aphorism mom mom or dad loved you better which every sibling has said, at least once to their to their siblings, but grandchildren are different.



00:31:12.030 --> 00:31:25.980

Susan Schoenfeld: So consider this example mom and dad have two kids and it's it's fairly straightforward. They want to treat their kids equally. So the sun gets half and the daughter gets half



00:31:26.580 --> 00:31:34.530

Susan Schoenfeld: But what happens when they have children themselves and the daughter has one child, and the Son has three children.



00:31:34.890 --> 00:31:43.620

Susan Schoenfeld: What do the grandparents. Do, do they say well I have four grandchildren. I'm going to treat them equally and each grandchild gets 25%



00:31:44.190 --> 00:31:53.190

Susan Schoenfeld: Maybe and a lot of grandparents do say that or do they say no, I have two branches of children. And so my daughter's



00:31:54.120 --> 00:32:05.490

Susan Schoenfeld: Branch is going to get 50% and my son's branch is going to get 50% so my daughter's daughter gets her whole 50% and my son's three children split



00:32:05.880 --> 00:32:12.000

Susan Schoenfeld: Their fathers 50% and they end up getting one sixth. Each. Is that fair maybe



00:32:12.960 --> 00:32:20.670

Susan Schoenfeld: My, my argument is that it's not up to us as advisors to make that decision for our clients.



00:32:21.030 --> 00:32:33.600

Susan Schoenfeld: Is our job as advisors to ask the families, what it is they want to do, there's no right answer. The only right answer is to ask the questions so that you can decide for yourself.



00:32:33.960 --> 00:32:43.080

Susan Schoenfeld: And I guarantee that nine out of 10 lawyers never discussed this with their clients. It's just baked into the boilerplate in their documents.



00:32:43.470 --> 00:32:56.550

Susan Schoenfeld: So that's part of the equal versus equitable debate. The other part of it is, is what we talked about earlier. The, the children who have different needs. So true story.



00:32:57.930 --> 00:33:10.800

Susan Schoenfeld: Mom and Dad had two daughters. And let's call them Jenny and Sally and when they were kids, Jenny, and Sally were inseparable. They were very close sisters



00:33:11.700 --> 00:33:25.050

Susan Schoenfeld: But as life developed Jenny became financially very successful in her career she married someone even more financially successful. She had two



00:33:25.380 --> 00:33:30.510

Susan Schoenfeld: Lovely children who grew up and we're healthy and happy and she lived very nicely.



00:33:31.080 --> 00:33:45.120

Susan Schoenfeld: Her sister Sally. On the other hand, was was one of those unfortunate ones. She suffered from lifelong illnesses. She never really got an education. She never married, she was never happy.



00:33:45.630 --> 00:34:03.540

Susan Schoenfeld: And ultimately when mom and dad passed away. They said, or one can only assume they said Jenny is financially successful Sally needs our money and they left everything to Sally without telling Jenny about it.



00:34:04.410 --> 00:34:11.670

Susan Schoenfeld: So what do you think happened. Well Jenny was left with all of these feelings of my parents didn't love me.



00:34:11.970 --> 00:34:23.190

Susan Schoenfeld: They didn't trust me. I never even got the opportunity to select personal items that that would have been mementos for me sentimental items. It all went to my sister.



00:34:23.520 --> 00:34:27.990

Susan Schoenfeld: And I never had an opportunity to have a conversation with my parents about this.



00:34:28.440 --> 00:34:39.270

Susan Schoenfeld: And it was it unfortunately it caused a lifelong rift between Jenny and Sally and these two sisters who had been so close as children never spoke again.



00:34:39.840 --> 00:34:55.290

Susan Schoenfeld: And unfortunately, and truly tragically to make a sad story even sadder, about a year later, Sally. The, the sister who had been L's to come to her lifelong illnesses and she passed away.



00:34:55.740 --> 00:35:04.500

Susan Schoenfeld: And she left all of her parents money that she had inherited instead of to her sister or to her sister's children. She left it to a distant cousin.



00:35:05.790 --> 00:35:16.350

Susan Schoenfeld: And so now poor Jenny is not only heartbroken, she just lost her parents now she lost her sister, she lost the opportunity to ever have a conversation with her sister about



00:35:17.700 --> 00:35:31.740

Susan Schoenfeld: All of these things. She also lost the opportunity to pass on to her kids, the harder earned wealth that her parents had created and she sought go to this distant cousin, and she was left with with this.



00:35:32.250 --> 00:35:47.040

Susan Schoenfeld: Guilt and and all of the emotions that you can imagine. And so the the moral of that story, as I see it, is that be quests are messages from those who are no longer here so



00:35:47.610 --> 00:35:59.850

Susan Schoenfeld: Please be, be careful and and be sure you convey the message that you intend, and if you are treating your children either unequally or how they might perceive as



00:36:00.360 --> 00:36:12.210

Susan Schoenfeld: In equitably or unfairly, please be sure to have those conversations before it's too late because at the end of the day, as hard as it is to have those conversations



00:36:12.570 --> 00:36:19.470

Susan Schoenfeld: Just imagine the pain that could have been avoided had Jenny and Sally's parents had those conversations with her.



00:36:19.920 --> 00:36:34.530

Susan Schoenfeld: Like I said earlier, it's not easy. And that is why facilitated conversations over the course of a family meeting are a somewhat more emotionally removed or sanitized way of doing it without



00:36:35.670 --> 00:36:41.310

Susan Schoenfeld: Without really the acrimony that that truly could have been avoided in this case.



00:36:43.650 --> 00:36:49.410

Jane Beddall: Michael, I would add, absolutely and such a such a stark and sad story.



00:36:50.580 --> 00:36:58.830

Jane Beddall: Another idea. And this is something that we talked about earlier in Susan was mentioning the context of kids do they, do they not know something, if we don't tell them



00:36:59.670 --> 00:37:11.520

Jane Beddall: I think it's safe to say we've all heard that nature abhors a vacuum. That's true about human nature, as well as the more general nature. So in these instances where mom and dad make a decision.



00:37:12.240 --> 00:37:21.780

Jane Beddall: To whatever whatever decision they make someone should would say that's terribly unfair that it was equal because one has far more in resources than the other.



00:37:22.560 --> 00:37:40.560

Jane Beddall: Or the, the classic of the hedge fund kid who has so much money and the social worker sibling, and because mom and dad decide to give more to the social worker, the hedge fund kid says, I've been punished for being successful.



00:37:42.210 --> 00:37:50.730

Jane Beddall: The parents sometimes shy away too much from the conversation because they feel as if they're giving over decision making power.



00:37:51.120 --> 00:38:03.120

Jane Beddall: That's not the same as we have reached this this decision, and we want you to know what it is. Now for some even that is too much. The fear of Thanksgiving is so great.



00:38:03.750 --> 00:38:13.320

Jane Beddall: They would not allow Susan with all of her talents to have a peaceful calm facilitated family meetings, like, Nope. We can't touch that. It's too terrifying.



00:38:14.100 --> 00:38:23.100

Jane Beddall: Now some I have heard successful lawyer say those parents are cowards. I don't think I'd go that far, and not sure that labels help



00:38:23.970 --> 00:38:39.390

Jane Beddall: But if that is too much for a family for the parents. What else could you do. You could, at the very least, write down something something as simple as we love you both. We always have



00:38:39.870 --> 00:38:49.050

Jane Beddall: This is the basis of our decision. We're not asking you to necessarily agree, but we want you to know what it is, instead of



00:38:49.950 --> 00:39:12.540

Jane Beddall: Assuming because I'm heard that my sibling tricked mom and dad somehow or told them something that was not quite true, or pressured them or who knows what it is, but giving a reason can prevent that really unnecessary conflict from rearing its ugly or at least bad head.



00:39:14.430 --> 00:39:27.540

Michael Palumbos: Perfect I you know what it's making me think of as you tour, you know, giving some examples and talking about you know this, the area of equal versus equitable and just talking about things.



00:39:28.560 --> 00:39:34.950

Michael Palumbos: I know Jane, you were in the at the PPI rendezvous. A couple weeks ago, Susan. I don't know if you were there or not.



00:39:35.670 --> 00:39:51.510

Michael Palumbos: But there was a a woman did a conversation about her and I simplify this, as best I can. They were just talking about in this world coven that you know what if, what if, and you know her daughter.



00:39:52.710 --> 00:40:00.540

Michael Palumbos: Said, Hey mom, you know, I want to share this will that I wrote, you know, and it was Jane. I don't know if you heard that or not.



00:40:00.630 --> 00:40:06.990

Jane Beddall: It was Dawn gross. She was fabulous. A year ago when we were all in person and she was fabulous. Again, when we were all virtual



00:40:07.710 --> 00:40:25.230

Michael Palumbos: And the, the statement of purposeful was you know obviously portrayed or, you know, given to her daughter and the will was beautiful. It wasn't just I'm giving this to here. And you know, when we write a will today. They're so



00:40:25.890 --> 00:40:47.490

Michael Palumbos: Dry there. So, legal and, you know, I, you know, really work hard to if nothing else, name the trust that you're creating and put, you know, put a great name to it. So it says something, it's not just coming from, you know, the Johnny Smith and Mary Smith Life Insurance Trust you know



00:40:48.690 --> 00:40:55.110

Michael Palumbos: You know, I have one trust that a client created in the name of the trust is anything but a dirt bike and I



00:40:55.320 --> 00:40:56.910

Michael Palumbos: love that one. It said



00:40:57.000 --> 00:41:02.400

Michael Palumbos: So much in the attorney rolled his eyes at me when you know we when we named it



00:41:03.510 --> 00:41:14.520

Michael Palumbos: But you know that message from, you know, from Grandma someday or great grandma someday to those out there, they're going to say, why is it named anything but a dirt bike.



00:41:14.880 --> 00:41:25.980

Michael Palumbos: And that message of I believe you can do anything you can. There's nothing that you can't do. But don't take unnecessary risks, you know, don't be silly.



00:41:26.160 --> 00:41:33.300

Michael Palumbos: And that that was her message to her boys as they were growing up and she wanted that message to be portrayed. And so you'll go back and you know



00:41:33.810 --> 00:41:36.990

Michael Palumbos: The you're talking about having these discussions with people.



00:41:37.380 --> 00:41:52.410

Michael Palumbos: And if nothing else, write it. And if you can't put it into the will, because the attorney won't do that then write a letter to your family and let them know how you feel and what you were thinking when you were doing what you were doing so important.



00:41:52.920 --> 00:41:53.220

Jane Beddall: My name.



00:41:54.000 --> 00:41:54.450

Jane Beddall: Is Susan



00:41:54.810 --> 00:42:04.350

Susan Schoenfeld: I, I encourage families to write it could be a letter, it could be what sometimes lawyers call a memorandum of wishes.



00:42:04.710 --> 00:42:14.880

Susan Schoenfeld: It is not necessarily and often is not legally binding, but it is emotionally relevant and I encourage families to put in there.



00:42:15.540 --> 00:42:25.050

Susan Schoenfeld: What they were thinking about their hopes, their fears their desires, their, you know, the things that go bump in the night for them to things that



00:42:25.650 --> 00:42:41.580

Susan Schoenfeld: Can't go in a cold dry legal document of 100 pages that's filled with legal ease that's intended to accomplish certain tax aims and and that's all necessary and relevant, but what goes into a memorandum of wishes could be



00:42:42.390 --> 00:42:49.440

Susan Schoenfeld: A direction to the trustees to distribute or not distribute under certain circumstances.



00:42:50.220 --> 00:43:00.030

Susan Schoenfeld: It could be a an explanation to your family members of why I did what I did and what I was thinking about it could be a



00:43:00.870 --> 00:43:14.550

Susan Schoenfeld: A narrative about how your grandfather and I came over to this country on a boat and we started a corner store and it grew and and now it's Whole Foods or, you know, or whatever. Fill in the blanks.



00:43:15.240 --> 00:43:22.620

Susan Schoenfeld: But it could the narrative of the hard work and the fire in the belly and and the value system that



00:43:23.070 --> 00:43:35.580

Susan Schoenfeld: Created the wealth that you my grandchildren are now enjoying is is part of the family, culture, and it is it is something that I encourage families to do intentionally



00:43:36.390 --> 00:43:44.490

Susan Schoenfeld: Because every child growing up loves to hear stories about their parents or their grandparents to develop their own sense of identity.



00:43:44.760 --> 00:43:54.060

Susan Schoenfeld: So why shouldn't the wealth creator fashion that and create that in a way that they want to be repeated over and over as part of their family story.



00:43:54.330 --> 00:44:02.400

Susan Schoenfeld: And map it out for future generations to identify with and have a better sense of who are we, as a member of the



00:44:02.940 --> 00:44:14.820

Susan Schoenfeld: Schoenfeld family. What does it mean to be a member of our family, whether it's the the grandchildren coming up or its people marrying into our family, it is it is part of the culture of who we are.



00:44:16.500 --> 00:44:17.010




00:44:18.150 --> 00:44:39.660

Jane Beddall: Michael, there's another topic that we haven't mentioned, but it's one is as hard to talk about as money and that I'm going to say it out loud. It's death and the potential for family destruction in not discussing end of life wishes and wishes for one's immediate



00:44:40.830 --> 00:44:53.970

Jane Beddall: After death dealings, as it were, what you would like your funeral service to be like if you want one at all. Whether you want cremation, whether you don't if family members are left to guests.



00:44:55.140 --> 00:44:57.600

Jane Beddall: Because no one could ever have this conversation.



00:44:58.680 --> 00:45:12.360

Jane Beddall: The possibility that everyone is completely in sync about guessing mom's wishes is very tiny. That's not going to happen. The damage that can be done to a functioning business because the



00:45:13.410 --> 00:45:18.000

Jane Beddall: It's so hard to go back there are many conflicts where somehow we can move on.



00:45:19.140 --> 00:45:23.010

Jane Beddall: You killed, Mom. That's not going to be an easy one. Um,



00:45:24.270 --> 00:45:33.180

Jane Beddall: But mom, named me. And again, this is an opportunity for mom to do the right thing and say I have made this decision, and I have named this one of my adult children.



00:45:33.480 --> 00:45:42.780

Jane Beddall: Or someone else and I know families where this has happened. They name, someone who is a relative who is not a blood relative because they know that's the right person.



00:45:43.320 --> 00:45:57.090

Jane Beddall: To make sure what needs to happen happens. But if that's not done the potential for discord in that family and never walking it back is so great cannot encourage people enough. It's not easy.



00:45:57.630 --> 00:46:06.270

Jane Beddall: But we're all going to die. And I actually have said that word begins with a d a couple of times even saying it is hard in our culture. Sure.



00:46:06.900 --> 00:46:10.980

Jane Beddall: But that's another piece, as you know, Michael that Don gross is very



00:46:11.940 --> 00:46:27.600

Jane Beddall: tuned into how important it is for families of wealth and I would argue, at least as important for families and family businesses, regardless of the level of wealth, because the anger and the estrangement can be so profound need to do this. Yeah.



00:46:27.660 --> 00:46:36.210

Michael Palumbos: And it's, you know, it goes right back into succession planning and you know transition. And if we're not if we're avoiding



00:46:36.450 --> 00:46:49.110

Michael Palumbos: That conversation that you know what do they say the two things that we know 100% are certain is death in Texas. Well, if you know that it's certain, you know, put it out there and say it and be okay with it. I love



00:46:50.700 --> 00:46:56.910

Michael Palumbos: My wife and I were Game of Thrones fans and we learned to love the you know the dwarf.



00:46:57.360 --> 00:47:03.990

Michael Palumbos: Tyrion Lannister. And one of the things that he said is I call myself a dwarf. So nobody else can take it away from me.



00:47:04.260 --> 00:47:13.770

Michael Palumbos: So I would you know you can't punish me with that you can't hurt me with that. So if you don't want to be afraid of depth and just look at in his face and talk about it. Right.



00:47:15.060 --> 00:47:25.350

Jane Beddall: And it's not easy. I'm not. I don't want to minimize for some families and some cultures. In particular, it is really, really tough and that may be where an outsider can help.



00:47:26.490 --> 00:47:37.260

Jane Beddall: Help have that conversation and explain why it matters and that decisions need to be made. That's the other piece of it. And when Susan was talking about this idea of equal and



00:47:38.640 --> 00:47:52.770

Jane Beddall: Equitable and what does it all mean I was asked to be involved once with a what was ironic as a state planning attorney who had retired and his wife, the person who had been



00:47:53.940 --> 00:48:12.540

Jane Beddall: The lawyer had been a mentor to the person who brought me in these two were paralyzed in their own estate planning, knowing that it had to happen because they couldn't make a decision about this, in part because one of the adult children was a stranger and oh, but maybe he'll come back.



00:48:13.830 --> 00:48:23.310

Jane Beddall: Oh boy. So until then, we'll do nothing. That was a tough conversation, but we needed to have it and we did have it and we managed to create a plan.



00:48:23.940 --> 00:48:39.720

Jane Beddall: That they could follow that would take the guilt away and also allow them to reach a decision that would then create some certainty for the other family members. Nice.



00:48:39.840 --> 00:48:44.940

Michael Palumbos: That's it's super important that you that you say that I think



00:48:46.230 --> 00:48:50.310

Michael Palumbos: I'm thinking about that one of the things that pops into my head is



00:48:51.660 --> 00:48:55.410

Michael Palumbos: I'm having a moment. I apologize. It doesn't happen often I'm tongue tied



00:48:55.860 --> 00:49:08.820

Michael Palumbos: And so on that tongue tie. I'm going to, I'm going to change my gears. I think that's what I I had two thoughts going at the same time, and one was competing heavier than the other. We call this you know we named this communication in the family business.



00:49:10.650 --> 00:49:22.830

Michael Palumbos: I'm curious if there was a book or a tool or something that you would say, you know, above all else. This is a great read, you're going to, you're going to learn some great things from this, you know, aside from



00:49:23.190 --> 00:49:37.020

Michael Palumbos: You know, listening to more of this podcast, of course, what are some of the tools that you know families can learn from and maybe you know put into action, you know, today, what would you point them towards



00:49:38.580 --> 00:49:41.550

Michael Palumbos: Either of you have a favorite book or tool that you know



00:49:43.980 --> 00:49:54.030

Susan Schoenfeld: Well, I would always start with Jay Hughes and and his, his writings that is it is always the starting point in my recommendations to families.



00:49:54.600 --> 00:50:00.270

Michael Palumbos: Perfect. I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing today if it wasn't for for James use



00:50:01.410 --> 00:50:12.570

Michael Palumbos: I read his book, and was so moved that I called him and said, you know, can I schedule some time to talk to you. And he's like, absolutely. And he's just so giving and so wonderful.



00:50:12.660 --> 00:50:24.270

Michael Palumbos: He's very generous. Yeah. And then he said, now you need to do me a favor and you need to meet john a and you need to join the purpose of planning Institute now is the first year of the john a was putting the planning Institute together.



00:50:25.020 --> 00:50:31.470

Michael Palumbos: Um, the book that I you know that's coming to mind for me is five dysfunctions of a team.



00:50:31.860 --> 00:50:41.880

Michael Palumbos: We're talking about family businesses and inside of the family business, you know, framework, you do have both family and non family, typically in many of the businesses that you know that we serve.



00:50:42.240 --> 00:50:52.950

Michael Palumbos: And I just think that you know what Patrick Clancy only put together as a nice model for making sure that they understand that, you know, inside the business that you have to form that bond of trust. There has to be



00:50:53.160 --> 00:51:04.470

Michael Palumbos: Trust that you know it's okay to have a dumb idea. It's okay to be wrong. It's okay to have, you know, it's fostering that trust what we call before that good conflict, right, Jane.



00:51:05.010 --> 00:51:11.400

Jane Beddall: Absolutely. And my thoughts go to the very basic. There are some wonderful theoretical books about conflict.



00:51:11.790 --> 00:51:20.190

Jane Beddall: What causes it, and some fairly abstract ideas that are brilliant. But that's not what I would recommend to families, I would be much more practical on that.



00:51:20.880 --> 00:51:39.480

Jane Beddall: And that's my bed. Frankly, I'm just, I prefer practical I prefer positive that's why my podcast is what it is. It's meant to be practical and positive. So I would just go back to the basic getting to yes it is an easy read it applies to so many types of conflict know is gonna be confused.



00:51:39.480 --> 00:51:41.100

Michael Palumbos: One more time. I'm sorry.



00:51:41.460 --> 00:51:42.900

Jane Beddall: Getting to Yes.



00:51:42.960 --> 00:51:49.860

Jane Beddall: Getting to Yes you do. The classic from way back when. Well, now I'm going to have my brain freeze right now.



00:51:49.890 --> 00:51:51.930

Jane Beddall: Of course I didn't know it is. And I can't think of his name.



00:51:52.830 --> 00:51:55.830

Jane Beddall: It's on the shelf behind me, but it's a



00:51:56.160 --> 00:52:03.060

Jane Beddall: It's been around for many years and it is helpful in that it is not complicated.



00:52:04.080 --> 00:52:21.300

Jane Beddall: And it applies to so many things so many situations, it would be conflict with your neighbor with the person you work with, with a family member with anyone at all. So that is one of the real beauties of course I would agree on both of the books that you folks have mentioned.



00:52:21.840 --> 00:52:23.940

Jane Beddall: And I think I think also



00:52:25.560 --> 00:52:35.970

Jane Beddall: I actually, I shouldn't go out on a limb like this, but I'm going to try anyway. The last I knew the family firm Institute's online publication called the practitioner.



00:52:36.450 --> 00:52:45.480

Jane Beddall: was open to non members and there are some interesting ideas there they're quite short articles. They're not terribly lengthy summer somewhat academic



00:52:46.080 --> 00:52:55.080

Jane Beddall: research oriented, but it's the sort of thing where someone could just dip in and take a look around and they're always being added more and more all the time.



00:52:56.970 --> 00:52:59.790

Michael Palumbos: Perfect author's name is Roger Fisher.



00:52:59.940 --> 00:53:00.990

Jane Beddall: And he



00:53:01.320 --> 00:53:01.650

Jane Beddall: Was like



00:53:02.490 --> 00:53:07.560

Jane Beddall: You know, it would come approximately 12 or 13 seconds after we finished. Thank you.



00:53:08.970 --> 00:53:19.620

Michael Palumbos: So we've got a few minutes left. I want to make sure that we dive into understanding you know who's going to benefit from a facilitated meeting.



00:53:20.910 --> 00:53:22.890

Michael Palumbos: And talk about that a little bit. If you would



00:53:24.990 --> 00:53:38.670

Susan Schoenfeld: So when I think about facilitated family meetings. I like to break it down into the traditional journalism, who, what, when, where, why, and how model because it really is a multi faceted conversation.



00:53:39.030 --> 00:53:50.160

Susan Schoenfeld: So I like to start with the why. Why is it important to have a facilitated family meeting. And as we talked about earlier, it's often not comfortable to discuss the family's wealth.



00:53:50.460 --> 00:54:07.590

Susan Schoenfeld: Particularly if there's a family business involved. But at the end of the day, they know more than you realize. We talked earlier about Jay Hughes and his, his famous expression, the shirt sleeves t shirt sleeves and three generations, the notion that



00:54:08.880 --> 00:54:17.490

Susan Schoenfeld: The first generation creates the wealth. The second generation has watched their parents, create the wealth and still has a sense of responsibility about it.



00:54:17.820 --> 00:54:26.490

Susan Schoenfeld: But they want to raise their children without the hardships that perhaps they were raised with and by the time they get to the third generation, they're back in shirtsleeves again because



00:54:27.390 --> 00:54:41.460

Susan Schoenfeld: Whether it's from estate taxes or from the dilution of having more more mouths to feed and more people spending the money or simply the, the lack of the fire in the belly.



00:54:42.240 --> 00:54:46.620

Susan Schoenfeld: By the time they're there at that third generation, it's largely all gone.



00:54:47.370 --> 00:54:57.000

Susan Schoenfeld: And so that's really why it's so important to talk about the wealth and to create and develop and define what your family's legacy is



00:54:57.690 --> 00:55:06.090

Susan Schoenfeld: The WHAT HAVE A FAMILY MEETING IS. THE IT CAN BE THE FAMILY HISTORY. It can be the history of how the wealth was created.



00:55:06.450 --> 00:55:19.440

Susan Schoenfeld: What it is not is the legal entities like the will, the trusts the charitable foundation those memorialize the legacy plan, but are not the family legacy statement itself.



00:55:20.220 --> 00:55:33.690

Susan Schoenfeld: The how a family meetings, as we said a professional facilitator may will ease the difficult conversations across the generations. It keeps everyone out of that sandbox behavior.



00:55:33.960 --> 00:55:42.180

Susan Schoenfeld: Of mom or dad loved you better and it keeps people more focused on what we're talking about today.



00:55:42.450 --> 00:55:58.800

Susan Schoenfeld: And and what I like to do is is start with creating rules of the road. So it might be, don't interrupt it might be no i rolling it might be no sarcasm or or slight glances it simple.



00:55:59.520 --> 00:56:10.860

Susan Schoenfeld: Make sure you turn off your cell phones is a good one. So, those sorts of rules of the road and having a professional facilitator there to hold people's feet to the fire and say,



00:56:12.120 --> 00:56:26.970

Susan Schoenfeld: No, we're not going to interrupt what what Sally is talking about. We're going to give her the the opportunity, and most importantly, making sure that everyone there gets a chance to participate, that one person doesn't dominate.



00:56:28.170 --> 00:56:43.770

Susan Schoenfeld: Typically matriarch or patriarch, and that the black sheep of the family still gets a voice and still gets an opportunity to be heard. Because at the end of the day, family meetings are really all about multi directional communication. So,



00:56:44.910 --> 00:56:53.820

Susan Schoenfeld: Very often in it. There's a developer, there's a deliverable which is a family constitution or family bylaws or family mission statement.



00:56:54.180 --> 00:57:00.240

Susan Schoenfeld: But at the end of the day, the real deliverable is the process itself. The real deliverable is the conversation.



00:57:01.140 --> 00:57:13.470

Susan Schoenfeld: The last two journalism points. The first one is, who, so who participates in the family meeting. Well, of course, that's up to the family members themselves typically



00:57:13.770 --> 00:57:25.170

Susan Schoenfeld: Families will say to me, well, it's our bloodline only it is my children and my grandchildren. But what I like to say to them is you know your



00:57:25.770 --> 00:57:38.670

Susan Schoenfeld: Children's spouses are the parents of your grandchildren. So if you leave them out of the discussion of what your family legacy is what your family's mission, vision and values are



00:57:39.060 --> 00:57:46.500

Susan Schoenfeld: Then what kind of values are being passed on to your grandchildren. If they don't have a hand in creating them.



00:57:46.890 --> 00:57:55.830

Susan Schoenfeld: Because ultimately, the biggest part of the who is invited is that, as I said, there needs to be multi directional communication.



00:57:56.070 --> 00:58:07.380

Susan Schoenfeld: So yes, while of course we're respecting the wishes of the matriarch and patriarch, we need to make sure we're involving every single person at that table in the conversations



00:58:07.950 --> 00:58:16.830

Susan Schoenfeld: And the last point is the when, when do you do family meetings. Well, of course, my answer is it's never too early and it's never too late.



00:58:17.760 --> 00:58:28.320

Susan Schoenfeld: When your kids are little you need to model your behavior because they're watching you need to create age appropriate teachable moments, but at the end of the day.



00:58:29.280 --> 00:58:41.760

Susan Schoenfeld: Some families like to do them quarterly some families do them annually and the family who thinks that it's one and done in my view is is really missing an opportunity to have a meaningful.



00:58:42.600 --> 00:58:59.550

Susan Schoenfeld: Event that the family can look forward to. I've actually seen families that in their estate planning documents have endowed a family meeting or a family vacation after they're gone. So that finances don't become a barrier to the family getting together at least once a year.



00:59:02.910 --> 00:59:10.620

Michael Palumbos: On that note, I'm going to come back to Jane, but I just want to share something real quick next week's episode I have Courtney pulling coming in.



00:59:11.130 --> 00:59:25.080

Michael Palumbos: And he's facilitating that conversation between my parents who that's there. So they have never. They have no idea what this is going to be like we met they met with Courtney for 30 minutes yesterday, just to say



00:59:25.440 --> 00:59:31.440

Michael Palumbos: You know, what are you trying to pull Michael, what's going on. Tell me about this stuff and what



00:59:32.160 --> 00:59:39.930

Michael Palumbos: What they're going to do is just talk about you know what's worked, what hasn't. And at the end of the 30 minutes that we just did with Courtney



00:59:40.500 --> 00:59:49.980

Michael Palumbos: My mother said, Oh, I'm so excited to do this. I felt like you and dad were beat you were ganging up on me when we did the estate plan, maybe we get a chance to do it all over. And I'm sitting there going,



00:59:50.430 --> 01:00:01.050

Michael Palumbos: Oh, that is not the way that this was supposed to, you know, to go but so we're doing. It's a petri dish. We have no idea what it's going to look like and what the conversation is going to be



01:00:01.350 --> 01:00:10.410

Michael Palumbos: And I told my parents. They get final say in terms of whether it gets broadcast or not. So if you want to hear it live would be the best way to do it, just in case that my mom says



01:00:10.680 --> 01:00:18.480

Michael Palumbos: No, you can't review, can't you can't put that out there. But it'll be fun. So speaking of facilitated family meetings and talking about the estate stuff.



01:00:19.140 --> 01:00:29.460

Michael Palumbos: Jane, take us out. Tell us a little bit about what was, you know, when you do family facilitated meetings. What do you see as the benefits and you know who benefits from doing this stuff and why



01:00:30.300 --> 01:00:41.610

Jane Beddall: Often things are said that we're not said at any other time and in part because people have not had an opportunity to be heard. There has been someone who'd been dominant sometimes someone who's been a bully.



01:00:42.270 --> 01:00:52.500

Jane Beddall: And people will say to me, well, how am I going to get my thoughts across. I haven't been able to do that for 40 years and I will explain. That's part of my job is to make sure that you can speak.



01:00:53.400 --> 01:01:02.370

Jane Beddall: When I say one final thing in the context of where we are today, which is we do do things virtually now and it's not all bad.



01:01:03.030 --> 01:01:18.570

Jane Beddall: I have had some experiences where family members had to say some very difficult things and clearly it was easier for them to say them through a screen then if they had been in the same room.



01:01:21.390 --> 01:01:25.710

Michael Palumbos: It's powerful. It really is. You know, it's, I say to people all the time.



01:01:26.730 --> 01:01:36.390

Michael Palumbos: You know coven has taught us all a lot of things, you know, we don't like the seclusion. We don't like a lot of the the distancing and, you know, things that come with this.



01:01:36.750 --> 01:01:46.860

Michael Palumbos: But we have all. Hopefully not. Not everybody. Hopefully you've learned some things and you found the positives inside of here this podcast wouldn't exist if it wasn't for coven



01:01:47.340 --> 01:02:04.530

Michael Palumbos: I wanted to serve the families that you know that we see and wanted to add value to their lives to bring you know more thing, you know, more information to them, especially during this time, especially during this time and you know so we we started it, um,



01:02:06.030 --> 01:02:11.670

Michael Palumbos: How do people contact you if they want to contact you, Jane. Would you share me. I mean, do you mind sharing your website or



01:02:11.670 --> 01:02:19.830

Jane Beddall: Worse. Of course I'm easy to find on LinkedIn, but you do have to spell my name correctly, it's Jane battle. It's B ed ed a LL



01:02:20.250 --> 01:02:26.370

Jane Beddall: My company is dovetail resolutions and through that I offer mediation and ongoing relationships and conflict coaching.



01:02:26.910 --> 01:02:38.970

Jane Beddall: My podcast is called crafting solutions to conflict, it comes out weekly episode 84 I believe is the one that came out last week and you can find that on all the major apps or on its own dedicated website.



01:02:40.500 --> 01:02:43.110

Michael Palumbos: Great, Susan, how do people get a hold of you.



01:02:43.590 --> 01:03:00.060

Susan Schoenfeld: So my my company is wealth legacy advisors. So my website is www W el ae l l see calm as in wealth legacy advisors LLC. So, W la LLC com



01:03:00.720 --> 01:03:07.950

Susan Schoenfeld: And that website is dedicated to my consulting business helping families and family offices and family businesses.



01:03:08.340 --> 01:03:28.860

Susan Schoenfeld: With as I like to call it the issues that keep people up at night. In addition to that, I have a separate website for my speaking my public speaking. And that's just my name is Susan Schoenfeld com so su si en este si h o e n f e el de com perfect



01:03:29.460 --> 01:03:44.700

Michael Palumbos: I'm gonna, you know, I appreciate everybody coming and joining us today. This has been great. I'm norm. No, I didn't take any time to allow people to ask any questions, but we've got the recording piece of the done you know done for the podcast.



01:03:45.720 --> 01:03:54.690

Michael Palumbos: Peter Ralph if either of you have any questions that you would like to pose to Susan Jane or myself, feel free to unmute yourself and



01:03:55.800 --> 01:03:56.760

Michael Palumbos: Ask a question.



01:03:57.240 --> 01:03:58.860

Ralph Ercolano: Thanks. I'm all set. Thank you.



01:03:59.550 --> 01:04:00.450

Michael Palumbos: Thanks for all



01:04:02.100 --> 01:04:12.210

Peter DiLaura: I do have a question, I would just like to ask, you know, we're a 30 year family business original owner with two sons in the business and one daughter who's not



01:04:13.590 --> 01:04:24.840

Peter DiLaura: And any advice you have in regards to the one who is not right. What, what did they get out of it. Because as the as the business grows in the



01:04:25.290 --> 01:04:37.350

Peter DiLaura: In the finances stake in the company. Right. How do you try to get that out in order to again hand down to, to the to the person who's not in the business.



01:04:39.960 --> 01:04:48.630

Susan Schoenfeld: It's a real challenge. It is it is far from a unique challenges you can imagine, Peter, the



01:04:49.230 --> 01:04:56.490

Susan Schoenfeld: The issue of course is that the wealth is tied up in the family business. So I'm guessing that you don't have an equal amount



01:04:56.760 --> 01:05:07.500

Susan Schoenfeld: That you can leave to your daughter who's not involved in the family business. One way I have seen families navigate this and it's relatively low tech, but it actually works quite well.



01:05:07.830 --> 01:05:15.810

Susan Schoenfeld: Is through life insurance so that the children who are active in the family business. Get the business and they don't have



01:05:16.230 --> 01:05:22.770

Susan Schoenfeld: Necessarily the to deal with the interference of their sibling who has a purely financial interest.



01:05:23.370 --> 01:05:31.950

Susan Schoenfeld: But perhaps a non voting interest in the business and and so you can equalize your daughter through life insurance, it's, it's not fancy. It's not sexy.



01:05:32.370 --> 01:05:47.850

Susan Schoenfeld: But it, it certainly is one way to approach it another way, as I alluded to is to issue non voting stock to your daughter so that she can't per se interfere in the business, but she has a financial interest in the business.



01:05:48.720 --> 01:06:10.230

Susan Schoenfeld: But that that breeds a lot of discontentment and a lot of dissent, because you've got your sons who are in the business feeling like they're they're doing all the work. And she's getting all the money. So there's that. That's not necessarily the optimal approach my my solution is either



01:06:12.060 --> 01:06:20.310

Susan Schoenfeld: Life insurance or some sort of other buyout situation so that they are not in business together after you're gone.



01:06:21.060 --> 01:06:30.120

Peter DiLaura: Yeah, we have right and and that's kind of where we're we're leaning towards assets and insurance going one direction.



01:06:32.490 --> 01:06:45.720

Peter DiLaura: Which seems to be the easiest way to work it out. The other thing, though, as far as a non voting share being able to put stock out there that if the business was ever sold, they would get part of it.



01:06:47.460 --> 01:06:56.040

Susan Schoenfeld: Without a doubt, that's, that's certainly one way to make sure that your daughter who is not active in the business reaps that reward.



01:06:57.090 --> 01:07:09.060

Susan Schoenfeld: I will tell you that I have seen that backfire too though because your sons who are active in the business may resent the fact that their sister is getting a payday based on their efforts.



01:07:10.530 --> 01:07:10.830

Peter DiLaura: Yeah.



01:07:11.310 --> 01:07:12.150

Peter DiLaura: Peter, welcome.



01:07:12.570 --> 01:07:14.340

Peter DiLaura: Comes back to communication. Right.



01:07:14.730 --> 01:07:15.330

Susan Schoenfeld: Oh, yes.



01:07:15.570 --> 01:07:16.170

Oh, yeah.



01:07:18.120 --> 01:07:24.660

Michael Palumbos: Peter, one of the things that, you know, my father did when we went through the transition because I was the one that was in the business.



01:07:25.170 --> 01:07:39.030

Michael Palumbos: And i three siblings that are not. Um, and he made me by the business so I you know I I write him a check when he retired and I think I have six left right now.



01:07:40.590 --> 01:07:53.730

Michael Palumbos: And it was, it was really good for me and I to do that because his wealth, you know, couldn't be tied up in the business. And there's no reason for him to just give it to me when there's three other kids.



01:07:55.200 --> 01:08:03.600

Michael Palumbos: And in York circumstance, with two verses one want you know one of the things that I just did with another family that's just creative idea for is we used



01:08:04.050 --> 01:08:15.750

Michael Palumbos: The, the, the boy, the kids that were in the business. They were the ones that paid for the life insurance policy on mom and dad as part of the bio



01:08:16.230 --> 01:08:17.160

Peter DiLaura: Sure, sure.



01:08:17.250 --> 01:08:18.870

Michael Palumbos: Little, little creative



01:08:19.020 --> 01:08:19.560




01:08:21.060 --> 01:08:25.680

Jane Beddall: Nothing dad, except that talking ahead of time prevents the conflict that comes later.



01:08:26.430 --> 01:08:26.730

Peter DiLaura: Right.



01:08:27.330 --> 01:08:27.720

Susan Schoenfeld: And and



01:08:28.080 --> 01:08:37.380

Susan Schoenfeld: One other thing I would add is if you because you've got two sons who are active in the business. Make sure they have a buy, sell agreement.



01:08:37.950 --> 01:08:38.700

Peter DiLaura: Yeah, we do.



01:08:38.760 --> 01:09:01.590

Susan Schoenfeld: Clean themselves because when siblings get involved in business with each other. There's a lot of potential, not today or tomorrow, but at some point in the future that that can get very ugly, so make sure they have an open discussion and a buy, sell agreement that perhaps



01:09:01.620 --> 01:09:09.750

Susan Schoenfeld: Goes beyond your generation and and looks to the future of the business when they are they are the sole owners.



01:09:09.780 --> 01:09:10.530




01:09:11.790 --> 01:09:21.390

Susan Schoenfeld: One day, one of them's going to want to retire or get bought out and the best time to negotiate that is when you don't know which one is the one getting bought out



01:09:21.840 --> 01:09:25.080

Peter DiLaura: Yeah. Right. Right. Great. Well, thank you very much.



01:09:25.320 --> 01:09:26.370

Peter DiLaura: Great conversation.



01:09:26.760 --> 01:09:28.350

Michael Palumbos: Thanks for joining us, Creator.



01:09:29.340 --> 01:09:40.290

Michael Palumbos: Jane, Susan, thank you both. You were awesome really loved having you with us today. And again, tune in next week when we'll have Courtney Pullen



01:09:40.800 --> 01:09:55.920

Michael Palumbos: And I'll actually in. We're going to be turning over to Courtney to facilitate because I'm part of the family. So I'm kind of that in between. It'll be a really potentially very interesting conversation. I'm nervous and excited at the same time. So we'll see how that goes with my parents.



01:09:56.310 --> 01:09:57.090

Jane Beddall: seems appropriate



01:09:59.070 --> 01:10:01.290

Michael Palumbos: Thank you all have a wonderful week



01:10:01.500 --> 01:10:02.760

Susan Schoenfeld: Thank you. Thanks for having us.



01:10:03.780 --> 01:10:04.380

Michael Palumbos: Take care.

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Michael Palumbos is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker/dealer (member SIPC) and registered investment advisor. Insurance offered through Lincoln affiliates and other fine companies. Family Wealth & Legacy, LLC is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. and its representatives do not provide legal or tax advice. You may want to consult a legal or tax advisor regarding any legal or tax information as it relates to your personal circumstances.