CASE STUDY : The Inheritance Conversation

Telling Heirs How Much They Will Inherit Can Be Tricky

The daughters of this family discovered via a national magazine that their father was one of the wealthiest men in their country. While the parents were able to convince their children that although fortunate, they were not nearly as “rich” as the magazine implied. It also made them realize how unprepared they were to have the inheritance conversation with their children. Were they ready to hear it? Were they ready it receive it? What could they count on?

Solution (Step 1)

The first step was to design and hold a facilitated family gathering. Taking the time to guide each family member through a personal exploration of his or her individual values, needs, and personal thoughts around wealth, was crucial to the success of the family gathering. The daughters went from “Why are we doing this? Who is she? How much does this cost?”…to speaking publicly about the benefits of the family gathering. Some of their feedback included:

  • “This was great. It was the first time our family had a serious conversation.”
  • “It helped us get to know and understand our siblings differently.”
  • “It’s wonderful having our vision and mission clearly defined and displayed at our home and office. When people walk in the door, they know exactly who we are and for what we stand.”

As a result of the family gathering, the parents were pleased to discover that their daughters had a healthy perspective on the impact and meaning of wealth in their lives. It laid the groundwork for the parents to design how and when they would begin the inheritance conversations.