Generational Succession Systems Help Sustain Family Core Values
Below are the eight areas of a legacy planning estate plan that create a strong and healthy structure upon which your family can build long-term success:
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Family Generational Succession System
1. Family Education
Educational trusts can ensure that all deserving born and unborn family members are able to be educated regardless of monetary status. Family universities are programs designed by the family to share values, information, relationships, skills, and comradely with younger members.
For many families, education is a primary value. Educational trusts support this value by protecting funds from waste by future generations so that they are available for education. Private school, private college and university attendance and advanced degrees may be provided.
Some families have designed their own family universities to support heir preparedness, the transition of values, and development of personal mission and accomplishment.
- Protect funds from mistakes, family infighting, and heir unpreparedness
- Provide peace of mind to deserving descendants that college and advanced education are provided
- Ensure that future heirs understand your faith, hope, and love for them and hear your voice
- Focus on heir capabilities, family capital, and the development of family cooperation
2. Family Philanthropy
This often begins simply when the family, together, gives of their time and money to express family values. A formal program may develop to maximize tax benefits or engage under numbers of family members. All families with successful generational systems of success have substantial philanthropy programs.
Family philanthropy serves many purposes. Philanthropy focuses participants on adding value to the world. Families who teach this from one generation to the next find that everyone benefits from this experience, that family values are instilled by philanthropic practices, and valuable education is acquired in learning to give wisely.
- Fosters an attitude of gratitude
- Heirs learn family values while focusing on others
- Teaches money management skills
- Introduces family members to the community through constructive leadership channels
3. Family History & Resources
Family history and resources usually begin simply and can be of any size and type. Everything from family recipes and cures to a health and readiness library, to family history, keepsakes, photos and :recordings may be included. Hard drive backups are recommended to paper copies, stored off-site.
"These objects of material culture now hold much more than sentimental, aesthetic, and monetary value for me. Knowing their provenance have given me a deeper connection to my family's past along with stories of ho,pe and hardship to pass along to my sons. I better understand where I am from and now see the larger pattern of our family’s geographic dispersal over time. My immediate family extends from Connecticut to California and from Minnesota to New Orleans with Ohio and 1llinois in the heartland. And now the artifacts of our collective past are scattered ever more widely. No wonder family memories fade and disappear.
But beyond its family value, the combination of heirlooms, photographs, and letters form the basis of a wider exploration into a hundred-year period of American history. The story has a natural coherence more compelling than any narrative structure that I might impose... about one thing I am certain; the two worlds I used to inhabit -- the world of libraries and archives and the world of family -- are not so far apart after all."
Martha L. Brogan
Family Values, Lessons in Material Culture, Part III"
4. Family Reunions
Family reunions and properties may be big or small. Many families pass on time shares and vacation homes to children in. trust with resources to ensure maintenance. Systems for maintenance and use are critical. Most fami1ies make an effort to bond the family with an .experience which connects who they are with what is important.
To give the family a place to come together, share, and enjoy their relationships and/or to provide individual family members with a place for rest and reflection grounded in family values.
- Security that the family has a place
- Connection with tradition and values
5. Family Financial Health
Family financial health is often protected in private banks, trusts or other entities designed to male loans and grants to deserving family members who submit applications. This kind of entity never supports entitlement distributions, in contrast to other trusts.
The bank's purpose is to support the growth of the family’s human capital. Family banks bring discipline, educational services, and access to the family in ways that generally grow equity in developing generations. Many families make the bank a centerpiece of personal development for younger persons, the payment of private, university and professional educations, opportunity financing, and for special needs that do not enable dependencies.
- More efficient investment of financial assets for greater returns
- Income and estate tax minimization or avoidance structures
- Change jurisdictions for asset protection as needed
- Infinitely customizable, can provide support for beneficiaries' special needs, and can divide into separate entities as separate family groups desire
6. Family Values
Family governance reflects family values and brings the right people together at the right time to discuss the right (important) things. It also measures the outcomes.
To generate a sense of direction, values to live and work by, and well-understood and accepted policies that tell family members how they should behave or what they should do in certain circumstances.
Governance pursues, as its mission, the personal health, happiness, growth, independence, and success of every family member.
Ensures each participant is heard. Provides structure and ground rules for thinking about:
- Decisions and project management techniques with follow-up and monitoring
- Communication and trust-building
- Risk avoidance and opportunity capture
7. Family Information and Enterprise
A Story of Intelligent Design -- The Rothschild Story
Two hundred years ago, Mayer Amschel Rothschild, a banker in Germany, asked each of his five sons to move to the five main financial capital centers of Europe for the purpose of forming a bank. Each son was loaned initial capital, charged at a lower rate of interest, allowed to earn all of the profits, and required to repay the loans, so that future family borrowers would have the means to pursue new opportunities.
Meyer showed his boys that an arrow could easily be broken, but a bundle of arrows could not. He urged them to work together and provided ways to do this. Understanding the value of intellectual capital, Meyer required, as an additional interest for each loan, that his sons continually advise him of what was happening in their businesses and the financial centers where they were located. This sharing of information gave the Rothschilds a bank of valuable knowledge to assist one another, and it quickly distanced them from their competitors.
Beginning with this advantage and complementing it through development of important relationships throughout the world, the Rothschilds continue to work together as a family. Combining the importance of intellectual capital with intelligent design and cooperation continues to provide significant advantages to astute families.
8. Expressions of Faith, Hope, and Love
Careful Investments for 100 Years -- The Fuggers
Everyday, retired florist Rita Wunderle prays for souls of bankers. Her 145 neighbors pray, too. Mrs. Wunderle lives in the Fuggerei, a Roman Catholic housing settlement for the poor that Jakob Fugger "The Rich" built in this southern German city nearly 500 years ago, in 1520. The walled Fuggerei, with its picturesque lanes and seven gates in the heart of the onetime European banking capital, still stands.
Praying for Mr. Fugger and his descendants to enter the Pearly Gates is a condition for living here, at an annual rent of 1 Rhein guilder, the same as in 1520. In today's money, that's 8.8 euro cents, or about $1.23. The poor who live there promise to say three prayers -- the Lord's Prayer, Hail Mary, and the Apostles' Creed -- each day to boost the celestial ambition of the Fuggers. "I don't exactly have the best thoughts when it comes to bankers," says Mrs. Wunderle. The Fuggers, though, are an exception for whom she prays heartily.
The family charitable trust has been careful in its investments. Most revenue for the upkeep of the Fuggerei comes from old family holdings, which became a staple investment for the Fuggers in the late 17th century after they got burned on higher-yielding but riskier financing ventures. Alexander Fugger-Babenhausen, a descendant of Jakob the Rich, expects soon to replace his father -- Prince Hubertus Fugger-Babenhausen -- on the Fuggerei trust's board. The 27-year old Harvard graduate recently, returned to Augsburg after stints in London with Morgan Stanley and private-equity firm TPG. He says he lost a small bundle on Washington Mutual shares a1ong the way.
The recent financial meltdown has been "a good reality-check," says the younger Mr. Fugger-Babenhausen over buttered pretzels at his family's hilltop castle, itself burned and pillaged over the centuries. "I'm not thinking I can reinvent the wheel."
Adapted from Mike Esterl story, The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 28, 2008
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