Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, August 4, 2014

The "Whys" of Wealth


Failure to transfer money to, and beyond, the third generation, rarely results from the original wealth owners’ neglect to build an estate plan.  Nor does the failure stem from the fact that wealth is dissipated by being passed into the hands of a larger group of individuals.  Rather, it has to do with “the business of the family.”  This is how a family makes decisions together, how they communicate about significant topics, and how they prepare for future generations.  Alternatively, how a family prepares itself for their assets, instead of focusing on preparing assets for the family. 

Services offered by family offices vary greatly.  Family offices that provide education begin to address the business of the family.  Although there is more room for growth of family education programs that address the business of the family, the greater opportunity for family offices is to help their client-families know their “why.”  Family office leaders who want to inspire action in their clients need to help them clearly articulate their “whys.” 

Wealth, in the form of money, property and other assets, is our financial capital.  Formal and informal education contributes to our intellectual capital, social capital refers to the resources found in personal and professional networks, and individual gifts and passions make up our human capital.  Yet it is our spiritual capital where we come upon our “why.”  Spiritual capital is made up of our core values, purposes, faiths and legacy goals.  Spiritual capital balances out the complicating impacts of wealth and at the very least sets families in line with what matters most to them. 

See Richard Orlando, Preparing for the Assets, Wealth Management, July 31, 2014.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.


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