Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Article on Advising Family Businesses in the Twenty-First Century: An Introduction to Stage 4 Planning(R) Strategies

062913_istock_parents_fighting_600Scott E. Friedman, Andrea H. HusVar, & Eliza P. Friedman recently published an Article entitled, Advising Family Businesses in the Twenty-First Century: An Introduction to Stage 4 Planning(R) Strategies, 65 Buff. L. Rev. 425 (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

Beyond what these inherently imprecise statistics and anecdotal published reports reveal is the tragic human toll taken as a result of family business dysfunction: parents, children, and siblings who no longer talk to each other, sometimes as a result of intra-family litigation, sometimes, in our experience, even as a result of physical altercations and fisticuffs. These disputes inevitably spill over and impact non-family employees and the broader community. Indeed, we suspect that any attorney who works with family businesses on a regular basis has his or her own personal experience involving family business dysfunction and crisis.

In spite of endless seminars, articles, websites, and other information designed to help families in business together, not much has changed. Far too many families, many of whom expend substantial resources designed to secure them the most advanced contemporary planning techniques, continue to experience dysfunction, and the "failure statistics" cited above appear to remain as predictable as they are consistent. The legal profession's failure to develop new and improved planning strategies is particularly troubling given the typically critical role such strategies play in counseling family business clients. This Article begins by describing historical planning strategies, which we refer to as Stage 1, Stage 2, and Stage 3, and then introduces a new planning paradigm based on the application of new insights from social neuroscience and positive psychology to family business planning, what we refer to as Stage 4 Planning(R).


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