Transferring family wealth from one generation to the next involves much more than just the legal act of transferring property. Above all, it presents an emotional challenge for the asset owners and for younger generations.
Assets, and the responsibility for them, are transferred together with accompanying expectations and requirements. The distribution of wealth is associated with implicit and explicit messages from all parties. For example:
- “The company has to stay in the family!”
- “Don’t disappoint me!”
- “Your brother/sister can do that better than you!”
- “We’ve never done that before!”
- “We’ve always done that!”
- “But I’ll still have the last word”
If the value judgments and traditions contained in these messages have not been properly and professionally worked through within the family, they will lead to insults, disappointments, guilty consciences and strife during the lifetime of the current asset owner or upon their death. This is how family ties are broken and family assets are destroyed.