Family Wealth Transition Group

High-net-worth families often find themselves faced with a bewildering array of challenging decisions regarding the distribution and investment of their assets, and possibly the future transition or disposition of a family business.

Making these decisions requires the involvement of a host of advisors – legal, accounting, banking, investment, insurance. Typically, these advisors operate within their own silos, and communication among them is limited. As a result, the burden of integrating their input and making balanced decisions falls to the parents, who may or may not have the needed knowledge or full information.

Moreover, the knowledge and skills needed to prepare parents and heirs for the transfer of wealth and assumption of responsibility have traditionally not received the same emphasis as other areas such as taxation, investment or philanthropy. In such cases, family cohesion and control of its assets are at risk. As many as two-thirds of high-net-worth families fail to prepare their children and grandchildren for the transfer of wealth, resulting in a loss of family opportunities and a waste of resources.

The Family Wealth Transitions Group at Lagerlof, Senecal, Gosney & Kruse is a multidisciplinary team of attorneys whose mission is to help high-net-worth families achieve a smooth transition of assets from one generation to the next, while protecting and securing the wealth that the family has created. Our goal is to maximize value for our clients and assure the continued success of the family endeavors. Specific services include:

  • Clarify and assess the needs and interests of the family and, if relevant, the family business.
  • Identify key issues to be addressed and develop goals and strategies to protect and enhance the value that already exists.
  • Guide the family to adopt an overall structure and assign key roles that will contribute to effective management and ongoing vitality of the business and/or other family endeavors.
  • Guide the development of an estate planning strategy that is integrated with the transition process and designed to minimize taxes and inconvenience.

The centerpiece of this program is the Family Legacy Plan, which enhances understanding and insight and guides the family in creating a more meaningful legacy. Using structured data gathering and facilitated discussion, the planning process encourages an exchange of values, ideas, desires and intentions, clarifies the family dynamics, surfaces key issues and creates alignment among family members behind a common vision, mission, values and goals.

Once in place, the Family Legacy Plan serves as a canopy under which input from other advisors can be better integrated. The plan fosters greater confidence in decisions and guards against surprises or problems down the road by involving all relevant family members in the process and promoting consensus on key issues and objectives.

William F. Kruse, managing partner of the firm, heads the Family Wealth Transition Group.  He is also on the faculty of the Institute for Preparing Heirs.  The following short video includes excerpts from his presentation at a training program for family advisors sponsored by the Institute.

Learn more about the Family Wealth Transition Group: