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Understanding your family’s requirements starts with understanding the right questions to ask.

Does your family share a vision for the family wealth?

Families who develop a shared vision for wealth are generally much more successful than others at passing on the legacy for future generations. Every family member needs to recognise their role.

What are your ambitions and concerns for the family business?

The family business is frequently far more than a financial asset, but the objectives and benefits of ownership need to be defined and balanced against the risks.

Are there other assets which depend heavily on your personal expertise?

Many business owners make investments which depend heavily on their own expertise, contacts and influence. Passing on such assets requires particularly careful thought and preparation.

Is there an agreed framework for family decision making?

Successful management of collectively held assets usually requires collective decision making which is seen to be fair and to support agreed objectives and values.

How are you preparing those who will inherit?

As well as the upbringing, education, experience and confidence to take over, they each need to understand and accept their expectations and responsibilities.

Have you discussed the practicalities of the transition?

It is usually advisable for the next generation to understand what is expected of them well in advance, and to be involved in developing a joint plan for the transition.

What values do you want to instil in future generations?

Whilst allowing individuals full scope for individual fulfilment, most families want to pass on a collective culture and values, which guide family decisions.

Do you want your wealth to promote good causes?

It is common for families to set up philanthropic foundations to support their preferred causes, but also as a means of passing on family values and encouraging family members to work together towards a common purpose.

What are the risks to your family and your family’s long-term wealth?

Identifying and prioritising the key risks to long-term wealth preservation can be an illuminating and valuable exercise. The biggest risks are not always the most obvious ones.