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Difficult Discussions with Family Members and Conflict Resolution – Post 3

Nov 11, 2017

Marie Arrigo, summit chair, EisnerAmper tax partner and co-leader of the firm’s Family Office Services Practice, moderated an interactive workshop presented by Michael Rosenthal and Zachary Metz of the Consensus Group, a New York City-based global consulting firm specializing in collaborative relationship management, “Difficult Discussions with Family Members and Conflict Resolution.” Through role-playing, the speakers demonstrated how to engage in meaningful conversations in ways that protect family relationships and yield positive outcomes.

The exercise demonstrated how the current patriarch should communicate with his twenty year-old son regarding the son’s desire to invest a small portion of his inheritance in what his father perceived to be a risky investment.  The father engaged in an age-appropriate dialogue to seek transparency in his son’s plan, show support for the pursuit of his dreams and his commitment to this venture. The role-players exhibited how to achieve transparency, instill the desire and ability in the son to establish goals; prompt the son to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the structuring of this investment (loan vs. investment), and guide the patriarch on how to achieve his conversational goals while showing respect and understanding to his son, yet still maintain a sense of control by educating his son through his life experiences.

The role-playing supported the advocacy/bridging/inquiry methodology of difficult conversations.  Advocacy to show support and to understand the goals of the son while also educating the father on the son’s commitment and desire to make this decision; bridging, finding the balance in the dialogue and an understanding of each other’s goals; and inquiry, information gathering by the father regarding the son’s thought process and the importance of this investment decision while also prompting his son to understand how and why his father had concerns for his decision.

In many instances, family members do not know how to broach difficult topics or do so without the requisite skills to positively engage each other; often, they opt to avoid them altogether -- all of which can do irreparable harm to familial relationships. The workshop demonstrated the approach, the thought process and the skills necessary to establish a meaningful dialogue between father and son while gaining insight to each other’s position and maintaining each other’s respect.

Private Wealth & Family Office Summit Series

The Next Generation of Philanthropy - Post 1
Family Business Succession Planning - Post 2
Difficult Discussions with Family Members and Conflict Resolution - Post 3
Up, Up and Away:  All You Need to Know about Private Aviation - Post 4

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James A. Jacaruso, Jr.

James A. Jacaruso Jr. is a Private Client Services Group Director with more than 25 years of tax compliance and planning experience focusing on personal and fiduciary income taxation, gift taxation and wealth transfer planning.

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