During the holiday season, we often take time together with family and reflect on the year as it comes to a close. As we have all gotten a year older, this can also be a time to talk with older parents and other family members about the management of assets going into the future. Especially for those who are founders of a family-owned business, this can be an opportune time to start talking about the what and how of asset management and estate planning.
People resist change, so these conversations can be particularly challenging. There are different levels of resistance, including the problem level of resistance (“There is no problem,” “There is a problem, but it isn’t the one you see,” or “The problem is outside of my control,” etc.), the solution level of resistance (“We agree on the problem but disagree on the direction or details of the solution,” “The solution has too many negative consequences to be doable,” etc.), and the implementation level of resistance (“There is no good way to implement the solution,” “The solution is too risky,” etc.). Additionally, there may also be resistance on a social or psychological level, spoken as “We don’t do it that way here” or “I don’t think so”.
For each level, there are different sets of questions you can ask to help overcome that resistance. Here are some questions that can help you start this conversation: