The COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll on U.S. businesses, as well as on the economic, physical and psychological well-being of everyone living through it. No sector is immune, including family offices. So, it’s no surprise that many of the articles in our High-Net-Worth Families & Family Offices Committee Report focus on how family offices are adapting to this new reality and the lessons they’ve learned from dealing with it. For example, according to Jonathan Carroll, Catherine Fankhauser and Robert A. Stover, Jr., in their article “How Family Offices Navigate Disruption,” p. 54, family offices with a structured business approach and risk management that included contingency plans were more resilient when the pandemic abruptly closed normal operations. And, in “Reinventing Family Enterprise After the Pandemic,” p. 39, Dennis T. Jaffe provides tools for how family enterprises—small and large family businesses and financial entities like family offices—can reinvent themselves and emerge from the upheaval. Other issues discussed in the Committee Report include how the pandemic has changed the way family offices approach philanthropy, how to talk about the taboo topic of money, the “Inheritance Effect” (that is, the consequences that can arise from inheriting business wealth rather than earning it through personal investment or sweat equity) and what the family office of the future will look like.
During this time of uncertainty, individuals of all wealth levels may find themselves thinking about estate planning and what items of tangible personal property they might want to leave to members of their families. As “Division of Tangible Personal Property,” p. 25, by Sandra D. Glazier reveals, these decisions can cause distress. She provides 12 different scenarios that illustrate the various complexities that may arise and how to avoid them.