When a family member contacts me to talk about how I might be able to help with a family conflict over money or a business or a related problem, the person is often surprised to learn that their family is not unusual in facing such problems. (Trusted advisors who contact me to see if I can help a client aren’t generally surprised by the conflict — though they may be surprised to find that there are people like me available to help prevent and resolve these disputes.) In fact, sometimes the conversation will turn in a direction so familiar to me that I will be able to help the other person find the words to describe what is happening. Then, I may be greeted with: “Has someone else in my family contacted you?!”
The answer to that question has always been “no”, but the important point is that families should take comfort in the fact that they aren’t alone: lots of families have similar struggles. And, just as important to know: there are options beyond scorched earth litigation or giving up and deciding to live with emotional and financial stress. Family wealth mediation and family business mediation can help to prevent some problems, minimize others, and resolve those that remain.