Last weekend my oldest son was home for a visit. He is a student at Furman University in Greenville, SC. With him was his girlfriend, an appealing young woman whom he met freshman year at Furman. She asked me what kind of work I do. Before I could answer, my son said, "Dad helps people with their predicaments."
Although I would not have thought to answer the question that way, my son is right. As my business partner, Amy Renkert-Thomas, likes to say, we help families get "un-stuck" when it comes to making decisions together about assets they own in common. Often they become stuck as the business grows, becomes more complicated, and is worth more. What started as an idea is now a big operation. At the same time their family increases in number. There are more bodies, more people involved (both family and non-family), maybe more family members who want to work in the enterprise. The old ways of getting things done do not quite work any more. More is involved, more is on the line.
Other times, families call us because they want to avoid repeating problems from the past. They saw how a previous generation or another household ran into trouble with some aspect of the business, or didn't get along, or even became embroiled in a lawsuit. They don't want that for themselves and their children.
In still other cases, families call us because they need an "ear" - someone to help them frame up a decision-making or succession plan they have been thinking about for a while and haven't got around to implementing. Maybe the implementation is tricky. Maybe they're not sure how others will react. Maybe it will take time. They need someone to help make sure it happens.
Are these situations "predicaments"? For those who find themselves in them, yes, they can be.
So if you find yourself stuck, you know who to call.