Michael Zeuner Discusses UHNW Wealth Transfer Challenges and Solutions with the Jewish Communal Fund
December 2, 2020
While no two families are exactly alike, many ultra-high-net-worth families find common ground in their struggle to successfully transfer wealth and values to the next generation. To better understand these wealth transfer challenges, and the best practices to overcome them, the Jewish Communal Fund (JCF) spoke with WE Family Offices Managing Partner Michael Zeuner for their recent report entitled, Bridging the Generational Divide.
One of the leading obstacles blocking a successful transfer of wealth mentioned by the study is the control exerted by family leaders, which often blocks members of the next generation from being included in planning conversations. To circumvent this issue, Zeuner recommends not focusing solely on personal visions but also on how best to ensure the long-term survival and health of the family’s wealth enterprise.
“Those who think about managing the wealth like a well-run business (a wealth enterprise) tend to have more success and retain family wealth in the next generation,” said Zeuner. “The advisor who can create a plan and engage the entire family, not just the wealth creator, is most likely to continue with that family.”
Another aspect that often impacts the generational wealth transfer process is values. More specifically, while the values among family members may be similar, different generations seem to prioritize and manifest them differently.
“Values seem to play a greater role in influencing the matriarchs’ and younger generations’ decisions about investments, and they are more inclined to make social impact investments,” explained Zeuner. “They understand that you can be socially responsible and have good returns, and that they are in fact connected.”
In addition to the control exerted by family leaders and differing values, the study also discovered other obstacles often experienced by UHNW families during generational wealth transfers. These include poor communication among family members, lack of clarity around family roles, insufficient training in managing family members and an absence of trust. Fortunately, a qualified and experienced family office company can help navigate these challenges and ensure a successful transfer of wealth for generations to come.