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Family Governance – Where to Start? (Part 2)

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The journey of developing family governance can be intimidating. The term itself may sound like a paradox because why would a family need formal rules and policies? Doesn’t family embody the notion of informality? The concept of governance is often associated with business organizations or political systems, circumstances where persons or groups are by and large unrelated by blood or familial relationships. In order to have an efficiently run business or government, serving the interests of all its members and constituents, people expect a governance system to be in place. On the other hand, families generally exist with parents having full control until a child comes of age, begins to care for himself, and the process is repeated when the child starts his own nuclear family. Most families don’t need formal rules because family scripts often prescribe family interaction and behavior.[1] This may be of unnoticeable consequence to most families, but when millions of dollars are at stake in combination with a multitude of stakeholders, family scripts fail to address long term challenges associated with significant family wealth and in some cases may even be detrimental to it. Thus, if one accepts that family governance becomes a necessity, where do you start?

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