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The Value of a Family Meeting

As our families gather in the coming week to celebrate Thanksgiving, we wanted to share our best practices on a different type of family gathering: the family meeting.


Clear communication between the whole family is vital to preserving your family’s legacy. When implemented correctly, structured family meetings provide an opportunity for all generations to create a vision for the future and learn about the family’s history and assets.

Family meetings should be thoughtfully planned to fit the specific needs of your family. Agendas should be curated ahead of time and distributed prior to the meeting. Agendas help set the intention to transfer knowledge and prepare family members to discuss and align on important subjects. Suggested conversation topics include:


· Family values

· Responsibilities of a family member

· Family decision making

· Updates on the family’s assets

· Succession planning

· Education for future generations

· Role of a spouse


Families who consider meaningful topics one at a time and hold regular meetings, see lasting results. Some families meet yearly, while other choose to meet more frequently.


Family meetings give families a chance to work together to achieve powerful results. Successful meetings require commitment and participation from everyone. Occasionally difficult conversations will arise and knowing that your family has committed to being present and actively participating in the conversation allows for collaboration through the tough stuff.


A neutral facilitator can be especially helpful to families who want to undertake this type of work. A neutral party can help establish a culture of respect and cooperation within meetings. At Pacific Trust Company, we help our clients identify meaningful topics and plan, execute, and facilitate their family meetings. We help ensure that the family meeting is furthering the agenda of each family and does not become an activity without an outcome.


At Pacific Trust Company, our belief is that family meetings set the framework and expectation for families to be collaborative, productive, and successful for generations to come. We’ve seen firsthand how clarity around important subjects can have a meaningful, lasting impact on the whole family.


“The family meeting Pacific Trust hosted for me, my wife and children really drove home to my whole family how good of a choice Pacific Trust is for us.” – Pacific Trust Company Client

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