As a family’s wealth grows, their portfolio of assets often expands to include vacation properties, private planes, boats, and more. These shared properties carry forward a wealth of memories – childhood laughter, special occasions, and more. Their emotional significance can make them much dearer than their financial worth. Disagreements over these shared properties can have an outsize effect on the ability of the family system to work. And yet, disagreements are predictably inevitable. What do you do with a partial ownership of a boat? How can these assets be shared with the other owners in a way that is palatable to all?

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Our Approach to Family Shared Property

We help families identify where they are in alignment with shared properties, where they are not, and how they can move forward. We work with the owners to develop term sheets for buy/sell agreements, establish governing bodies for shared assets, and negotiate usage agreements. If conflict over a shared property is threatening to unravel your family business system, we can work with your family to nip it at the bud. It starts with better family communication.

BanyanGlobal helps families create shared property plans

Starting from their mutual goals and interests, we help families decide how they want to govern, use, and manage their shared property. Good communication and policies set up in advance can avoid the need for family conflict resolution.

Here are some representative examples of the work we do with family shared property:

Thorns in the Family Business:

The family owned a magnificent estate since the 18th century. In addition to the historical home, there was a lovely garden that various generations had added to. One day, one brother hired a landscaper to prune the garden. The landscaper accidentally pruned a prized rose bush. When his siblings found out, they were deeply distressed because the rose bush was a symbol of their family’s history – how could their brother let it be cut? Communication broke down and several family members refused to talk to each other at the quarterly board meeting and annual shareholder meeting. How could they mend their differences and forge a plan for the shared home in the future? This is a classic case of family communication and family conflict gone wrong.

Balancing Wealth Disparities:

The patriarch bought a sprawling oceanside property to use as a family gathering place for his descendants. He set up initial rules for how to divvy up plots of land, how to share expenses, and how to govern usage. As generations passed, the wealth disparity between branches grew as they made different life choices and investments. These differences were brought to a head at the family compound, where they were considering new renovations and upgrades. A couple branches considered leaving. What could the family do to reunite and get back to enjoying the property together? It starts with family communication.

The U.S.S. Sailboat։

Going sailing with their mom and dad was one of the fondest memories each of their children had. After both had passed, each wanted to cling onto their treasured sailboat. But it was jointly owned by all three and they could not agree how to share access to it. Short of cutting the sailboat in thirds, how could they learn to share ownership? Could they avoid going into the abyss of family conflict?

Trading (Shared) Spaces:

Four siblings inherited three properties together: a French ski chalet, a Caribbean bungalow, and a New York City townhome. Two were skiers, not surfers, and grumbled at the cost of the beach property. The other two preferred the sun and despised the cold. All four wanted regular access to the New York City townhome. Their family communication had not been strong in recent years. Could they convince each other to sell their stake in less desirable properties and keep only the ones they wanted?

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