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Family Wealth: — Keeping It in the Family — How Family Members and Their Advisers Preserve Human, Intellectual, and Financial Assets for Generations, Revised and Expanded Edition by James E. Hughes Jr.

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Chapter 13. Evaluating the Next Generation

When a family decides to work against the tendencies described by the shirtsleeves proverb, they need tools with which to gauge the success of their development. This evaluation is most important in the next generation, because they will become the new family governors. Some criteria must be established to assess the capability of the next generation to carry on.[22]

To begin the process, I suggest that the family and its evaluators look back at its earlier generations to see where the family has been and to know where it is now, so it can know where it is going. The shirtsleeve proverb is helpful here, since it suggests that the family look at the current and just-previous generations to measure the next generation's position against the proverb's predicted pattern. Let's not forget, in making this review, that each current member of a family is simultaneously a first-generation member of his or her nuclear family, a second-generation member of two families, and a third-generation member of four families. If we are to make this review complete, we need to review all of these families' histories. I suggest such a survey apply the same evaluation criteria, described below, to the current and just-previous generations as to the next generation. Finally, as a family begins an evaluation process, it should describe to all of its members the risk of which the proverb speaks. Members should know why the family is compiling this information so ...

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