As hard as we may try to avoid it, death is a certainty of life and 2020 marked new uncharted territory for the current generation. We faced the whirlwind that is COVID-19, global shutdowns and a new way of living, that left many confused and at times bereaved. We never truly prepare for death or the aftermath of it. In this time we have seen families losing their patriarchs and matriarchs, and family offices losing their principles. Families and family offices alike can feel large voids, especially when the assumption has been there that the principal had dotted their i’s and crossed their t’s, only to find unsigned wills and un-finalised trusts. The hardest part is having the “next of kin” decide on what happens next and who will lead. When someone dies, the whole family system is thrown off. Grieving family members find themselves disinterested and/or incapable of behaving in the ways they used to. Not only do people have to cope with grief, but they also must deal with the fact that a vital piece of the family is gone. This all boils down to the importance of succession planning for family offices and how they can protect the family in the aftermath of a death.
It truly all sounds like it’s a scene played out of a fiction book or a Hollywood blockbuster movie, those who have experienced it know that the truth is so much more bizarre. How can families who are bereft rise from the pain of losing a loved one and deal with the every day knowing very well that the family may feel like a rudderless boat?