C3 Financial Partners

Consume and Converse with Carolyn Smith | Mitigating Family Conflict

The most recent Consume and Converse event was set to feature a talk by Mark N. Voeller, Ph.D. Mark is an experienced and successful intergenerational financial strategist, who was poised to offer his expertise on family financial planning to this event — intending to focus on how to manage and mitigate family conflicts in order to preserve wealth as it is transferred from one generation to another.

Unfortunately, fog prevented Mark’s plane from landing in San Antonio on the day of the event. C3 Founder Todd S. Healy, dedicated to advanced life insurance planning, was also unable to attend for the same reason.

Despite the weather disruption, C3’s partners were able to carry on the event seamlessly and without any serious disruptions. This was due, in no small part, to C3 Financial Partners’ business structure, which prioritizes continuity of service.

Upon learning that two key figures of the event, Mark and Todd, would be unable to attend, C3 Senior Partner, Carolyn Smith, did not hesitate to step in and lead the discussion. Because of her close, continuous working relationship with both, she was able to deliver a presentation in the spirit of Mark’s work and expertise, and facilitate a dialogue with conference attendees on its primary topics of family wealth management.

C3 Senior Partner Carolyn Smith discusses her presentation on successful family wealth management with Marty Roos of Strasburger Law Firm and Todd Braulick of US Trust Bank.

Advisors who assist families of wealth spend a great amount of time and effort helping them to preserve their assets across generations. Often, however, they are confronted with common conflicts that occur among heirs. Wealth holders can be resistant to the advice of professionals to head off conflicts among family members. It is the unique challenge of the advisors to help their clients preserve family wealth in the face of these concerns.

At C3’s Consume and Converse event, a group of senior attorneys, CPAs, and trusted advisors gathered at the San Antonio Country Club to continue learning and sharing information regarding the successful transfer of wealth across generations.

In her talk at Wednesday’s event, Carolyn shared Mark’s knowledge about mitigating family conflict and ensuring the smooth transition of wealth across generations. These were insights he has gained from almost 30 years as a business advisor of attorneys, CPAs, and trusted family advisors.

Carolyn’s discussion focused on a few aspects crucial to the successful transition of wealth:

  • Structuring and maintaining best practices for healthy family governance.
  • Developing structures and agreements around equitable shareholder governance.
  • Emphasizing agreed-upon family values and a shared vision for the future.
  • Resolution and mitigation of family conflicts.
  • Preparation of heirs for wealth and business acquisition.

C3 Partner Jay Wheless found that two of Carolyn’s points especially succeeded in engaging and stimulating the audience: risk management and encouraging early financial stewardship. “In the 2006 to 2008 time frame, there was a noticeable shift in the way that families viewed their wealth,” Jay said, summarizing Carolyn’s presentation. “After the economic downturn, families began to consider risk more so than previously.”

Wheless was also impressed by Carolyn’s and Mark’s insights into preparing younger generations for wealth management. “One technique that families use in preparing the next generation for the responsibilities of managing their wealth is to “entrust” X number of dollars to members of the subsequent generation to manage,” he recalled of Carolyn’s presentation. “This provides a way for the next generation to experience the responsibility that comes with managing wealth for both the benefit of the family and in the charitable giving arena.”

Scott Harris of the S. Harris Financial Group and C3 Senior Partner Carolyn Smith speak after Carolyn’s presentation at C3’s Consume and Converse event in San Antonio.

“The fog in San Antonio gave us the opportunity to demonstrate the very reason C3 was created – to have a plan in place for smooth continuity of service,” C3 wrote in a letter of gratitude to its clients. “Fog forced planes to be rerouted, so neither Todd Healy nor our speaker, Mark Voellerwere able to attend. Carolyn Smith certainly demonstrated her leadership ability by stepping into Todd’s shoes. Her breadth of knowledge was apparent in presenting Mark Voeller’s ‘Preparing Heirs for Wealth Ownership’.”

Carolyn Smith is a CPA with over 30 years of experience in the areas of estate, continuity, and post-mortem planning. She is a founding member of the San Antonio exit planning exchange, San Antonio Chapter, and she serves on the boards of the San Antonio Estate Planners Council, San Antonio Planned Giving Committee for The American Red Cross, and the Development Board for Clarity Child Guidance Center.

Mark Voeller continues to lead his Dialogue Solutions consulting practice, and he is an Associate Senior Partner with Cambridge Advisors to Family Enterprise. He advises clients involved in a diverse array of industries, including beverage distribution, manufacturing, and global distribution, medical supplies distribution, food distribution, architecture, oil and gas, investment banking, retail and food service, real estate development, and heavy construction.

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