All in the Family

by Sam H. Lane, Ph.D.

In working with large families, I s o m e t i m e s encounter puzzling and undiscussed conflict between in-laws and the families into which they marry. This conflict is usually expressed as an in-law not feeling he or she is “one of the family.” In working with families over the past number of years, I have discovered part of the reason for this (besides the usual problems associated with a person coming into the family upon marriage) is the operation of a conflicting set of norms between the in-law’s family of origin and the family into which he or she has married. Because each of us generally assumes the rest of the world is the way we are, one never stops to think about these differences.

The most important feature of these norms is that they define who is “family.” You are a member of the family if you operate according to these norms; if you do not, you are not one of the family. Typically, an in-law is unsure as to their acceptance by the family because there are many sources of natural conflict. What it means to be “one of the family” is ambiguous at best. Thus, when one of these norms is violated with the resulting perceived rejection, it can have a powerful impact upon that person. These norms may exist in greater degrees of strength. Different profiles may exist between the two families and further accelerate differences that may exist. More…

Family Limited Partnerships

Family Limited Partnerships UMass

Related Matters Newsletter
Summer 1995

by Ronald P. Weiss, Esq.
Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas
Springfield, Massachusetts

You pay a fortune in taxes. You pay income taxes on what you earn and on what your investments earn. You pay taxes on what your employees earn. You even pay taxes on inflation. And the income tax rules are so complex, so you have to spend days and incur substantial fees just to pay your income taxes. Then, when you die, the government plans on taking a substantial portion of the wealth you have left after all the income taxes. If you are in the highest income and estate tax brackets, this means that for every dollar you earn that is taxed at ordinary income tax rates, your children will inherit only 27 cents.

The laws of our country are designed to make it difficult for you to transmit a substantial estate relatively intact to your children. In response, estate planners have created a number of techniques to help you leave as much as you can to the next generation. Unfortunately, the most common techniques, outright gifts and placing assets into irrevocable trusts, will most likely put assets outside of your control. This may make you uncomfortable if income producing assets, especially your family business, are involved. These methods may also give rise to estate and gift taxes based on the full value of what has been transferred. More…