Carmen Bianchi

Family Business Associates

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(858) 793-2445 or (858) 922-3155

Family Councils

A family council is the organizational and strategic planning arm of a family, where all members meet to decide values, policy, and direction for the future. Family owned enterprises have come to recognize the benefit and need for expanding participation to include a larger group than the immediate family.

Family councils are a forum for defining appropriate boundaries between various constituent groups. Beyond adherence to these broad principles, family councils are a diverse lot. This is good. Each one should be tailored to fit the needs and situation of each family. Also, the family council does not exist in a vacuum. It is within the larger context of the governance structure and is an integral part of a multi-faceted system.

Specifics vary as a function of the size of the family and the number of generations involved in the business. The size of the enterprise matters some, but not as much. Sibling partnerships where succession is occurring from the first generation to the second generation typically need to accommodate 10 to 12 people. Cousin consortiums, typically found in the fourth or fifth generation, may involve 30 or even 40 people. Additionally, some large families might have as many as 200 people in various parts of the governance structure. As the family council gets larger, the interests of people become more diverse as the number of people involved increases. The council should be designed to deal with this larger size while still achieving the same purposes as the smaller groups. The key functions of the council are communication and clarification of policies. Specifically, the family council is the hub for developing, sharing, and implementing future plans.

Family Business Services

Family Retreats

Family Wealth Advising


Estate Planning

Conflict Resolution


Organizational Structures

Family Councils

Creating Family Creeds

Family Business Governance Structures

Entry and Exit Strategies

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