The SafeEstates Blog

A Tale of Two Children

Recently, I read Ann Patchett’s The Dutch House on a recommendation of my wife, Mary Ann, and our TV and podcast friend, Dana Perino. I expected a well written novel. I did not expect a casebook on business succession planning and estate planning. I don’t want to spoil the book for you if you have not read it, so I apologize in advance if I go too far.
The Dutch House tells the story of Danny Conroy and his sister, Maeve, and their relationship with their childhood home. Their father’s lack of thoughtful planning and a harsh turn of events force them to make difficult choices. The novel follows Danny and Maeve through 30 years or more of emotions and surprises.
Their father, Cyril Conroy, is a self-made real estate developer. He has no succession plan for his single-owner business. Maybe there is a plan in his head. Maybe he is too “in the present” to care what happens to the business after he can no longer run it. Danny wants to follow in his father’s footsteps as a real estate developer. With no succession plan, how do you think that turns out?
We help a lot more blended families than you might think. Planning for his kids, her kids and their kids and the surviving step-parent and keeping everybody happy now and in the next generation takes courage, communication and awareness. Cyril Conroy seems to have lost these. Denial is not a plan. I so could have helped him discover solutions for his business and family.
During the global pandemic, we have helped a number of new clients who had put off estate planning for many years. Recent events were the tipping point for them to break through whatever was stopping them. They told us how great it felt to finally have a plan that will work when they need it.
~ Randy Hooper