Transitions – Hull on Estates and Succession Planning #215
Listen to: Transitions
This week on Hull on Estates and Succession Planning Ian and Suzana discuss transitions, both personal and professional. They examine transitions currently taking place; how they affect us and different approaches one can take.
Ian M. Hull – Click here for more information on Ian Hull.
Suzana Popovic- Montag – Click here for more information on Suzana Popovic- Montag.
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Welcome to Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, a series of podcasts hosted by Ian Hull and Suzana Popovic-Montag. The podcast you’re listening to will provide information and insights into estate planning in Canada. From the offices of Hull & Hull in Toronto, here are Ian and Suzana.
Suzana Popovic-Montag: Hi and welcome to Hull on Estate and Succession planning. You’re listening to episode 215 of our podcast.
Ian Hull: Hi Suzana.
Suzana Popovic-Montag: Hi there Ian. How are you?
Ian Hull: I’m great thanks and yourself?
Suzana Popovic-Montag: I’m good thank you.
Ian Hull: Well that’s great. Well today we want to talk about transitions and cultures. And we see it a lot with families as we all know sort of as our families grow and my family moved from sort of toddlers into teenagers and they’ll move on to the next stage of life. We all as parents have to adapt and we have to adapt our estate plan in that way. And we also, of course, have seen transitions in business. We see transitions in politics. So we’re going to talk a little bit of that and talk a little bit about how the Courts have been dealing with a couple of interesting recent approaches to transitions. So the first thing we’ve got to do is talk about the new mayor. We have a new mayor in Toronto.
Suzana Popovic-Montag: Yes we do.
Ian Hull: It’s great. And he is… it’s exciting times whether we like him or not it’s new blood down in City Hall. So we’re anxious to see what he’s going to do and see where our city goes.
Suzana Popovic-Montag: Well they say change is good so it’s good that we’ve had the opportunity to see it live before our faces. And so much change is going on in our daily lives and in the hustle and bustle of life in general. So it’s good to sometimes take those moments to actually think about, you know, what that change is going to mean. And you mentioned at the outset, you know, in terms of our estate plan and in terms of our…just life in general. So…
Ian Hull: And it’s so true because we talk about…we can talk about transitions in big steps and then we can talk about short term transitions and short term changes. And of course a mayor changing in the City is a flash point and an automatic change. And in fact today we’ve heard in the news that the transition team is moving in. So there is a team for a transition. But in life we don’t have those kinds of luxuries but it does help us sort of remind ourselves anyway to maybe we should be rethinking about our estate plan and rethinking about how we can do that. And in doing that we have been really having some interesting times here in our firm even because we have been trying to, in our own way, work a family meeting. And we look at the necessity of running a feedback model within a business as a vital component to our day-to-day operations. Like, we would always have, what we have always said with our family meetings. We have looked for those as being a formal opportunity to give feedback.
Suzana Popovic-Montag: That’s right.
Ian Hull: And give feedback to the heads of the family.
Suzana Popovic-Montag: Yeah, all as part of the dialogue in getting…encouraging people to talk about things that they wouldn’t traditionally have otherwise talked about.
Ian Hull: And even and then a …feedback…everybody that works in the business community is focused on making sure that their team understands and there’s transparencies and there’s expectations that are managed and not managed, but a silent office doesn’t make any sense. But yet we go home and we have a silent home. And it’s unusual that our natural instincts are in the business community to really focus on communication. And what we’ve tried as well in the office here which is sort of an interesting tool, it’s a business tool, but one that I think helps demonstrate the importance of the need for meaningful communication in a formal way as we have been just using a new program that’s called “Rypple” and it’s R- y- p- p- l- e, it’s rypple.ca. And it’s a feedback model. And it’s a feedback model that makes us document specifically the feedback within the members of our team.
Suzana Popovic-Montag: And it’s one of those great pieces of technology that we’ve introduced into the system because, you know, we are certainly in the midst of a bunch of change internally as well with our document management system, our very stringent attempts to go paperless. And so having this opportunity to do an on-line feedback conversation with individuals is part and parcel of that whole project.
Ian Hull: And it comes back to our estate planning. I mean why aren’t we having, we can’t help but ask ourselves, why aren’t we having these kinds of documented and meaningful and pointed moments in time of feedback between ourselves and our family.
Suzana Popovic-Montag: It is really funny you say that Ian because you are so right. The business world is made up of those kinds of conversations, those kinds of exchanges, and yet when we come to our families, it’s a very different environment. So we see a lot more of this kind of professionalism being injected into the process.
Ian Hull: And what if we could do is professionalize it and regularize it, both in the estate planning dialogues that we’re going to have and in the business dialogues that we have. It seems to pay off and we know it pays off in the business environment. We’ve seen results in the business environment. The experts say it does. So why isn’t it paying off in the family environment? Well I think it’s partially because we are not trying hard enough.
Suzana Popovic-Montag: That’s right.
Ian Hull: Another neat thing that we’ve been working around here as well, as you said, the paperless model. And we’re stepping away from, for a lot of good reasons, but we are stepping away from moving paper all day long. And that doesn’t necessarily transition well or, you know, tie well into estate planning because we still need paper for some of the estate planning process like a Will. But what it does is again, it illustrates how we’re trying to take a team work approach to a problem that we all have the same goal, and that is, transfer of family wealth where we want to transfer paper within our office environment. And the feedback model that we were talking about the rypple.ca program we’re using and other methodologies we’re using has really helped us. And as I say, I think it can transition really well and easily into the real world of family.
Suzana Popovic-Montag: And just to sort of circle, come full circle in terms of our firm’s experience, we also have our document management, or pardon me, our knowledge management system. And we talk about sharing feedback, sharing you know information. Here’s the perfect way of taking, you know, the hard copy of knowledge and sharing it with others within our firm so that we can complete that entire circle of that exchange.
Ian Hull: And it’s so true when you look at the estate plan and when someone gets into a situation where, you know, they don’t even want to show their family the Will. Or they don’t want to show their family the corporate structure of the family. Or they don’t want to show their family the shareholders’ agreement that their kids, or minor kids, are involved in or whoever. It’s about transparency and you know putting those documents on a safe cloud, you know and having access to the internet is one methodology that we found clients will do. And we try to download the information exchange, have it available to the family to look at, as of when they feel they want to look at it. So you have it accessed in a private way through the internet. And again, I mean it’s just about, you know, the feeling that at least it’s there, it’s there for me to read or understand. If I want to I can choose to hire professionals to help me understand it. But if we can download that information, make it available, it again, in a paperless way, can help tie the bonds together and make sure that people get rid of some of these basically superstitious feelings about suspicious behavior on the part of any of the family members.
Suzana Popovic-Montag: And it does still bolster that whole team work environment or that feeling within the family that, you know, those documents, that information, that dialogue can be exchanged with everyone who wants to participate in the process.
Ian Hull: So we have taken a little bit of a world of business and tried to import it into a world of family and estate planning. And we’ve learned some good lessons in the business community, business environment that we can, we think, translate well in our efforts to effectively and properly estate plan. So thank you very much Suzana.
Suzana Popovic-Montag: Thanks to you too Ian and I look forward to our next podcast.
You have been listening to Hull on Estate and Succession Planning by Ian
Hull and Suzana Popovic-Montag. The podcast that you have been listening
to has been provided as an information service. It is a summary of current
issues in estates and estate planning. It is not legal advice and you are reminded to always speak with a legal professional regarding your specific circumstance.
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