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One of the benefits of structured giving is longevity. A structured vehicle will likely outlive the people who initially set it up, but this raises an important question: should you involve your family’s next generation? 

While Equity Trustees can act on your behalf in perpetuity, involving children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews can allow you to share your giving journey and values. However, it can also raise some common challenges.

Challenge one: I don’t have the time 

You’re already busy – not just with your philanthropy but with all aspects of your personal and/or professional life. Involving your family will take more time. It may require more consultation and discussions. 

Don’t let that deter you. Adding this new dimension to your family relationships will certainly be worth the investment. 

You may find that your children also have concerns about being too busy – maybe they’re just reaching the peak of their career or raising a young family. If this is the case, simply bring them in to the degree they’re comfortable with. Small steps can evolve into deeper engagement over time. 

Challenge two: who has the ownership?

‘It’s my parents’ money and they have the final say’ or ‘These funds are mine and I have the final say’ may be comments that surface when you first discuss giving as a family. 

However, a shared approach to philanthropy can be a wonderfully galvanising experience. 
It all comes back to strategy. Agreeing on the philanthropic areas that the family will focus on can help to resolve any ownership conversations. 

Another approach is to separate a percentage of annual income for each family member to have ownership of, although this can lead to people prioritising their own objectives over a common goal.

Challenge three: we all have different values and beliefs

This is one of the most common challenges and one of the most difficult to resolve. 

Establishing a giving strategy is a good place to start as it helps ensure everyone is involved and enjoys their philanthropy. Exceptional communication skills are required to navigate these strategic giving conversations, where deep listening, understanding, respect and compromise is shown by all parties. 

These conversations will involve examining what your family values are; your individual areas of interest and what commonalities exist between them; and identifying a potential common mission that your family can work towards. 

Your Relationship Manager at Equity Trustees can help you start and facilitate this discussion.

Every family’s situation and journey involves different challenges, such as geographical dispersion of the family; blended families where perceptions of favouritism can arise; or members of the next generation either feeling overwhelmed with responsibility or, conversely, being disinterested. 

But the benefits of bringing your family (whatever its makeup) together and building a giving strategy that encompasses the whole family’s interests is a meaningful and powerful way to continue the journey you have started. 

Challenges may arise but successfully overcoming them often strengthens and deepens everyone’s commitment to the cause.