Our Unique Process

Because we believe the ability to take advantage of change is the greatest asset possessed by an entrepreneur’s family, our unique process helps our clients, their families, and their key advisors to become change entrepreneurs who work together to leverage the opportunities and challenges change creates.

The process delivers an integrated and balanced set of solutions and provides the systems, support and knowledge required to increase the utility and value of your family’s human capital, social capital, and financial capital.

The Family Wealth System

Important forms of capital within each subsystem of the Family Wealth System 

It begins with establishing great clarity around your present situation, short and long term goals for all three forms of family wealth, and the identification of obstacles to these goals. This clarity is continuously revisited, updated, and confirmed as your family and the world around you change.

Once the planning team has achieved the level of clarity required, we then enhance existing, or create new capabilities to help ensure your:

  • Family members thrive and make the most of all life has to offer;
  • Philanthropic efforts are fully realized, and;
  • Most important personal and family goals are realized.


Eliminating the “Three Generation Trap”

All too often, the adage “from rags, to riches, to rags in three generations” is used in telling the story of failed wealthy families.

We have not only proven this Three Generation Trap can be avoided, we have helped eliminate it from the list of possible futures for wealthy families.

The catalyst for obliterating “rags” from a family’s future is devoting effort and resources to nurturing and protecting the human capital within the family wealth system. Intentionally growing the level of understanding, communication, and clarity of purpose, along with individual and family capability, creates family members exceptionally capable of continuously improving the management of a family’s social and financial capital.

The transformative power of Human Capital

We have also proven that a long-term system of family wealth management (one that includes financial, social and human capital) must be put into place to help assure the benefits of an integrated plan are realized.

Core Concepts

The integrated and balanced solutions we implement leverage these core concepts:

  1. Ownership rights can be subdivided into
    • Control rights
    • Rights to receive income
    • Rights to receive remainder values
  1. Traditional valuation discounts for lack of liquidity and lack of control can be developed through proper entity and transaction design
  1. Economic growth can be transferred to future generations
  1. Current estate values can be frozen
  1. Charitable strategies can be used to retain control of social capital, including estate taxes
  1. Human capital can be enhanced using methodical, customized, life-long learning programs
  1. Income tax burdens can be reduced through tax efficient portfolio management techniques and through the use of private placement life insurance contracts (Note: Our methods for managing tax burdens include very traditional concepts that are well established in the Internal Revenue Code and Treasury Regulations.)

Governance Empowers Change Entrepreneurs

We have seen many elegant estate plans produce disappointing results due to lack of attention to details within the terms and conditions of governing documents.

While every governance model we design is unique to each client, every one proactively monitors and manages the complex systems created within the family wealth management plan. This enables the growth of effective and confident people capable of proactive adaptation in response to changes within the family (births, deaths, marriages, etc.) and to external changes (tax rules, financial capital markets changes, etc.). Simple said, effective governance empowers change entrepreneurs.

Click here for a list of optimal Wealth Transition Structures

Family Board of Directors: The governance linchpin

Early on in our process, we create a Family Board of Directors consisting of family leaders, key current advisers, and new advisers as needed. This team provides effective governance by fulfilling the overall monitoring and managing function for the family.

A sample design of this element within our process appears below and is fully described in the book “Master Plan: Integrating Your Financial Planning, Legal and Estate Planning and Life Planning.” (Woodman & Hartley, Cambio Press 2006).

Family Estate and Financial Design


Accelerated Business Team Process

Among the critical capabilities essential to the success of our clients, harnessing the full potential and power of their advisors is often one of the very first requirements.

Underutilizing costly advisors commonly occurs because:

  • The services of several different professionals from different disciplines are required
  • Each professional relies on the client for communication to and from the other professionals
  • Most clients are not prepared to carry complex and technical information from one professional to another
  • Most professional advisors are not empowered to communicate freely with each other
  • The client has no document that comprehensively and clearly articulates their goals and wishes for themselves and their family

In isolation, the existence of one of these conditions slows the pace of progress. When two or more occur simultaneously, progress can slow to a crawl or even come to a dead stop.

TDI’s Accelerated Business Team Process addresses each of these conditions and creates a dynamic framework for effective inter-advisor collaboration and optimal utilization of their expertise. Click here for more detail.

Getting Started

Committing to our process is a significant decision, one we would expect you to make only after carefully assessing our capabilities and track record.

To help you begin this assessment and more fully understand the value we can create together, we offer three choices.

Informal Chat

1. We invite you to contact us with your questions and to explore the issues you wish to address and the opportunities you wish to realize. Click here to arrange an informal chat.

Test Drive

2. If you would like to test-drive a small piece of our process, try our Basic Questions self-assessment. This interactive form is an easy yet effective tool for more fully understanding how prepared to leverage change you and your family may or may not be. To access this form, simply create a personal (and completely confidential) Question Central account. It only takes 30 seconds and gives you immediate access to the Basic Questions module as well as other modules we will be offering from time to time.

Transformative Discovery

3. If you would like to experience what it is like working with us while at the same time receiving some substantial value, consider investing a little of your time in our complimentary discovery process.

The process begins with a discovery session during which we assess your current situation and bring greater clarity to your vision for the future. We identify where you may be stuck and why it is difficult to overcome persistent obstacles and issues. We also help you articulate and record the most important goals you wish to achieve for yourself, your family and your enterprise. And, we examine and provide preliminary ideas for addressing the obstacles you face and taking advantage of the opportunities ahead.

The discovery session takes approximately 90 minutes and enables us to deliver a Personal Blueprint for leveraging change. The blueprint provides the information you need to make an informed and confident decision about the appropriateness of engaging our services.

Regardless of the path you choose, the blueprint is your to keep without further obligation.

Click here to schedule your discovery session.