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Myths and Realities about Culture and Families: Examples of Latin Families
By  Elaine King and Mariana Martinez Berlanga

Posted on May 11, 2016 by FFIPRACTITIONER

Culture is often thought of as a set of fixed, rigid, unchangeable characteristics belonging to a group in a specific geographic area. People exhibit this view with comments such as “this is an Asian family” or “this is a Middle Eastern family,” assuming that this description is enough to explain much of an individual’s behavior and how a family functions. However, if the concept of culture is to be useful in understanding families, advisors need to realize that culture is a dynamic variable that interacts with other variables such as multigenerational process, levels of maturity in a family group and changing contexts.

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Estate constraints often do not work as planned
By Mariana Martinez Berlanga, Peter M. Bloom

In a letter to James Madison dated September 6, 1789, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “[T]he earth belongs in usufruct to the living . . . the dead have neither powers nor rights over it.” But contrary to Jefferson’s suggestion, in multigenerational family businesses the earth often belongs to the dead. While we are all influenced by past generations, some family businesses (and their stakeholders) a…

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