What is Family Council? Benefits and Rules Explained

What is a family council? It’s a great way to help your family communicate, plan for the future, and build stronger relationships. In this guide, you’ll learn about the purpose and benefits of forming a family council, as well as tips on how to make sure it runs smoothly.

What Is a Family Council?

It is a gathering of all members or representatives of the family to discuss issues and decisions affecting the family. It gives family members the opportunity to share their ideas, values and concerns in a safe and inclusive setting. Through open dialogue and discussion, different perspectives can be explored. Also, it helps everyone deepen their understanding of each other and share goals. The goal of the council is to bring families together to make decisions that will ultimately benefit the whole family.


Group at table discussing what is a family council.

Benefits of Having a Family Council

Family holding each other looking over ocean.

Families that hold family councils often report feeling closer and more connected to one another. By openly discussing issues relevant to the family, everyone’s perspectives can be heard and respected, helping to build trust and understanding within the family as a whole. Regular meetings also help open lines of communication between generations, providing an opportunity for all members of the family to share concerns and aspirations in a safe and productive environment.

Rules for Successful Family Councils

Having set protocols and rules for your family council helps ensure the discussions are productive and all members have an equal opportunity to express themselves. Some basic guidelines include:

– Everyone should respect each other’s words, opinions, and beliefs
– There should be a moderator or facilitator who will ensure everyone gets the chance to speak without interruption

Younger generation having family meeting

– All members of the family need to feel their voices and opinions count
– Agree on ground rules such as what topics can be discussed, at what pace they’re discussed, how long each conversation lasts, etc.

How to Start a Family Council

Starting a family council is easy and doesn’t require much preparation. Begin by scheduling a meeting, determining the length of time for the session, deciding on an agenda, and appointing a facilitator who will be responsible for ensuring fair discussion amongst all family members. The facilitator should have an in-depth knowledge of each family member so that every voice is heard and taken into consideration. It’s also important to establish communication policies such as frequency of communication, topics discussed and expectations and goals family members want to achieve.

It’s best for the facilitator to be a neutral party

It’s hard for a member of the family to facilitate the meetings. That’s one of the reasons families hire companies like ours to help. We don’t have the past history. And we won’t be afraid to speak candidly, even if it ruffles feathers.

Tips for Sustaining Your Family Council

A successful family council must be regularly maintained in order to ensure the goals identified by all members are met. To sustain a family council, hold regular meetings that are productive and appropriate. Set realistic goals and together agree on strategies needed to achieve them. It is also important to monitor progress and celebrate successes together as a family while also honoring individual accomplishments. Finally, look out for potential conflicts and address them promptly with open communication.

Would You Like Help?

If you’re ready to get started with family council meetings or other aspect of family governance, just click the “Book a Strategy Session” button. We look forward to chatting.

(This article was written by attorney Paul Deloughery of Sudden Wealth Protection Law, PLC.)

About the Author

Michael Zolno has an MBA and MA in research psychology and almost 40 years’ experience as a consultant. He is also a co-founder of How to Create a Legacy, LLC.

Learn More About Multi-Gen Businesses