Dear Family ,
To my aunties and uncles and cousins who are descendents of May, Corrine , and Dorothy , I apologize for not including more of your history in this blog. Unfortunately ,the lawsuit and the family rift that followed has caused the descendents of San Tong Jue to lose all contact with the descendents of my Grand Aunts . We do not know your history , or the viewpoint of your families on these events. If you should happen on this blog please feel free to post on it or contact me .
For me there are no villains in this story. It is in the end a tragic story of a brother and his sisters and sister in law caught up in the drama of the Chinese immigrant story , of a family caught up in the racist policies that led to the Oriental Exclusion Act and the Alien Land Act . It is the story of a family on the verge of becoming American and yet holding on to being Chinese in a new land . It is the drama of a family trying to make new rules and relationships and yet holding on to old ones.
Our family lawsuit has become a footnote in training programs for lawyers and estate planners .
"FROM ROLES TO RULES©:†
A NEW MODEL FOR MANAGING FAMILY
DYNAMICS IN THE ESTATE PLANNING PROCESS"
"Nobody enjoys a family feud over money. Nobody wins. This is especially true for feuds concerning the inheritance of assets from loved ones
Most of us have, at one time or another, probably also heard warring survivors say their fights are not about money – and they are right. The fights are about anger, envy, fear, pride, jealousy, resentment, power, love, hate and regret.
Death and grief often release pent-up emotions that often overrule otherwise rational and economic decision-making and fuel legal actions by survivors. When the parents were alive, their role as parent worked as the structure to keep the family and the planning in check; however, upon their death and the shift to the next generation there tends to be a Rules Crisis. The children have no structure, no rules in place to help make the transition smooth, because the parents, in their planning, failed to anticipate that the children might grasp at straws, once they were gone, to make up emotionally for something that was missing when they were alive. Thus, resulting legal actions begin to erode the value of the family business or the estate more quickly and surely than any tax code or competitor ever could.
The most important step or decision, when creating or revising an estate plan, should be to find advisors who understand that family dynamics can destroy a family; and who are equipped to bring in the right people to help the parents put in place a reliable legal document that addresses the family dynamics as part of the estate planning process. From the research, these factors go a long way toward developing an estate plan that will hold up long after you’re gone. "
Unfortunately , Jue Joe and his successors had no such advisor to help them .
There is a time to put away old family hurts , and stories that ingrain that hurt . I think that was also my Grandather, San Tong's wish . It is time to start anew . Auntie Maxine in contacting Auntie Soo-Yin many years ago while researching her family roots said it best . She said that after all, despite the rift, "We're still family," I heartily agree. This is our story , a story that we should tell to our children , who will tell it to their children down the generations . It is the story of how our family came to be here in a new land. And as my Auntie Soo- Jan says
"Our past molded us to be what we are today."
with love and respect to all the clan ,
Jack Jue Jr.
Great grandson of Jue Joe
June 14, 2010