When Families Start Talking, Part 1

Family Conversations: It all begins around the dining room table.  Photograph courtesy of Stephen Doyle.

Family Conversations: It all begins around the dining room table. Photograph courtesy of Stephen Doyle.

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Even the best of families can run into trouble when grappling with the needs of aging parents, the demands of care-giving and the shifting dynamics between siblings over money and inheritance. Estates mediator Genevieve Chornenki looks at these hot button issues and explores if families can talk about them without wanting to kill each other.  Part 2 airs Friday, July 12.


Genevieve A. Chornenki
is a dispute resolution practitioner who conducts estate mediation.


Series Participants


The Honourable David M. Brown, a judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Toronto Region, experienced in managing and deciding estates and incapacity litigation.

Samantha Caravan, an Anglican priest and the rector of St. John's Anglican Church West Toronto.

Resa Eisen, a social worker and mediator who provides mediation services focusing on families-in-transition.

Ian M. Hull, a founding partner of Hull and Hull LLP and a certified legal specialist in estates and trusts.

Cinnie Noble, a conflict management coach with a background in social work, conflict management and law. 

Jeanne Safer, a psychotherapist in private practice with an interest in "taboo topics" including sibling rivalry.

Andrea Schara, a family therapist with an interest and experience in family systems theory.


Personal Stories by:


"Donna": has first hand experience with family issues after the death of her mother.

Michael Lobraico has first hand experience in family business issues.

Janine MacDonald, has first hand experience as an Attorney for Personal Care.


Reading List


Becker, ErnestThe Denial of Death. Free Press Paperbacks, 1973.

Butler, Lynn. Estate Planning through Family Meetings (without breaking up the family). Self-Counsel Press, 2010.

Chornenki, Genevieve A. and Christine E. Hart. Bypass Court: A Dispute Resolution Handbook, 4th ed. LexisNexis, 2011.

Hull, Ian M. Advising Families on Succession Planning: The High Price of Not Talking. LexisNexis, 2005.

Lobraico Michael A., Jonathan Isaacs and Mitchell Singer Succession Planning for Family Businesses: Preparing for the next generation. PBS Books, 2011.

Lindahl, Kay. The Sacred Art of Listening. Skylight Paths Publishing, 2008.

Noble, Cinnie. Conflict Management Coaching. CYNERGYTM Coaching 2012.

Patterson, Kerry, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler. Crucial Conversations. McGraw-Hill, 2002.

Pitts, Gordon. In The Blood: Battles to Succeed in Canada's Family Businesses. Doubleday Canada, 2000.

Safer, Jeanne. Cain's Legacy: Liberating Siblings from a Lifetime of Rage, Shame, Secrecy and Regret. Basic Books, 2012.

Safer, Jeanne. Death Benefits: How Losing a Parent Can Change an Adult's Life - For the Better. Basic Books, 2008.

Stone, Douglas, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen. Difficult Conversations. Penguin Books, 1999.

Teresi, Dick
. The Undead. Pantheon Books, 2012.

Zeldin, Theodore. Conversation: How Talk Can Change Your Life. The Harvill Press, 199p.


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