Our cover this month, “Deux Danseuses Au Foyer” (20 1/2 in. by 17 1/2 in.) by Edgar Degas, sold for $826,254 at Sotheby’s recent Impressionist, Modern & Surrealist Art Evening Sale in London on Feb. 5, 2014. One of the most notable artists who ever lived, Degas was a founder of the Impressionist movement, though he strongly preferred to be called a realist. The word “movement” is particularly apropos in regard to Degas, as he’s best known for his identification with dancers. Indeed, more than half of his works depict one or more dancers, including our current cover.

Estate planners, particularly those who advise clients with family businesses, can identify with dancers as well. Successfully navigating the myriad pitfalls that inevitably arise in the operation of a family business can require some fancy legal footwork. And, just as an advisor feels he’s learned the correct steps for a particular family, the music may change, as family dynamics and interpersonal relationships represent an unpredictable and often explosive element. Planners need to persevere through any stumbles and remember that working with a family business isn’t a mere dance contest, but a marathon, and our job is to ensure our clients are still going strong at the end of the night.