Family Negotiation Role-Play:

Carter Estate Problem, The

Mark Drooks, Andrew Tavel, Kenneth Hyatt, Mark Gordon, and Bruce Patton
Two-party, multi-issue integrative negotiation between brothers over the settlement of their father's estate

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Free review copies of non-English Teacher’s Packages will be emailed upon request. Please contact tnrc@law.harvard.edu  or telephone 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 781-966-2751 (outside the U.S.)

SCENARIO:

James Carter, husband of Rosie Carter and father of Ron and George Carter, recently died after a four year battle with an undisclosed illness. Having plenty of warning, Mr. Carter (also head of the successful family cosmetic business) carefully planned for the disposition of his assets upon his death. The majority of issues surrounding the settlement of his estate have been resolved, however, a few minor issues remain unresolved and have led to dispute between his two sons. The first dispute concerns Mr. Carter’s lakeside retreat. Secondarily, there are concerns over the distribution of some of Mr. Carter’s personal effects. The personal effects include: a stamp collection, a diamond ring, a pocket watch, a membership in the Metropolitan Club and the award-winning, family dog, Bonzo.

 

MAJOR LESSONS:

  • This exercise presents the opportunity to use a careful analysis of the interests of the parties to craft an agreement to solve a dispute.
  • This exercise illustrates the danger of single-issue bargaining. Should participants limit the negotiation to a monetary dispute, Ron and George will be locked in a contest of wills. Hard bargaining may well emerge, resulting in a situation in which one party’s gain means a corresponding loss to the other party.
  • Good negotiators put the distributive issues in this case in perspective and reduce their importance by dovetailing interests with creative options that expand the pie. This case has an enormous potential range of such creative options.

 

MECHANICS:

This exercise is best one-on-one. Allow approximately 30 minutes for preparation and 30-45 minutes for negotiation. Debriefing should last at least 30 minutes.

 

TEACHING MATERIALS:

  • For all parties:
    • General Information

     

  • Role specific:Confidential Instructions for:
    • Ron Carter
    • George Carter

     

  • Teacher’s Package:
    • All of the above

 

PROCESS THEMES:

BATNA; Communication; Competition v. Cooperation; Emotions; Fairness; Interest, dovetailing; Joint gains; Legitimacy; Options, generating

 

Carter Estate Problem, The Attributes

Time required:
1-2 hours
Number of participants:
2
Teams involved:
No
Agent present:
None
Neutral third party present:
None
Scoreable:
No
Teaching notes available:
No
Non-English version available:
Spanish
PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center

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Soft copy vs. hard copy

You may order this role simulation in either soft copy (electronic) or hard copy (paper) format. If you select the soft copy option, you will receive an e-mail with a URL (website address) from which you may download an electronic file in Adobe Acrobat PDF format. You are then permitted to view the document on your computer and either print the number of copies you purchased, or forward the electronic file as many times as the number of copies you purchased. You will only receive a link to one electronic file per document. So, if you order 25 soft copies, you may either forward copies of the link to 25 people via e-mail, or print (and/or photocopy) 25 hard copies of the document.

If you select the hard copy option, you will receive paper copies of this role simulation via the shipping method you select.

The purchase price and handling fee are the same for both soft and hard copies. Soft copies do not entail a shipping fee.

For additional information about the soft copy option, please visit our FAQ section, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu or 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.) or 781-966-2751 (outside the U.S.).

Please note: At the present time, Teaching Negotiation Resource Center soft copies are compatible with the following versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader: English, German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean. If you have a different version of the Acrobat Reader, you may wish to download one of these at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html, or contact the PON Teaching Negotiation Resource Center at tnrc@law.harvard.edu, 800-258-4406 (within the U.S.), or 781-966-2751 (outside the U.S.) for further assistance. This restriction does not apply to the freely available Teacher’s Package Review Copies.

Ordering a single copy for review

If you wish to review the materials for a particular role simulation to decide whether you’d like to use it, then you should order a single Teacher’s Package for that role simulation. A PDF, or soft copy, version of the Teacher’s Package is also available as a free download from the description page of most role simulations and case studies. There is no need to order participant materials as well as a Teacher’s Package, as all Teacher’s Packages include copies of all participant materials. In addition, some Teacher’s Packages (but not all) include additional teaching materials such as teaching notes or overhead masters. Please note that the materials in Teacher’s Packages are for the instructor’s review and reference only, and may not be duplicated for use with participants.

Ordering copies for multiple participants

If you wish to order multiple copies of a role simulation for use in a course or workshop, simply enter the total number of participants in the box next to “Participant Copies.” There is no need to calculate how many of each role is required; the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center will calculate the appropriate numbers of each role to provide, based on the total number of participants. For example, if you wish to order a 2-party role simulation for use with a class of 30 students, you would enter “30” in the box next to “Participant Copies.” You then would receive 15 copies of one role and 15 copies of the other role, for use with your 30 participants. As another example, if you ordered 30 participant copies of a 6-party role simulation, you would receive 5 copies of each role.

In the event that the number of participant copies you order is not evenly divisible by the number of roles in the simulation, you will receive extra copies of one or more roles. Participants receiving the extra roles may partner with other participants playing the same role, thus negotiating as a team. So, for instance, if you ordered 31 copies of a 2-party role simulation, you would receive 15 copies of the first role and 16 copies of the second role. One of the participants playing the second role would partner with another participant playing that same role, and the two would negotiate as a team.