Caring and attention to detail
Conflict-free counseling and listening
Individuality and Freedom
Individuals should be free to lead their lives without feeling burdened by the responsibility of their wealth.
Our clients are individuals and their individuality should be respected.
There can be no effective “one-size fits all” approach to wealth management, governance or estate planning.
An individual should not isolate wealth from life; the two should function in harmony.
Any bundling of services within a family’s governance structure should start with understanding the importance of independence to members of the family
Any family wealth management governance plan should feel comfortable and welcoming to family members of diverse cultures, attitudes and personalities; no member should feel that he or she or loved ones will be excluded.
Each individual should receive comfort and confidence from his or her wealth.
What is Wealth For?
The starting question in designing a wealth management or personal estate plan is always “What is your wealth for?”
Good counseling always keeps that question in mind, and all services should address that critical question.
The answer to that question must always be addressed by individual preferences and objectives; there is no family answer to the question.
The question is never irrevocably answered but must be addressed from time to time, and generation to generation.
The purpose of wealth is not its creation or preservation; one creates or preserves wealth to allow its use for its purposes.
There are no jurisdictional or cultural differences in the purposes of wealth; there are substantial differences individual by individual and family by family.
Wealth Creation, Preservation and Management
Creating great wealth is partly the result of expertise, experience and judgment, and partly the result of luck, industry development and the current era.
Wealth creation is like building a collection of art, antiques or other tangibles; wealth preservation is like curating that collection.
The meaning of “wealth preservation” is never clear and needs a discussion of standards contemplated.
The greatest impediment to the perpetuation of multi-generational wealth is human nature rather than taxes and legal systems.
Investment performance must be considered by the wealth holder or a fiduciary in relation not only to return but also to the appropriateness of those returns.
Family wealth management must be fully integrated and holistic. It should encompass not only investments, taxes and governance structures, but also next generation education, philanthropy, record storage and retrieval and anything that touches on how an individual and family achieve the purposes of their wealth; and any governance or trust plan needs to allow integration of all of those elements.
To be multi-generational, wealth management, governance and estate plans must focus on the younger generation and its independence; resources must be devoted to those generations.
Parents look for ways to help their children meet the challenges of finding freedom and independence by recognizing that there may be differences in attitudes and circumstances from time to time, and generation to generation
Parents must communicate purposes of wealth beyond consumption, creation or preservation for children to become functional with respect to wealth.
Families are not inherently functional with respect to their wealth; families function well in relation to their wealth when they understand the purposes of wealth and manage it with a consistent process.
Family wealth cannot be functional and responsible without some beneficial connection to community. Dynastic wealth becomes community; wealth should necessarily encompass community and the family’s role in it.
Philanthropy can be approached strategically, with a vision of its benefits for the donor and the donor’s family, as well as the social benefits for the community.
Philanthropic programs and entities can improve the functionality of family wealth across generations.
Philanthropic programs can define “family” as it sees fit and in relation to the communities.
Trust must be earned and is not easily given; when trust exists in a relationship, the relationship should be encouraged and should not be undercut.
Unconflicted advice is of paramount importance in building trust.
Teamwork and collaboration must extend to all advisors working for a client – those within and those outside the law firm.
Concerns about fees interfere with a sound advisory or counseling relationship with clients; fees should be set early in the relationship on a basis which commits the law firm and client to a fee schedule that is as predictable as possible.
An attorney should always strive to achieve what is best for the client; advice should be straightforward, even if the advice is contrary to what the client wants to hear. The client’s comfort should be a high priority, and unpleasant surprises should be avoided.
An attorney should be the client’s advocate as a counselor.
All members of the law firm should be caring and should offer consistent and excellent service by counseling and listening, acting without conflict of interest, paying attention to quality and detail and engaging all members of the team. All of these actions are to be executed with expertise, integrity, a sense of fairness and with respect for confidentiality.
The Wealth Consultant
Our Family Wealth Audits and other consulting engagements are executed with the same diligence and care as we do with our long-term clients.
We view every engagement as a partnership and opportunity to provide an exceptional level of support, analysis and advice.
In each consulting engagement, we clearly communicate the timeline, planning, design and pricing to ensure clients understand the process and next steps.