Successful financial planning is enriched when clients recognize the need for proactive wealth planning. Developing the right team of professionals to assist with planning, therefore, is essential. The ideal scenario includes working closely with clients and their loved ones in a comprehensive, inclusive and coordinated manner. This process also should include identifying clients’ goals and objectives, not only for the first generation, but for how their goals and desires will impact future generations.

MAKE TIME TO PLAN

The advantage that time affords in every aspect of the planning process cannot be taken lightly. Specifically, time allows for (1) the client and his or her beneficiaries to hire the appropriate team of professionals to execute the various parts of the plan at the appropriate time; (2) conversations about financial matters with all those affected; and (3) clients taking the time to formulate and implement their objectives at a measured pace.

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Most importantly, time provides ample opportunity to communicate goals and educate the next generation on the plan and the responsibilities the children and grandchildren will bear to make the plan successful.

MAKE TIME TO IMPLEMENT

Once goals and objectives are determined and communicated, our planning professionals focus on developing and recommending strategies and techniques to achieve optimal financial success across many areas, such as wealth transfer, income tax, insurance and other areas of financial risk mitigation.

Having more time allows for assets to be properly invested and ensures that the investment strategy grows those assets before they are required to meet the beneficiaries’ particular needs.

MAKE TIME TO COLLABORATE

Recently, we advised a family whose loved one had passed away unexpectedly. The deceased had been young, in good health and many in the family depended on her. She had also been proactive in working with us, and her other advisors, to develop a comprehensive financial plan. A primary focus of these moves had been to organize her estate plan to ensure that, should anything happen, her will and related trust structures would be in place and funded according to her wishes, to meet the needs of her heirs for the foreseeable future.

Fortunately, this particular client had trusted family members who collaborated with us to execute the plan as their loved one had wanted. The surviving children were also at an appropriate age, whereby we could work with and familiarize them with financial concepts related to investments, cash management and tax planning, as well as the inner workings of trusts and the benefits they provide.

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HAVE A SUPPORT SYSTEM

When a family experiences tragedy, especially if it is sudden and unanticipated, the surviving members can find comfort in knowing that their financial plan will still be stable. We actively work with the surviving members in a way that carefully accelerates the communication of and education about existing financial plans.

It is during these difficult times that our support extends beyond our financial obligations to the client.

While the subject matter and the related client experience are emotional issues, they remind us all of the need for families to have a comprehensive wealth plan in place, because you never know when…

Please remember that past performance does not guarantee future results and you should not base investment decisions simply on past performance. The information presented is for informational purposes only and does not take into account your particular investment objectives or financial situation. Different investments involve varying degrees of risk and the specific investments or investment strategies mentioned may not be suitable for your portfolio. You are advised to speak with a professional prior to taking any action based upon this information. Nothing herein is intended as investment advice or intended to replace the value of a careful evaluation of these issues as they relate to your personal goals and holdings.

Geller Family Office Services is an SEC registered investment advisor. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk. Therefore, it should not be assumed that future performance of any specific investment or investment strategy (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended and/or undertaken by GFOS), or any non-investment related services, will be profitable, equal any historical performance level(s), or prove successful. GFOS is not a law firm, and no portion of its services should be construed as legal advice. A copy of our written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available on request. The scope of the services to be provided depends upon the terms of the engagement.

This article was originally published in the December/January 2016 issue of Worth.