Retired engineer and wife Frank and Rose
Our Family Wealth Planning process is highly collaborative, common sense and non-threatening. Some would say enlightening and even fun. We try hard for the fun factor. We begin the process by determining together with our guest family if “There’s a Fit”. During this initial meeting we do not review statements or any other documents. We simply want to explain our philosophy and approach and try to determine if our services are needed. We explain that we do not expect our guest to make decisions during this meeting; nor do we. Part of what we think is important if any relationship is going to last is “likability” and “sociability”.
During our first meeting with Frank and Rose we came to the conclusion that we were a good fit to work together.
The next meeting, Step 2: “Understanding” consisted of a few meetings as we began to understand the family’s interactions with their relatives and their son. The family believed that their son experienced some unusual circumstances and required special consideration once Frank and Rose passed. Another of their relatives, Dan, is a family confidant and advisor and we included, where appropriate, consideration of his views and concerns. We advised that their wills and trusts needed to be reviewed updated and amended. We also uncovered a substantial amount of assets in cash that Frank and Rose had saved over the years. The assets although high quality had not been recently organized or directed towards a specific set of financial goals. Frank has always led the effort to manage their savings; Rose played a very small part in managing their finances. The portfolio remained in an accumulation type of allocation and represented more a collection of things than a portfolio with a purpose. We determined their goals short and long term. We helped Frank and Rose identify their spending and income levels, other goals such as vacations, extraordinary expenditures, gifting, estate and legacy. Together we help our families identify acceptable and ideal financial ranges for their goals.
During step 3, “Develop”, our planner, developed several plan alternatives. Each scenario was based on their priorities. Each scenario served to stress-test the plan; ultimately allowing us to narrow our analysis into the form of a recommendation. Our recommendation often settles somewhere between the ideal and the acceptable. We met with Frank and Rose and they accepted the plan but delayed some of the portfolio recommendations and more importantly, Step 4:”Implementation”.
After our meetings when following-up to determine a time line for implementation we discovered that Frank’s health had declined. Not long thereafter, somewhat unexpectedly, Frank passed away.
We helped Rose with this transition in a variety of ways. We spent time with Rose helping her understand her finances. We asked her to meet with us as often as she wanted, but at least once a month. And we asked her to bring any letters, policies, or statements; whatever was causing a question or concern was enough reason for a meeting. The reason to meet monthly was so we could review Rose’s statements with her and explain them. We used these sessions as a way to teach Rose how to review statements and what to look for.
We reviewed and modified the plan we had developed before Frank’s passing and identified several new needs: Rose needed to revise her financial and health Powers of Attorney, amend her will and reorganize her portfolio to help meet her new financial goals. During this time we also included her family confidant Dan and helped Rose craft a new estate and gifting strategy.
Step 4:”Implementation”: A priority for Rose was to establish a relationship with an attorney to assist her in developing her legal goals. We attended meetings with the attorney and Rose to ensure that her financial and legal goals were met holistically.
After revising her legal documents, we helped Rose identify her gifting wishes and helped her establish a yearly gifting strategy allowing her to fund several of her family’s children’s college funds.
Last but not least, we structured a significant portion of her portfolio to help provide an increasing income stream.
We would meet with Rose regularly as is our custom. As a minimum, we would chat monthly on a pre-appointed date and time. These chats systematically review specific wealth-management planning issues allowing our practice to proactively assist Rose in managing her financial goals.
This case study is a hypothetical demonstration of our planning process and is for illustrative purposes only. It is not intended to infer any particular client outcome.