Family Wealth Management and Planning

Family wealth management is key to what we do for clients. Rarely do we find that a person’s financial interests stop with themselves. The well-being of spouses, children, aging relatives, and even close friends become part of the equation that family wealth planning can address.

Whether it’s giving financial advice to a child about to start college or analyzing long-term care insurance for your aging parents, we’re here to partner on issues impacting you and those you love. We can help you explore questions such as “At what age and for what circumstances am I comfortable transferring wealth to my children?” “How much is enough?” “Will my family be taken care of if something were to happen to me?” “What legacy would we like to leave to our community?”

Our Experience Goes Back Seven Generations

As a wealth management and trust company founded and owned by the Laird and Norton families, we have been advising on family dynamics and wealth for generations. Not all lessons we’ve learned will apply to you and your family, but we do have the experience and expertise to help you navigate the dynamics of family wealth. We call our approach Wealth Regeneration®, because it weaves together all aspects of wealth – human capital and financial capital – to promote desired outcomes through lifetimes and across generations. Wealth Regeneration focuses on wealth planning and investment management, based on a deep understanding of your values as a family, including teaching your kids to be ready for an inheritance and grappling with what responsibility, if any, you have for your parents’ financial well-being.

The Sandwich Generation

For many of our clients, family responsibilities extend beyond their nuclear family. They may be supporting financially dependent children in their 20s while taking on some of the financial burden of their parents’ care. All of this, while balancing the demands of high-stress jobs and civic life. We work with our clients to put in place plans that balance all these demands while achieving the financial goals they’ve set for themselves. Often, seeing all that is possible allows for clarity in decision-making and removes much of the stress caused by being pulled in so many directions.

Raising Money-Wise Kids

While most of us have no problem teaching our children reading, writing and math, it isn’t always as easy to start discussions about how to handle money. Our team of wealth advisors have partnered with parents to develop money-focused conversations that will add to your child’s financial literacy. Drawing on the techniques used by both financial planners and teachers, we can provide strategies for teaching your children the skills essential to their financial well-being.

Using Trusts for Wealth Transfer and Control

A well-structured trust is probably the most effective way to control how your next generation interacts with wealth in a way that is positive for all involved. By well-structured, we mean aligned with your family needs, values and goals, as well as your assets and finances. Trusts are also a way to create a meaningful family legacy in the community.

Of the many accounts you can set up for your children or grandchildren (such as 529 Plans for education and custodial bank/investment accounts), none provide the wide-ranging benefits of a properly structured trust. Contrary to the common perception that trusts spoil children, we have seen that trusts can be tools for teaching and preparing young people to handle wealth responsibly, as well as a solution for heirs uninterested or irresponsible when it comes to their finances.

A trust is essentially an investment in your heirs, and the more involved they are in that investment, the more they are likely to appreciate it and guard it. Starting at a relatively young age (teenage years), they can begin attending meetings with the trustee and be encouraged to ask questions. This helps open up discussion about all sorts of financial topics.

Trusts can also be designed to provide incentives, such as paying for graduate school IF the beneficiary maintains a certain GPA in college, or paying for a wedding, a down payment on a first home, and other major life events. For family members who are unable to responsibly manage their finances, having LNWM serve in the role of trustee can put us in the position of saying no and ensuring responsible spending, so you don’t have to.

Estate Planning for Family Wealth

Estate planning is not only a valuable strategy for distributing your property after your death; it also provides you with better control over your assets during your lifetime, even if you become disabled. Whether you want to maximize inheritance for your heirs, keep the family business in the family, or leave a philanthropic legacy, we work diligently to align your estate plans with your intentions.

Importance of Family Wealth Management

Professional wealth management services combine investment management, wealth and tax planning, and trust and estate services to help you achieve your financial goals, plan for retirement, and leave assets to future generations. At Laird Norton Wealth Management, we can help you formulate, implement, monitor and adjust a family wealth plan that is best-suited to your unique financial situation.