Family Wealth Management Planning

Family wealth management. That’s our approach to serving our private wealth clients. Rarely do we find a person’s financial concerns only rest with their personal financial picture. The well-being of spouses, children, aging relatives, or even friends become part of the equation personal wealth planning can address.

Whether it is providing education to your child who’s about to head to college or analyzing long-term care insurance for your mom, their financial well-being impacts yours and 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?” or “What legacy would we like to leave to our community?”

Many times, this is consultative, but there are also specific family wealth management opportunities where we help create financial plans and strategize estate plans for fulfilling the way you want to financially support others.

Our Experience Goes Back Seven Generations

As a wealth management and trust company founded and owned by a family, contemplating questions around family dynamics and wealth is something we’ve been grappling with for generations. The importance of family wealth management takes on a new perspective when the definition of family extends to more than 400 members and seven generations of co-managing their shared financial interests.

The lessons they’ve learned may not be what’s right for you and your family, but there are key ways in which we can help you navigate the dynamics of family wealth. We call this work Wealth Regeneration®, our approach to weaving together all aspects of wealth – human capital and financial capital – to promote desired outcomes through lifetimes and across generations. Wealth Regeneration touches on topics such as financial planning and investment management, but it also touches on understanding your values as an individual or couple, teaching your kids to be ready for an inheritance and grappling with what responsibility, if any, you have for your parents’ financial wellbeing.

The Sandwich Generation

For many of our clients, family responsibilities extend beyond their nuclear family. At the same time they may be supporting not-yet-financially stable children, they are often also worried about their aging parents. Sometimes they even take on some of the financial burden of their parent’s care. All of this, while balancing the demands of high-stress jobs and civic life. We work with clients to develop plans that balance all of these demands with achieving the financial goals they’ve set for themselves. Often, seeing a clear picture of what’s possible brings clarity to their decision making and removes much of the stress by being pulling 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 financial 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’ll arm you with a strategy for teaching your children the skills essential to their financial well-being.

For parents, allowing kids to engage in financial planning early on creates the opportunity to transfer financial responsibility. This responsibility allows children to both make and recover from mistakes, which builds confidence over time. The mutual accountability enjoyed by planners and clients, or parents and children, help both parties move the financial planning process forward continually.

Using Trusts for Wealth Transfer and Control

Trusts can be an effective way to transfer wealth, and safeguard assets and reduce or defer taxes for your family. 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. Trust are also a way to leave a meaningful legacy in the community.

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.

And 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.
And for those 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, but it also provides you with better control over your assets during your lifetime. Estate plans can even help 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, financial 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 plan that is suited to your unique financial situation.