In Perspectives

If passing your assets to your heirs is important to you, I recommend that you consider reading the book Preparing Heirs:  Five Steps to a Successful Transition of Wealth and Values”, by Roy Williams and Vic Priesser.  I had the pleasure of reading it recently and found the book to be a very interesting study of the factors that determined the success or failure of 3,250 different family wealth transfer plans from across the globe.  The authors spent significant time interviewing each of the families about their planning and defined plan success as the ability to keep the family wealth under the control of future generations?  I was surprised to learn that only 30% of these wealth transfer plans were successful and that this rate did not vary between geographic regions of the world.  Interestingly, success was almost always traced back to a well-executed plan to prepare the heirs for the assets, rather than a plan to prepare the assets for the heirs.

This is not to say that good estate planning designed to address the issues of taxation, wealth preservation and governance is not important.  It certainly is.  However, the authors learned that only 3% of all plans failed due to poor planning in these areas.  It seems that the professional community has become very proficient at executing their craft and that most families understand the importance of seeking this guidance.

Unfortunately, it does not appear that most families are doing nearly enough to address the issues of trust and communication within the family in the context of wealth transition planning.  The authors discovered that in those plans that failed, a lack of open and honest communication resulted in an inability to develop a family consensus regarding the mission and management of family assets.  Therefore, each heir developed their own goals for the family wealth and the competing goals perpetuated feeling of mistrust and friction.  This division among the family results in missed opportunity, static assets and ultimate plan failure.

The 30% of families who avoided the above described fate typically pursued a wealth transition plan that included all family members in the process from a very early age.  The Patriarch/Matriarch did not plan in a vacuum, thereby dictating to the heirs what would happen to them financially in the future.  Each heir was encouraged to participate in the planning at whatever level they could and within the areas that were most meaningful to them.  Family philanthropy was often used to engage the younger generations and for educational purposes.  As you might expect, open and honest communication among the entire family was a key to success.

The authors provide various tools and resources available to families who need guidance in the process that are beyond the scope of this blog post.  However, I would encourage you to seek out the book and its resources if the above is of concern to you.  I believe you will find the information interesting and may even find it applicable to your family.  The staff at Legacy Trust would be happy to share our insights on this topic if it would be of assistance.

Legacy Trust and Your Right to Financial Privacy

At Legacy Trust we have established policies and practices that respect the financial privacy of all individuals who use our trust company. We believe it is critical to comply with the laws and regulations designed to secure your financial privacy. Your relationship with us as our client is very important to us, and we want you to understand our policies and practices about handling your information.

This Policy applies to you – This Policy applies to our relationships with individual clients who inquire about or obtain products or services from us for personal, family and household purposes.

Strict security measures – We take the security of information very seriously. We have established security standards and procedures to prevent access to client information. We maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to guard client information.

Limited employee access – We have established procedures to limit employee access to information to only those employees with a business reason for accessing such information. We educate our employees about the importance of confidentiality and client privacy. We take appropriate disciplinary measures to enforce employee responsibilities regarding client information.

Why we collect information – We collect information about you to:

  • accurately identify you;
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We collect information – We collect and maintain your personal information so that we can provide investment management and other services to you. The types and categories of information that we collect and maintain about you include:

  • Information we receive from you to open an account or provide investment advice or other services to you (such as your home address, social security number, telephone, financial information and investment objectives).
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  • Information on your transactions with nonaffiliated third parties.

We have established procedures so that the financial information we collect is accurate, current and complete. We are committed to work with you to promptly correct any inaccurate information.

Our selective sharing of information – In order for us to provide investment management and other services to you, we do disclose your personal information in very limited instances, which include:

  • Disclosures to nonaffiliated companies as permitted by law, including those who help us service your account (such as providing account information to brokers and custodians).
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We do not share your information with third parties for marketing purposes. We do not sell your information.

Former clients – If you end your relationship with us, we will continue to adhere to the privacy policies and practices described in this notice.

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Important Information About Procedures For Opening A New Account

To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, Federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify and record information that identifies each person who opens an account.

What this means for you: When you open an account, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth and other information that will allow us to identify you. We may also ask to see your driver’s license or other identifying documents.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause; however, federal law prohibits us from waiving these requirements.

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