As proper management of the family finances becomes even more complex, more and more families are turning to a “family office” solution. Once a province available only for the super-wealthy, the family office concept is increasingly becoming mainstream.
Although numerous definitions can be found, a descriptive definition of family office would be “an organization dedicated to serving wealthy individuals and their families on a diverse range of financial, estate, tax, accounting and personal family needs.”
There are basically two structures for family office – single family and multi-family. While ultra-wealthy families have utilized single family offices for years, they can be cost prohibitive to operate and, therefore, are not a feasible option for everyone.
The multi-family office, an organization that serves more than one family, continues to emerge as an important cost-effective alternative to the single family office, hence the proliferation of families who now avail themselves of the service. A multi-family office solution offers families still in the process of building their wealth an opportunity to receive desired support services that might not otherwise be affordable.
Multi-family offices offer families an affordable solution, often with a dedicated team of credentialed professionals. These organizations offer individualized services and provide solutions designed to fit a client’s lifestyle and financial goals. Working with a family office, clients find that they have more time for themselves and their families, less stress associated with financial deadlines and a team of experienced professionals available to handle virtually any financial situation that arises.
A word of caution, when choosing a family office service provider, it is of the utmost importance to inquire about the provider’s internal controls, security and track record in these matters. Ask to examine the policies and procedures in place to protect your privacy, finances and overall personal interests.
Choose only a family office service provider that has spent a considerable amount of time addressing these issues and has a robust set of controls in place to protect you. Longevity and reputation of the provider is a great indicator that your safety is a high priority.
Some of the specialized services you should expect to find offered by a full-service family office include bill paying, cash flow management and reporting, investment services, tax return planning and compliance, retirement planning, estate planning and insurance evaluation and procurement.
Other concierge services offered should also include managing collectibles, preparing personal financial statements, budgeting, executing household payroll, facilitating estimated tax payments, monitoring charitable giving and document management among others.
The following are some common indicators that you could benefit from utilizing family office services.
- You travel extensively and your bills do not get paid while you are away.
You have multiple residences with utilities, real estate taxes, repairs, etc. at each that need to be managed.
You have multiple bank accounts and credit cards that you utilize to pay your bills.
You incur late fees from missed bill deadlines.
Your investment statements are not reviewed on a regular basis.
Your bank account or credit card statements go unreconciled.
You don’t track your spending to know how much is spent on travel, entertainment, utilities or any other specific category that is important to you.
Your paid invoices are disorganized to the extent that you can’t access them when necessary.
You have a difficult time identifying and accumulating the year-end tax information you need to provide to your tax preparer.
You simply want to free up your time from the administrative tasks associated with managing your finances.
If any of these statements describe your situation, it may be in your best interest to start investigating how family office services may have a beneficial impact on your finances and your life.
RubinBrown Wealth Advisors help clients identify, prioritize and achieve their financial goals and objectives utilizing an experienced group of professionals that can integrate income taxes, estate taxes, financial planning, risk management and investment management needs, all in one place, throughout their lifetimes.
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