Under the umbrella of concierge services, family offices cover such client services as travel arrangements, household personnel management, document storage, and personal shopping in addition to the traditional offerings of investing, tax planning, and estate planning.
Families may turn to family offices to support their overall financial needs — to provide philanthropic planning, family education, multigenerational planning, and lifestyle management services such as a private secretary or guidance for your children. Services can be tailored and integrated to promote and preserve the identity and values of the family.
You may require international relocation services, such as support for obtaining a residence or assistance with applying to foreign schools, or real estate advisory that will give you access to off-market luxury properties and organizing security protection of private residences.
Family offices can support the acquisition and sale of yachts, aircraft, classic cars, horses and other valuables, as well as aircraft and yacht financing or refinancing and reviewing existing arrangements. You may desire digital images and condition reports of artwork in an online system, organizing restoration and storage of art, or recording insurance details of assets.
The key to the success of a family office is to be a central planning point for all family members. It can reduce administrative burdens stemming from the holdings of multiple family branches, aggregating wealth from multiple households.
A family office can maintain control of assets and the decision-making process, preserving privacy and benefiting from the collective buying power of the family’s combined assets. A bonus can be that it helps keep the family together.
Other services family offices provide include risk management, bill paying and record-keeping, as well as making family travel arrangements and supervising household services. These days, one option is a virtual family office that outsources many family office services, while at the other end of the spectrum, another option is a private trust company that acts as a permanent trustee for family trusts. Like family-owned operating companies, family offices vary in management and structure from family to family and can include business development and private equity.
Support for raising equity finance, initial public offerings, structured finance, partner matching, kidnap and ransom insurance, and personal liability insurance are all areas that can be provided for.
Often a family office comes to mind when you realize that you’re starting to outgrow traditional service firms and you need other skill sets to handle personal planning — not only tax compliance services but also family governance.
Know your options
Families can also consider the multifamily office — which serves several families instead of just one. They are more like traditional high-net-worth advisory firms. However, they also have their own unique menu of services and prices that each client family selects from.
The decisions families make frequently boil down to a cost-benefit analysis. Families that decide to go the single-family office route want tailored services to offer control, privacy and confidentiality, but it’s expensive. And those handling the affairs of a single-family may lack the insights that come from working with many families.
There’s a big difference between wealth creation and wealth management, and you want to be sure that your single-family or multifamily office is managed by people who want to do wealth management, such as estate planning professionals at Kaplan Law Practice.