Death, Taxes and Family Wealth Management


When it comes to family wealth management, there is nothing more important than death and taxes, which according to Benjamin Franklin are the only two certainties in this world. When it comes to wealth management, everyone looks for low fees and high performance; however, they should really be concerned with these two certainties.

According to Peter Culver, wealthy families may not have complete control over death and taxes, and honestly, no one ever does, but they do have control over the impact of death and taxes on their wealth. When planning for the future, you should fully understand what you are investing in, and how that will affect future generations, especially since family fortunes usually do not last past the third generation. Ideally, you would want everyone (across all generations) to be financially educated to help not only preserve, but grow, the family wealth.

In today’s world, the wealthy are paying capital gains taxes anywhere between 20% and 25%, and another 40% to 50% in income, estate and gift tax. On the other hand, investment fees range from 0.5%to 2%. With this knowledge, it is more likely for you to lose your wealth due to bad tax management rather than to high fees or bad performance.

The words Benjamin Franklin wrote over 250 years ago to Jean Baptiste Le Roy still stand true today. While you can always prepare yourself for the certainties of life, it is harder to prepare for the uncertainties. Don’t let bad judgement or not being fully educated limit your family’s wealth.

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