Wealth Counseling News

Longtime clients understand the value that MCS brings to the table in the area of asset management. Michael’s track record – from keeping you safe during the tech meltdown at the “turn of the century” to his prescient call on the credit crunch of 2008 – underscores our firm’s purpose of managing risk to increase wealth. However, the MCS team’s skill set goes well beyond asset management.

Comprehensive Financial Planning has been a regular and growing part of our business since 2003, and our strategies and recommendations have helped our clients prepare for retirement, sell their businesses, and improve their financial security. What we don’t talk about as much is how we can step in with a few hours of targeted advice on issues of concern to our clients.

To illustrate, here are a few recent examples:

Estate Executors
A client’s father passed away in 2011, leaving a $2 million portfolio in a trust to be divided among his children. The client and his sister had to decide how to distribute the portfolio – it was their fiduciary duty as trustees to act in the best interests of the trust and its beneficiaries. Should they: 

  • Break up the securities and transfer them to the siblings?
  • Sell everything and transfer cash?
  • Keep some securities and sell others?
  • Worry about how much capital gains taxes would be payable if they sold securities?

They knew these decisions were important and had financial consequences, and they wanted to do right by their siblings. They also realized that they had neither the time nor the expertise to feel good about making these decisions on their own, so they turned to us. We researched the portfolio and recommended a course of action, but we also found a way to reduce the trust’s expenses. After paying for our advice, we estimated that the trust saved more than $400.

Trustee Counseling
Another client is the trustee to her parents’ trust, which owns securities portfolios, oil and gas leases, a private loan, and a farm. She is also the trustee to her late husband’s trust. She has investment portfolios of her own, and she runs her own small business. Needless to say, she has a lot of things to keep track of.

This client has engaged MCS to help with her day-to-day duties as a trustee (such as helping her keep each trust’s fi nances separate, and reviewing bills and insurance policies), and she has also asked us to help her tackle bigger questions (such as helping her visualize how cash and expenses flow from each of the entities she manages, or how her estate plan would pass assets under different scenarios).

In reviewing her day-to-day work, we noticed that her parents’ trust was being billed over $735 per year for local government taxes on property the trust no longer owned, and that the farm liability policy did not insure the trust that owned the farm.

In helping her tackle the bigger questions, MCS produced a fl ow chart that categorized her assets (parents’ trust, late husband’s trust, and her own assets) to help her visualize how much income each produces and feel more comfortable with her fi nancial situation (see example, Figure 1). Another illustration showed how her estate would be divided in two scenarios, an llustration she then used to discuss changes in her estate plan with her attorney. By using our expert advice, she has the peace of mind to devote more time to her business and family, nowing that her financial matters are in order.

Insurance Review
Since my Spring 2012 article about property and liability insurance for high-net-worth families, I have had more than a dozen inquiries from both clients and non-clients about their policies. So far, I have engaged with seven of them to varying degrees – two clients have changed their insurance carriers and moved to independent insurance brokers, three are currently seeking proposals from brokers, one talked to a broker and found that his insurance was sufficient, and another found that his condominium association fees covered his property. In the policies I have personally reviewed, I found six insurance policies that did not cover the titled owner of the property and four cases of underinsurance for personal liability,

It’s Our Mission
By using MCS financial counseling in targeted engagements, clients can rely on our expert advice to avoid making costly mistakes in complicated financial matters. Helping to eliminate worry and enhance your personal experience is what our mission is all about.