U.S. Trust today introduced Family
Wealth Services, a comprehensive approach to meeting the specialized
needs of high net worth families and the increasingly complex issues
that parents, children and extended family members now face. Family
Wealth Services aggregates a wide range of investment, banking, wealth
transfer and legacy planning capabilities within U.S. Trust and provides
customized strategies that incorporate generational differences, family
diversity, emerging risks to financial security and overall family goals
“Today’s families are complex with emotional, lifestyle and financial
issues that are often closely intertwined,” said Keith Banks, president
of U.S. Trust. “We recognize that the individual financial and planning
goals of our clients are part of a bigger, multi-dimensional family
dynamic. Family Wealth Services is a reflection of the increased
interest we’re seeing by clients taking control of their individual
financial security with a more disciplined, proactive, longer-term view
of family relationships and responsibilities.”
The oldest trust company in the United States and advisor to generations
of wealthy American families for over 200 years, U.S. Trust developed
Family Wealth Services in response to the growing need for
comprehensive, multi-generational wealth planning. Customized services,
tools and solutions within Family Wealth Services are designed to help
U.S. Trust clients address a range of needs, including:
Providing financial education to children and managing wealth across
Addressing the specialized needs of elderly family members.
Developing customized wealth plans that address the distinct needs of
women – single, married, widowed and divorced.
Planning for the unique needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgendered domestic partners.
Creating a multi-generational legacy.
Supporting philanthropic interests.
Providing administrative support for family members and other
individuals serving as a trustee or executor.
“The family is the biggest and most rewarding investment most people
make in their lives,” said Chris Heilmann, U.S. Trust’s chief fiduciary
executive. “That’s why we think it’s important to help people build and
protect the family as an asset as they build and protect their wealth.”
Next generation financial education
U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth Survey™1 found
that six in 10 (61 percent) wealthy parents are not fully confident
their children will be well-prepared to handle any financial inheritance
left to them. Thirty-seven percent of parents strongly agree their
children would benefit from discussions with a financial professional.
The lack of discussion may be a reflection of the concerns many parents
about wealth with anyone, including their children. Just over
one-third (37 percent) of wealthy parents have fully disclosed their
wealth to children, while half (51 percent) have disclosed only a little
about their financial status, according to the survey.
Helping children to become financially literate is a particular concern
of wealthy families because of the complexities and demands of managing
substantial assets. U.S. Trust’s Financial Empowerment program was
created specifically to help young adults in their 20s and 30s make
informed financial decisions - whether they are starting a career or
already have their own families. The program provides knowledge and
tools on a wide range of financial topics to help build the foundation
on which participants can manage their financial future.
Elder care planning
The survey found that many families do not have a plan in place for the
care of parents or other aging relatives, or a financial plan for their
own long-term needs if they should need it. Planning for the challenges
associated with aging can be quite complex, requiring an understanding
of diverse options for living arrangements, healthcare, financial
planning and estate planning. Through in-house and external expert
resources, U.S. Trust offers elder care planning services to help
clients evaluate options, both to meet the current requirements of
elderly relatives and to plan for their own eventual needs.
U.S. Trust’s ElderCare
Organizational services and tools to help families gather critical
financial, legal and medical information so that the data is readily
available when needed. U.S. Trust has developed a comprehensive elder
care checklist and personal inventory workbook to help clients and
their family members organize vital information and documents,
including paper files, electronic records and digital passwords.
Facilitating healthcare management and coordination of service
providers and support to individuals and family members anywhere in
the country through a strategic alliance with a nationwide referral
network of external providers and professionals.
Financial planning focused on creating solutions to issues related to
maintaining financial independence while addressing the costs
associated with health and mobility; retirement asset planning;
nursing homes, assisted living and home care; and overall financial
Core estate planning services for clients who are in later life, or
preparing for it, to help ensure that the estate plan they have put in
place will meet their changing needs and priorities - and those of
their family and beneficiaries. Health care proxies and living wills
are a particular focus of the estate planning services in our
eldercare program. While these documents are not related to one’s
financial wealth plans, having them in place can be essential to help
ensure that the care provided better reflects an individual’s wishes.
Wealth planning for women
The realities of women’s lives can create unique planning complexities.
They acquire their wealth in different ways: many build wealth
themselves; others inherit it from a spouse or parent; still others
receive it in a divorce settlement. In addition, “blended” families are
more common, and women live longer, are more likely to be primary care
givers and are often more active in philanthropy - these factors all
magnify the need to have a plan. Our experienced specialists can help
address these issues, working with women to design a plan specifically
to address their needs and concerns. Among the challenges U.S. Trust can
help address are life transitions such as a divorce or death of a
spouse, retirement, care-giving for aging relatives, philanthropic
planning and business ownership succession planning.
Wealth planning for LGBT domestic partners
Domestic partners do not typically enjoy the same automatic legal rights
and benefits as opposite-sex married couples. Developing and
implementing a sound strategy that considers the evolution in federal,
state and local laws will help them pursue critical wealth management
and legacy goals. U.S. Trust can work to build a wealth plan that
addresses a wide range of issues and concerns that include estate and
gift tax planning, homestead rights, guardianship rights, and asset
Services for individual trustees
Many people appoint a family member or a long-time advisor as trustee of
their trust because they know the person understands their goals and, in
many cases, knows the heirs. Serving as trustee, however, means assuming
a great deal of responsibility, exposure to potential financial
liability if mistakes are made, and performing a variety of tasks that
require wide-ranging skills. By acting as the agent for a trustee, U.S.
Trust can ease the administrative workload of the person appointed,
freeing him or her to focus on honoring the wishes their loved one
expressed when he or she established the trust. These capabilities as
agent for trustee might include investment management, principal and
income accounting, preparation of required reports, managing
distributions and taxes. U.S. Trust can also serve as an agent for
individuals serving as executors and personal representatives to oversee
the complexities involved in settling estates.
Settling an estate is a complex and highly technical responsibility
requiring a substantial commitment of time and a range of skills for
which few individuals are prepared. The role frequently requires
decisions that must be balanced between competing or conflicting
interests. As such, directly appointing U.S. Trust to serve as executor
or personal representative affords families the skills and resources of
experienced specialists to handle all aspects of a comprehensive estate
The survey found that creating or passing on a tradition of philanthropic
giving to the next generation is seen as a responsibility within
wealthy families. The wealthy view philanthropy as more than giving
money. It is about fulfilling goals of great personal importance, acting
on deeply held values and creating family legacies and connections that
cross generations. U.S. Trust works with families to identify common
goals, develop mission statements and create philanthropic strategies
that are rewarding and reflect the interests of individual family
1 2012 U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth Survey™
U.S. Trust 2012 Insights on Wealth and Worth is based on a
nationwide survey of 642 high net worth and ultra high net worth adults
with at least $3 million in investable assets, not including the value
of their primary residence. Among respondents, 37 percent have between
$3 million and $5 million in investable assets, 31 percent have between
$5 million and $10 million and 32 percent have $10 million or more. The
survey was conducted online by the independent research firm Phoenix
Marketing International in March of 2012. Asset information was
self-reported by the respondent. Verification for respondent
qualification occurred at the panel company, using algorithms in place
to ensure consistency of information provided, and was confirmed with
questions from the survey itself. All data have been tested for
statistical significance at the 95 percent confidence level.
U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management is a leading
private wealth management organization providing vast resources and
customized solutions to help meet clients' wealth structuring,
investment management, banking and credit needs. Clients are served by
teams of experienced advisors offering a range of financial services,
including investment management, financial and succession planning,
philanthropic and specialty asset management, family office services,
custom credit solutions, financial administration and family trust
U.S. Trust is part of the Global Wealth and Investment Management unit
of Bank of America, N.A., which is a global leader in wealth management,
private banking and retail brokerage. U.S. Trust employs more than 4,000
professionals and maintains 140 offices in 32 states.
As part of Bank of America, U.S. Trust can provide access to a broad
range of banking solutions for individuals and businesses, and an
extensive retail banking platform.
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