The following was published in the 2005-2006 Financial Resources Guide for
Successful New Jersey Women. A special publication from Garden
State Woman Magazine.
"Most People Don’t Understand that Estate Taxes
An interview with Jack Sullivan,
Founder – Heritage Wealth Counselors, LLC
Jack Sullivan founded Heritage Wealth
Counselors in 1998 to serve affluent families (typically having a net
worth of $20 million or more) and their complex inheritance issues.
Jack “quarterbacks” for his client, helping guide
performance from various team contributors that affluent families
Tell us about the special needs of affluent
Too many people focus too heavily on tax
savings as their basis for planning. We emphasize that our clients
start with a family mission statement and focus on incorporating the
client’s values and principles into their ultimate plan.
What are the issues to consider?
Beyond the obvious immediate personal
requirements they need to think about what to leave to future
generations and to society. What is the legacy they hope to leave?
Should they create their own foundation or channel gifting through
other organizations? While there are over 44,000 private foundations in
the country, wealthy families (other than those wanting total control
over managing their assets) are moving away from creating their own
foundations because of the major complexities involved. The final piece
is to retain expertise on the government’s future impact on
holdings. Most people simply don’t understand that with proper
planning, estate taxes are optional.
Where do Family Offices fit into the
The Family Office concept originated in the
1980’s, when smart, high net worth individuals realized their
financial empires should be run like any other successful business.
Multi-family offices are now gaining popularity when a group of
families join together to share expenses and leverage the benefits of
skilled people handling the assets. When successful, the multi-family
concept simplifies lives by providing outstanding management of
expenses and non-vanilla investments, from alternative assets, private
equity deals and real estate holdings. In New Jersey there are just a
few family offices. The annual cost to participate in a multi-family
structure typically runs between 0.50 and 1.00 of assets.
Are Most Affluent Families Good at Managing Their Personal Assets?
It has been our experience that many
wealthy families, particularly those headed by first-generation
entrepreneurs, frequently pay too little attention to managing their
own personal long-range money affairs.
Often the wealthy buy into the
“hype” of various organizations that are targeting them. As
a result, over years, they wind up with a disjointed team of
professional advisors. Because the efforts of these advisors are not
coordinated, inefficiencies are rampant; clients get far less than
optimum results. We see significant risks that wealthy families have
using various investment advisors, none talking to each other, and
frequently investing in the same situations, leaving clients
Why Should Affluent Families Consider
Heritage Wealth Counselors?
We focus on overseeing asset and risk
management and tax planning. We devote up-front time working with
clients to shape the family mission and develop the supporting plan. We
work hard to bring all impacted family members into the process. After
implementing a new plan or completing strategy-filling gaps in a
current plan, we aggregate all financial information on a proprietary
database. We provide concise tools for a client to get a quick snapshot
of their complete position. We succeed by working with the
clients’ specialists, operating as a “quarterback” to
execute their game plan.
The end objective is to leave the family
positive and intact following an in depth planning process.
Unfortunately, if not handled correctly, great wealth can ultimately
destroy the family.