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Not All Family Offices Are Created Equal

Not All Family Offices Are Created Equal

by Buddy Thomas

Family offices are more popular than ever? The advantages to a family are numerous, not the least of which is having one centralized point of oversight and administration to make major lifestyle cash flow, investment, and legacy planning decisions.

However, if you are considering which family office may be right for you, it’s important to select a firm that is and has a history as a competent fiduciary; one that can demonstrate how it will customize their services to your family’s specific needs.

Here are four vital questions to get you started:

  • When will I see a return on my investment? A family office should not be an expense, but an investment that returns much more to you that you invest (ROI) by helping you make profitable financial decisions, avoiding costly mistakes, and eliminating unnecessary taxes and fees.
  • How efficient is it? A quality family office is goals oriented, focusing on your most important issues and simplifying decision making with measurable results rather than offering numerous, non-essential, concierge-type services.
  • What is its breadth? Many family offices are strong in one area and weak in others (accounting, legal, banking, investing, etc.). An effective one is comprehensive, supporting the planning and administration of cash flow, asset management, and a family-values-driven estate plan.
  • Where is its focus? In order to assure objectivity look for a family office that is first and foremost a family office, not an investment company, bank, accounting, or law firm offering family office services. Conflicts of interests for specialty providers make it difficult to offer as an additional service.

Family wealth prudently handled has the potential to be a source of joy and confidence for your entire family. It can give each member the freedom to grow and flourish in their own way at their own natural pace. A modern family office not only assists in making your family more financially efficient, it can also go a long way toward bringing your family closer together.

Buddy Thomas is Founder and Chief Planning Officer of Superior Planning. He can be reached at

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