Solution Snapshots

These one-page snapshots – Ballentine Briefs – highlight ways in which we have been helpful in specific client engagements. Each of these is just a small piece of what we have done and continue to do for these families. You may find that you identify with one of the case studies, or with several. This is not unusual in our experience; families with significant resources often have very complicated financial situations and work with us across a range of issues.

Round image of an open field speckled with wildflowers with a blue cloudy sky and a peek of a pink sunrise.

Giving Creatively – Donating challenging assets.

A client family owned a large parcel of land, a portion of which was covered by a conservation easement.  After more than a decade of ownership, the family was unsure of what to do with the land and was growing tired of the property management challenges.  The lack of a long-term plan left the property — and the family — in limbo.

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Hot air balloons

Staying on Track – Keeping your values in focus.

A new client family came to us with an existing plan to develop a vacant plot of land into a community center in their home town. The project had many moving parts and projections of the budget had ballooned to over $50 million. The family wanted to find a way to put its wealth to work in the community, but was struggling with the scale and complexities of the chosen path.  We wondered whether this path was fully aligned with their goals.

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Person helping another person up while mountain climbing.

Getting Help – Resolving household staffing woes.

Many wealthy families hire help, be it a personal assistant, estate manager, or nanny, to name a few. While having assistance can be a blessing, it also brings complexities that can seem overwhelming. Without the proper education and direction, some may be left in unhappy situations, feeling they created rather than eliminated headaches.

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Seeking New Clarity – Simplifying and improving an existing financial plan.

Nearly 80, a widowed client sought a clearer picture of her investments and future estate. She had been an active investor for many years, but wanted to ensure that she was optimizing her investments and estate plans as well as minimizing future taxes.

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Person outside holding a compass in their hand

Charting a Course – Creating a comprehensive plan for the road ahead.

In their late 40’s and at the peak of their medical practice earnings, this 2-career family with 5 school-aged children felt they needed a more comprehensive and intentional financial plan.  They wished to fund not only retirement but also 20 years of college tuitions and were concerned about potential reductions in medical reimbursements, patient volume, and revenues. With $3 million in investments and growing, they had made good progress but knew the future needed to be navigated carefully.

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A person holding up a roll of money.

Focusing on the Bottom Line – Investing in a tax-efficient way.

Wealthy individuals have the unique ability to pursue investment strategies similar to traditional institutional investors, such as endowments, but have the added challenge of considering the tax impact of their choices. This impact can be significant, and 2013 tax law changes increased the burden materially. These changes included an increase in the highest marginal tax rate on ordinary income from 35% to 39.6%, an increase in the highest tax rate on capital gains and qualified dividends from 15% to 20%, as well as a new 3.8% surtax on net investment income for high earners. All of this is before consideration of state taxes, which can be significant!

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Seedling

Leaving Your Mark – Creating a legacy for family and community.

Many successful families struggle to define and create their “legacy.” The senior generation of one client family wanted to provide sufficient wealth to create opportunities and flexibility for later generations, as well as a platform for significant philanthropic impact. They struggled, however, with how to achieve these goals simultaneously.

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Art

Preparing to Launch – Teaching financial skills to the next generation.

A client family’s adult daughter, a talented artist, was looking for a way to make a career out of her art. With no experience in building or managing a business, she turned to her team at Ballentine Partners in order to learn some of the skills she would need to be successful.

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Adirondack chairs

Compounding Difficulty – Keeping shared property a blessing.

Wealthy families often own shared properties in the form of a family compound, intended to be a platform for family gatherings and cohesion. One client family found that, over time, expectations for how such a compound would be used and managed began to change. Significant dissension developed over how to allocate access between family members, manage repairs and upkeep, and, eventually, allow family members to remove themselves entirely.

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