A Simple Review Adds Value for Clients, More Business for Firm

May 29th 2012
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By: Michele Tremblay, CPA, Weil, Akman, Baylin & Coleman

As CPAs and financial advisors, we strive to help our clients get to a better place in life.  This could mean a number of things – paying less in taxes, planning for retirement or maximizing the size of the estate that will pass on to the next generation.  Typically, the opportunities for improvement are easy to identify for most clients. But every once in a while, you come across a client who has done everything right. This type of client has saved enough money for retirement, pays the optimal amount in taxes and actually has a very well thought-out estate plan. This scenario is rare, of course, but it does happen.  And it happened in our firm.

Mr. H is a self-made real estate investor in his early 70s who has done very well over the course of his life. Today, he and Mrs. H have a net worth of about $10 million. While both spouses are in good health, Mr. H has decided that the time has come for him to simplify his life and liquidate his real estate holdings. He already started this process and only has a few properties remaining. Our firm has done some tax work for these clients, but Mr. H has been managing both the real estate and his liquid assets.   They have recently met with an estate-planning attorney, established and funded trusts and started a systematic gifting program to minimize potential exposure to estate taxes.

On the surface, it appeared that all of Mr. and Mrs. H’s financial planning needs were being met, but they wanted to be sure and asked us to review their estate plan. We decided to ask the Advanced Case Design Team of our broker-dealer 1st Global to review the case. They were able to identify additional tax-saving opportunities for Mr. and Mrs. H through the use of a Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT).  We presented several scenarios using various assumptions about future federal estate tax rates and exclusions to the clients, which gave them a clear picture of the potential estate-tax exposure.  By doing that, we were able to demonstrate a high level of expertise in both tax and estate planning to these highly sophisticated and valued tax clients.

As a result, the clients allowed us to take over the asset management of a part of their liquid portfolio.  While we are pleased with the work that we did for these clients and the value that was added, we also hopefully positioned our firm as the financial advisors to the family’s next generation.

This article and its content have been provided by 1st Global. With more than 450 firms affiliated with 1st Global, it is one of the largest wealth management services partners for the tax, accounting and legal professions. 1st Global delivers the required capabilities essential for wealth management excellence including progressive ongoing education, which places the firm in a unique position to offer wealth management knowledge.

1st Global was founded by CPAs on the belief that accounting, tax and estate planning firms are uniquely qualified to provide comprehensive wealth management services to their clients. Each affiliated firm is provided with education, technology, business-building framework and client solutions that make these firms leaders in their professions through dedicated professional client relationships built around wealth management.
1st Global Capital Corp. is a member of FINRA and SIPC and is headquartered at 8150 N. Central Expressway, Suite 500 in Dallas, Texas 75206 (214) 265-1201. Additional information about 1st Global is available via the Internet at

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