Once again this week’s blog comes from a being an interested listener/participant on the weekly teleconference of the Purposeful Planning Institute.
The guest thought leader was Babetta von Albertini, who is a relatively new PPI Member, but who also heads up the Institute for Family Governance, which will have its 2nd annual conference in NYC in January 2018.
That these two groups fit together well should go without saying. Purposeful Planning and Family Governance could almost be considered two sides of the same coin.
The title of the call was “How to Give Powers to Trust Beneficiaries” and during the first part, von Albertini covered the details of two actual case studies that she was involved in recently.
As I listened attentively, I had a bit of an “A-Ha” moment and I realized that Q&A time (where often the questions are replaced by comments) was fast approaching.
I jotted down a few notes about the cases she’d presented, and I concluded that she’d almost given a perfect definition of what Purposeful Planning is (or should be).
I was the first person to “Press 1” so I got the floor first (this isn’t unusual for me on many of these calls).
If you listen to the recording, you’ll note that my summary was well received by the host, the speaker, and subsequent participants.
This not only stroked my ego, but also inspired this blog post.
Without further ado, here are:
5 Things to Know about: Purposeful Planning
High level, strategic planning
So many of the people who are “experts” in the field of estate planning or succession planning are actually specialists in certain “tactics” that are often employed in the process.
Purposeful planning takes things to a higher level, and looks at things from a bigger picture view, from a higher level.
It truly is a strategic exercise, and it involves the complex interaction of a variety of specialist fields.
A team of experts, collaborating together
Because it is complex by nature, a truly strategic effort necessarily involves a variety of specialists.
But a bunch of experts who stay in their silos rarely makes for a great plan. The experts actually need to collaborate and work together to find the solutions that suit the family client.
The family is at the center of everything
As I just alluded to, the client is the family, AND the client is at the center of everything. Purposeful planning looks first and foremost at the purpose of the wealth, which is to serve the family.
Too often, estate and succession planning are simply a compilation of tactics put together in a way that sounds great, in the same way that Giorgio Armani looks great on the mannequin in the store.
If it isn’t custom tailored for me, it probably won’t fit, and it will ultimately be uncomfortable and look silly on me.
But I will have paid a hefty price for it…
Simplicity is valued over complexity
The case studies that were discussed on the call also involved a very interesting key step along the way. There were many long legal documents, including a bunch of trusts, but there was also a painstaking review process of those.
The key step was a two-page summary that was prepared for each document, which laid out, in simple terms, what was included in the 60- or 80-page document.
That way, anyone and everyone could actually understand them and discuss them intelligently.
Wow, clarity and simplicity, what a novel concept!
Beneficiaries are empowered
One of the major concepts that I left for last but not least, is that part of the family-centric nature of purposeful planning actually strives to empower the next generation beneficiaries.
How many of us have heard of people who are “trust fund babies” who are actually severely hampered by their position as recipients of funds for little or no effort?
Purposeful planning tries to actually empower them to have a say and some control over their lives, and doesn’t treat them as less capable people who are simply entitled.
An Idea Whose Time Has Come
Members of PPI probably already “get” most of what I’ve written above, but sometimes we all need to be reminded of some of these things.
More than that, we need to grow the number of those who get it, and make this planning the rule rather than the exception.