Multigenerational Wealth: Collaboration and Coordination
Andy Hastings, Vice President and Senior Trust Officer
Collaboration and Coordination for Multi-Generational Wealth
Tracing family legacies back multiple generations is a popular hobby, one upon which businesses are built and clubs are organized. To see the legacy of a family connected down through the years is engaging and compelling, but what if, instead of connecting your family legacy by looking backward, you were able to build it — and ensure its strength and longevity — by looking forward?
This is the mission Andy Hastings has in mind as he works with his clients and colleagues, collaborating and coordinating to help families build and manage multi-generational wealth.
A relationship manager and trust officer within the Wealth Management & Advisory Services division at Washington Trust Bank, Hastings started his career as an attorney, with a focus on estate planning and business law. A move in early 2016 brought him to Washington Trust Bank to work with Wealth Management & Advisory Services clients, guiding many of them in their multi-generational wealth planning needs.
Multi-generational wealth planning helps ensure that a family’s wealth and legacy are properly managed and passed from one generation to the next, ensuring a healthy financial picture endures to benefit younger generations.
“When I think about establishing a family wealth plan among and within multiple generations,” says Hastings, “something that comes to mind is the family being very intentional and arriving at a theme that incorporates family values that are consistent with what the family strives for, works for and tries to achieve. These values not only apply to their business and financial success, but also the ways in which they contribute to their communities, either through charitable contributions or otherwise, because often that is an integral part of family wealth planning as well.”
An example of multi-generational planning and how that dynamic plays out could be a mother and father who have worked over the course of their lives and their careers to build a successful family business and have arrived at a stage where they are ready to move on to different things and enjoy retirement. As they are in the process of discerning how to transition their business, as well as the legacy and wealth that goes with that, to their descendants, multi-generational wealth planning would make the process intentional and successful.
“One of the really rewarding things I find that comes with multi-generational planning is that the scope of the work that we get to do is broad,” says Hastings. “Clients have so many different needs and goals within a long-term multi-generational plan. Oftentimes, it will involve charitable intentions, business considerations, planning for grandchildren and college, and so on and so forth, so there are a multitude of components that go into the plan.”
As a trusted advisor in multi-generational planning, Hastings and his fellow relationship managers within Washington Trust Bank’s Wealth Management & Advisory Services division play a vital role in understanding the different levels of involvement of each family member, as well as recognizing the different financial life stage each member of the family is currently in, and how it all fits together in the big piece, to come together with a coordinated plan.
“One of the roles we perform best at Washington Trust in our Wealth Management & Advisory Services division is being a center point for bringing together conversations and relationships among the clients and their attorneys, accountants and other trusted advisors,” says Hastings. “For many clients, the succession planning and the long-term planning for their family can be overwhelming, and there are a number of pieces that understandably can feel difficult to tackle, and they don’t know where to begin. That’s a really exciting time to join the conversation and be able to help the clients see the long-term goals and identify a plan to work toward achieving those goals.”
It is critical that everybody comes to the table, including the other trusted advisers of the clients — such as their attorneys, accountants, business partners and charitable organizations that they work with — so everyone is working together collaboratively and is on the same page. All of this will benefit the client with a clear, efficient and working process that will allow them to reach their goals and objectives.
Working to meet those goals and objectives helps ensure a family does not leave wealth perpetuation to chance, and risk losing their wealth; rather, they are able to take proactive steps so that their wealth is managed and endures in a manner that benefits their family legacy for generations to come.
Planning in advance, families have the opportunity to become active stewards of their family wealth, and to create a family culture that is geared toward establishing a long lasting legacy, rather than a short-lived one.
“I think that really goes to the concept of establishing an intentional and systematic theme for the family, which involves a process of communication and collaboration to really design an architecture for what the family’s goals and objectives are for their wealth legacy,” says Hastings. “At the core of that is facilitating great communication among the family members and their advisors, both to establish that architecture and implement the different pieces that are involved in it.”
Working with the skilled and experienced team within Wealth Management & Advisory Services offers guidance to avoid many of the obstacles that can threaten to complicate planning for multi-generational wealth. There can be conflicts and differing opinions within families when it comes to future spending, investing and asset splitting, but the clear, unbiased guidance of an expert provides the opportunity to chart a clear course for a family’s financial future.
“A challenge that can arise in multi-generational planning is conflict. There can be disagreements, hard feelings and strained relationships among family members attributable to a number of different things,” says Hastings. “One of the important things we can do in our department, and in my role, is we can help serve as an intermediary in a way, with family meetings, consultations, mentoring and education. We pride ourselves on being able to handle and address those difficult situations and those relationships that might be strained within a family, and find ways to help the family navigate through those tensions in furtherance of the goal of creating a family plan that not only is effective, but hopefully helps regain some harmony in the planning, and in the family dynamic as well.”
Hastings knows how exciting it is when clients start to see their customized plan coming together. “Seeing the look on a family member’s face as they realize, ‘Oh, we’re going in the right direction. This is what we’ve been working toward, and we know we have an intentional path for moving forward,’ often comes when everybody is on board and all the advisors are working together, and you can begin to see the architecture of the plan as it begins to be implemented,” he says.
“When I see that success of a family’s multi-generational plan, the implementation and the ultimate results that come from that planning, particularly the younger generation thriving and having productive and enjoyable and satisfying lives, that gives me great satisfaction and excitement, having had the opportunity to help my clients accomplish something not only for themselves, but for their descendants and for their children and grandchildren.”
Washington Trust Bank and the Wealth Management & Advisory Services division operate under the guiding pillars of Watrustology: Vision, Passion, Strength and Wisdom. These pillars guide every decision and step of the planning process for every valued client, and they each play an important role in the process.
“When I think of the Watrustology pillars, the one that comes to mind, both for my work and in particular with reference to long term planning with multiple generational clients, is Vision,” says Hastings. “I say that because really that’s what we’re after at the end of the day; helping our family clients understand that vision for their family plan, and the vision for their legacy, not only for their wealth, but for the values that are going to surround and foster that wealth, and the family members who get to utilize and enjoy that wealth. And I’m the lucky one who gets to help them navigate through that!”
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