Newport Financial Group Inc Logo
Request Additional Information


Location, Location, Location Why Managing Your Estate Shouldn't Be a Chore

May 5, 2013, 10:44 AM
The need for estate management has never been greater then it is today.

The need for estate management has never been greater then it is today. According to a 1999 report titled Millionaires and Millennium from researchers at Boston College Social Welfare Institute, an estimated $41 trillion in wealth transfer will occur over the next five decades. More than ever families and individuals need a centralized location accessible from anywhere in the world to retrieve critical legal, accounting, and financial information.

Newport Financial Group, Inc. recently introduced the Estate Management Platform (EMP). The EMP allows families and individuals to consolidate items like wills & trusts, corporate documents, investment portfolios, deeds, insurance policies, loan agreements, and more to simplify, organize and control their estate. This technology allows affluent families to manage, preserve, and grow their estate simply and effectively in an environment where their advisors work together and not autonomously.

The first step in the Estate Management Platform is a thorough review of all legal, accounting, and financial documentation. During this step an analysis of the information is completed to provide the client with an independent, organized list of items making up the clients estate including, but not limited to:

  • Legal documents, corporate documents, retirement accounts, bank accounts, investment portfolios, outstanding loans, insurance policies, and tax returns
  • Ownership and beneficiary designations of all assets
  • Expiration or crucial dates impacting loans, certificates of deposit (CDs), & surrender values

Upon completion of the first step, results are reviewed to determine if any changes need to be made (e.g. change of beneficiary on a life insurance policy). When all information has been successfully gathered and is in proper order the information is input into the Estate Management Platform.

When all of the information is on the platform, alerts are setup based on the performance of certain assets. For example, if there is specific asset allocation desired and a major gain or loss in the stock market results in the portfolio being heavily weighted in small-cap growth stocks, an alert will be sent to the client that a significant change has occurred. An alert can also be setup to notify you when a Certificate of Deposit (CD) is due to mature and provide you with information on CDs available in the marketplace.

In many cases, clients have an investment portfolio with more than one investment advisor. In this scenario the client receives statements for each account and if they are interested in checking the status of those accounts they have to login to each firm's website or make a phone call to each investment advisor to review their portfolio. TheEstate Management Platform provides a single source for accessing investment portfolios and values.

A result of having more than one investment advisor can oftentimes lead to a duplication of the holdings in an investment portfolio. In most cases, each investment advisor has done an asset allocation and placed the assets in a suitable portfolio based on the clients risk tolerance. At the same time the other investment advisor(s) has taken similar steps and in many cases invested the assets in the same or similar stocks. The Estate Management Platform allows clients to aggregate all accounts, including retirement portfolios, to review them side-by-side to determine if there is any crossover in the investments. This enables clients to determine whether or not their total portfolio is properly allocated based on their individual risk tolerance.

Within the Estate Management Platform there are a number of modules available to forecast and model life scenarios. The modules available within the EMP include needs analysis, retirement income, asset allocation, and more. These tools allow clients to work with their advisors in an objective environment enabling clients to maintain greater control of their wealth. In addition to the forecasting modules, one of the more unique features of the Estate Management Platform is the Award Manager which tracks frequent flyer miles and credit card reward points.

An exclusive feature of the Estate Management Platform is The VaultThe Vault allows families to have a centralized location for all legal, accounting, and financial documents. For example, a recent client, Mrs. Smith, contacted us because she was concerned about having access to critical legal and accounting documents regardless of where she traveled. Mrs. Smith kept this information securely in a locked safe in her primary residence. The client had recently remarried and moved out of state. She has three adult children from a prior marriage who resided in California. Mr. Smith has one child in high school who resides in California as well with his mother and stepfather.

When Mrs. Smith remarried both she and her spouse had held significant assets, but had started to acquire assets together. Together they had purchased various office buildings along with several cars and boats. Each of them owned individual residencies at the time they were married and continued to use one as a primary residence and the other as a vacation home.

As we worked with Mrs. Smith we were able to identify the following three primary concerns:

  1. Access to her trusts, durable powers of attorney, financial information, investment account information, insurance policies, and doctor records from anywhere in the world. 
  2. Organize which assets were owned by her and which assets were owned by her and her husband to avoid any confusion for their beneficiaries. 
  3. Identify a single location to access tax returns and other financial information to acquire new properties.

We were able to accommodate Mrs. Smith by using the Estate Management Platform. We were able to utilize The Vault feature on the EMP platform to upload Mrs. Smith critical legal, accounting, and financial information on an encrypted server accessible from any internet enabled computer using a username and password created by Mrs. Smith. We separated The Vault into six specific folders identifiable by the ownership of the asset: (1) assets owned individually by Mrs. Smith, (2) assets owned individually by Mr. Smith, (3) assets owned jointly by Mr. & Mrs. Smith, (4) trust, accounting, and financial information solely for Mrs. Smith, (5) trust, accounting, and financial information solely for Mr. Smith, and (6) trust, accounting, and financial information jointly for Mr. and Mrs. Smith. We also provided Mrs. Smith's oldest son with a username and password to access the information in case of emergency, and provided them with two hard copy reports containing all information for their primary and secondary residences.

In addition, we completed a thorough review of their legal documents, bank accounts, investment accounts, and other holdings to confirm all beneficiary designations and planning tools were aligned with their goals. Any additional acquisitions or changes to Mr. and Mrs. Smith estate individually and/or jointly are updated on an as needed basis. Also, an annual meeting is held to insure all information is current and the transfer of their estate to their heirs is executed simply and effectively.

This process provided Mrs. Smith with peace of mind that despite where she was or regardless of what happened, her family would not be delayed in accessing critical information.

The Estate Management Platform is a necessary tool for any family who has accumulated significant assets, and has a desire to continue to grow those assets simply and effectively. As a family's wealth grows life doesn't get simpler, it gets more complex. The Estate Management Platform enables families and individuals to make their net worth work for them and not work for their net worth.