One of the best resources available on Family Offices is The Complete Family Office Handbook, a book written by Kirby Rosplock. It is an excellent guide on the best practices for establishing and serving family offices. The following is a very brief synopsis of the book, along with some general obversations from my practice in working with Family Offices.
A Family Office manages and oversees the wealth management affairs of highly affluent individuals and their families in regard to:
- Tax and ,
- wealth transfer and risk management, including all related insurance strategies,
- investment management and compliance,
- management and sourcing of external advisors on legal, accounting, banking, insurance and other areas,
- governance and communication,
- providing and sourcing education on various subject matters of interest to the family.
The Family Office acts as an integrator and coordinator of all the wealth affairs of the family. It is uniquely positioned to execute long-term strategic planning on multiple fronts.
A Family Office may be established as:
- A dedicated Single Family Office serving a single family group,
- a Multiple Family Office, which will act on behalf of a variety of families that are not connected,
- a Virtual Family Office, which is a customized solution that relies upon a number of key external advisors who work as a team.
There is no one exact model for a Family Office, each one can evolve and develop to meet the needs of the family. In most cases, the key Family Office leader has a legal or accounting background.
Aside from managing tax, estate planning and wealth matters, a Family Office can help:
- Define and develop the family's values, mission and vision. This process can be a long one, and in many cases will be done in conjunction with consultants and facilitators specializing in this field.
- Implement a governance model for the family.
- Develop a philanthropic and legacy strategy.