Questions & Answers
Answers to common questions about leaving a legacy.
(New questions welcome!)
Q1 - I already have someone taking care of my money; why do I need Forvest Family Offices?
Forvest provides comprehensive multi-disciplinary advice to address all your estate planning needs. Comprised of impartial specialized professionals, including lawyers, accountants, bankers and insurance advisors. Forvest saves you time and money, because its professional experts work collaboratively to provide you with the best advice in all areas of your estate plan. Forvest specializes in wealth preservation and estate planning, not investing your money.
Q2 - What is the difference between what Forvest Family Offices does and Financial Planners?
Forvests’ professional team provides specialized and co-ordinated advice based on focused expertise. Financial Planners necessarily seek expertise from other professional experts (lawyers, accountants, etc.), whereas the Forvest team collaborates to provide a creative and customized solution to the individual client’s needs, using a multi-disciplinary, professional and integrated approach.
Q3 - What benefit does Forvest offer over my individual advisor in overseeing my wealth preservation?
Forvest is a multi-disciplinary group of professionals providing high-net worth families with integrated services of experienced accountants, lawyers, banking and insurance advisors. An individual professional may be able to provide expertise in one area, but rarely can that professional integrate advice from multiple disciplines. Forvest works with your current advisors if you are satisfied with them. On a customized basis, Forvest goes beyond what one individual advisor provides, helping you meet both your personal and business objectives.
Q4 - Who will look after my assets, my estate and my personal affairs if I become ill or die?
Choosing a personal representative or executor to manage your affairs in the event of illness or death is the most important and difficult decision made in estate planning. Often choices range from professional corporations and professional advisors to immediate family and friends, who may be unschooled in the legal and financial knowledge needed to administer your assets. Factors to be considered include the complexity of your assets, the family dynamics and the sophistication of the individuals concerned. Forvest can help guide you in choosing your personal representatives and executors who will be best able to safeguard your assets and fulfil your estate planning objectives. Note that Forvest itself does not act or serve as a personal representative or executor.
Q5 - Is it a good idea to have a corporate trustee manage my estate?
Depending on the circumstances, a corporate trustee may provide the best solution to the individual who requires an impartial professional to protect and oversee the estate. Where trusts will continue for multiple generations, a corporate trustee can provide stability and continuity through the future generations of beneficiaries. A corporate trustee can also provide an excellent solution where it is anticipated that beneficiaries may be adversarial, or may not have the necessary acumen to manage wealth. Where there are other family members who can competently assume the role of trustee, a corporate trustee may not be necessary; or it may be appropriate to have family members act as trustees together with the corporate trustee, giving the family the power to remove and replace the corporate trustee.
Q6 - Why does Forvest operate in Barbados rather than elsewhere, such as the Cayman Islands, Bahamas, or the Channel Islands?
Unlike other jurisdictions, Barbados has the advantage of numerous international tax treaties and certain investment protection treaties with other countries that operate to the benefit of the client. Barbados has no estate taxes or death duties; yet has a mature and sophisticated infrastructure with proactive financial institutions and professional advisors.
Q7 - How can I minimize the tax for current and future generations that will arise from transactions and events involving my business and family?
For a business or tangible property whose value is expected to increase, Forvest assists clients to minimize tax through strategic estate freeze planning techniques. Depending on your personal circumstances, Forvest can assist in establishing offshore trusts and corporations to both minimize tax and protect assets. Forvest will identify opportunities to facilitate other tax saving and deferral strategies in order to maximize your wealth preservation during your lifetime and for successive generations.
Q8 - How do I best protect and preserve my wealth for my family in the future?
Forvest can assist in establishing both onshore and offshore trusts for asset protection purposes to help clients both protect and preserve wealth. By working closely with clients and responding to the family’s unique dynamics, Forvest can assist with generational succession planning to protect your heirs and facilitate a prudent transmission of wealth ownership. Also, private clients are often presented with business or investment opportunities. Forvest can assist its clients in avoiding pitfalls, and in strategically maximizing these opportunities through due diligence and intelligent structuring.
Q9 - How do I ensure I will leave a legacy of my values to my children and grandchildren?
Forvest can assist in establishing family governance structures to provide a forum to facilitate the transmission of your family values to succeeding generations. For example, by integrating incentives for achieving milestones and other measured structures into the estate plan, Forvest can assist in providing guidance and peace of mind that your family values will be embraced by your heirs. If your estate plan includes philanthropic objectives, Forvest can help structure these initiatives so as to provide a permanent charitable legacy that, while adaptable, cannot be undermined by unanticipated future events.
Q10 - How do I best fulfil my charitable interests and goals?
Charitable donations that aren’t directed to a particular fund or purpose are generally used by charities in the day-to-day administration of the charity, including advertising expenses. Forvest can help you implement customized charitable strategies (including endowments, foundations, etc.) to achieve your personal charitable interests and goals, so that your philanthropic initiatives provide a permanent charitable legacy. Forvest can also assist in negotiating the terms of an endowment with your charity of choice, to ensure that the contractual terms are clear and binding on the charity in the future.
Q11 - Is a private charitable foundation right for me and my family?
Those who desire a lasting charitable presence often choose to donate through a public charitable foundation by establishing an endowment fund, or a donor-directed fund. Unfortunately, the large charities, including community foundations, generally demand an agreement which sees up to 15 to 20% of the gift dedicated to the general administration expenses of the charity. To better realize your charitable vision, Forvest can work with you to establish a private charitable foundation to control the application of your donated funds for the purposes you envision. A private charitable foundation can enable the application of donated funds to both domestic and global charitable activities of your choice. A private charitable foundation can also provide a forum to involve your family in these philanthropic pursuits; thereby transmitting your philanthropic values to succeeding generations.
Q12 - How do I avoid pitfalls when considering new investment opportunities, both foreign and domestic?
When a client is presented with a new investment opportunity, Forvest can assist with the due diligence process utilizing the knowledge of its professionals and their global network. Forvest works closely with its clients and their investment advisors to integrate proposed investments into the client’s customized tax and estate planning structure. When a client has a foreign investment opportunity, Forvest can draw on the advice and assistance of its international resource network, including members of the Forvest Advisory Board who are strategically located worldwide.
Q13 - I keep hearing horror stories about financial abuse of wealthy elderly people. What can I do to prevent this happening in my family?
Financial abuse of the elderly is a growing and serious phenomenon. For example, a vulnerable person may be pressured to assist someone financially, to pay down their mortgage, or pay an exorbitant salary. When the person with means becomes dependant on a caregiver who is not ethical, this can be a dangerous situation. A growing problem of predatory marriage also presents a challenge, as the test for capacity to marry is minimal - less than the capacity to make a will or power of attorney. Forvest can assist you and your family by putting financial structures in place, including trusts and protocols for the removal of funds, that will protect vulnerable family members from this type of abuse.
Q14 - My greatest concern is the future care of my mentally disabled child. What can I do to make sure she is looked after?
The future care of a mentally disabled family member is a worrisome challenge of the type that keeps one awake at night. Forvest can assist in developing an appropriate and strategic estate plan to protect the disabled person financially, and to ensure that his or her needs are properly met. If the disabled person is receiving government benefits, the planning can be customized to ensure that the support you provide does not dis-entitle him or her from accessing government benefits that may be critical not in terms of the financial subsidy, but in allowing access to specialized programs.