Ethical wills are one tool that ensure not only the transfer of wealth,
but also of important family values and ideals
ATLANTA, May 8, 2014 /CNW/ - When it comes to the transfer of assets
from one generation to the next, Atlantic Trust, the U.S. private
wealth management division of CIBC (NYSE: CM) (TSX: CM), says the most
important goal - and often the biggest challenge - in family legacy
planning is defining values and priorities that will shape a family's
future and protect their wealth.
"Family legacy planning is about more than money," says Judith Saxe,
managing director at Atlantic Trust. "It's a way of helping parents
discuss sometimes uncomfortable issues of wealth, estate or legacy
planning with their children, especially if they're worried that wealth
will destroy their children's motivation or desire to excel or match
their parents' financial success."
Having intentional and purposeful conversations about the things that
sustain and enrich the family - things that have little to do with
material wealth - will help family members define not only what their
assets are, but also what their wealth really means in the big picture,
After examining the family's assets, the first step in the legacy
planning process is to develop a family mission or vision statement
that spells out shared values and describes how the family's wealth
should be used to support and further the family's legacy. Although
this vision statement can evolve over time, it fulfills at the outset a
primary objective that many first-generation wealth creators have when
thinking about legacy: providing clarity and inspiration for the
generations that will follow them.
"Each family will define those goals and values differently," says Saxe.
"For some, it means ensuring the well-being of future generations,
while allowing them to leave their own imprint on the family wealth.
Others may wish to tell and preserve a story about how that wealth was
built over time. Or, there may be a philanthropic component as a
vehicle for preserving a specific philosophy or set of values."
To bring that vision to life, families should look beyond the standard
legal documentation (wills, trusts and philanthropic vehicles).
Creating an ethical will that complements a traditional will can ensure that wealth owners not
only transfer what they have, but also what they know. An ethical will
can also set the stage for a deeper conversation about the greater
purpose behind what's contained in those other legacy documents. A letter to trustees can also be useful for bridging the gap between the legal statements
made in a trust document and the richness of perspective on a wealth
owner's intent that only that person can provide. Writing the family story also helps to crystallize the values and vision of people who created
the wealth in the family.
Thoughtful and discerning affluent families understand that they have an
enormous responsibility to create the framework for a family legacy
plan that promotes family continuity, manages change within the family
and articulates clear roles for all of the wealth owners in the family,
"If done well, identifying these issues may be what makes estate
planning's legal and tax provisions understandable and meaningful," she
For more family legacy planning tools, visit Atlantic Trust's Online Resource Center, or download "Legacy Planning: It's Not Just About the Money" at www.atlantictrust.com.
About Atlantic Trust
Atlantic Trust is one of the nation's leading private wealth management
firms, offering integrated wealth management for high net worth
individuals, families, foundations and endowments. The firm considers
clients' financial, trust, estate planning and philanthropic needs in
developing customized asset allocation and investment management
strategies. Experienced professionals deliver a broad range of
solutions, including proprietary investment offerings and a robust open
architecture platform of traditional and alternative managers. Atlantic
Trust operates in 12 full-service locations throughout the U.S. with
$24.0 billion in assets under management (as of December 31, 2013). For
more information, visit www.atlantictrust.com.
CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution. Through
our Retail and Business Banking, Wealth Management and Wholesale
Banking businesses, CIBC provides a full range of financial products to
individual, small business, commercial, corporate and institutional
clients in Canada and around the world.
CIBC Wealth Management provides relationship-based advisory services and
an extensive suite of leading investment solutions to meet the needs of
personal, institutional and high-net-worth clients through an extensive
distribution network, that includes CIBC Private Wealth Management,
CIBC Wood Gundy and CIBC Investor's Edge. Our asset management, retail
brokerage and private wealth management businesses combine to create an
integrated offer, delivered through nearly 1,500 advisors across
Canada. In addition, CIBC Asset Management provides global money
manager services to institutional and high-net-worth clients and
industry-leading retail investment solutions through our two mutual
fund families—CIBC and Renaissance—and the CIBC family of managed
SOURCE: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
For further information:
Media inquiries: Caroline Van Hasselt, Director, CIBC External Communications and Media Relations, (416) 784-6699, firstname.lastname@example.org or Carolyn Donnelly, Atlantic Trust Director of Marketing, (404) 881-3417, email@example.com.