Elite wealth planning is a comprehensive planning process incorporating state-of-the-art technical expertise with legal strategies and financial products with the human element to work together in a synergistic manner. The human element is the deep understanding of each wealth family member and how the planning impacts them.

According to Peter Sasaki, managing member of SDS family Office and co-author of Maximizing Your Single-Family Office: Leveraging the Power of Outsourcing and Stress Testing. “Single-family office senior executives commonly turn to high-end tax and estate lawyers and high-net-worth accountants to develop and implement appropriate wealth planning strategies. It is something they oversee but rarely have in house. There are two reasons for this. One, it tends not to be cost-effective. Also, by using proven external experts, single-family office senior executives can better ensure they are receiving state-of-the-art advice.”

Single-family offices make exceptional clients for elite wealth planners for a number of reasons. First, they will often have extensive needs and wants that can be effectively addressed by these experts. Often, the diversity and complexity of the family and business situations require extensive and ongoing services. So, there is considerable demand.

Second, from the perspective of the elite wealth planners, these clients pay well for high-quality advice and solutions. When the value of the elite wealth planning is properly communicated, discussions around costs tend to evaporate.

These two factors translate into clients who would benefit from elite wealth planning, who will fairly consistently use the services of wealth planners, and who are willing to pay very well for results. In addition, elite wealth planners at multi-service law and accounting firms and will commonly be able to bring in their partners to address other concerns of their single-family office clients.

It is important to recognize that selecting elite wealth planners is primarily about the professional as opposed to the firm. “When single-family offices engage elite wealth planners, they’re engaging particular professionals. They’re usually not thinking in terms of law firms or accounting firms,” says Sasaki. “The capabilities and reputation of the firms can be important, but they’re generally not nearly as important as the abilities and reputation of the elite wealth planners themselves.”

To benefit from the multitude of professional services necessary for the well-functioning single-family offices and the exceptional wealthy families they serve requires elite wealth planners to have very strong relationships with their clients and access to tremendous talent in different specialties within their firms. When this is the case, each single-family office client can easily represent considerable revenues to elite wealth planners and the other experts they bring in.

Russ Alan Prince, president of R.A. Prince & Associates, is a consultant to family offices, the ultra-wealthy and select professionals.