Death. It’s the one certainty in life – the problem is no one knows when or how.
Gone are the days when someone could lock up everything important in a steel box, give it a code/key and then place instructions for its opening in the event of their demise. Now we have an electronic version of this, which can help clients to organise their financial affairs during their lifetime, as well as making things easy for their family on their death. And this version comes with a trusted advisor who will help loved ones and business associates through the toughest of times.
JTC Private Office is powered by Edge, proprietary software that creates a consolidated view of all assets, both bankable and non-bankable. In essence, it’s a virtual safety deposit box.
No one likes talking about death, or even thinking about it. However, it’s an important conversation for families to have. This is where we come in: the trusted advisor. Someone neutral who is able to sit down and talk with the family objectively about what planning measures are already in place. We are then able to analyse whether or not they are appropriate and make provisions for improvements.
Often the answer to this is either ‘no’ or a client will acknowledge that some of their planning may be out of date. Updates are required and measures need to be put in place so that loved ones have access to funds during the probate process and businesses are able to keep functioning after the death of the patriarch (in essence a disaster recovery plan).
It may seem improbable, but individuals often forget what assets they have, and certainly the rest of the family has no idea, or whether they are covered by relevant wills. If a person has worked hard to build a business, they will not want to let this fall away for the sake of a few important conversations and allowing a trusted person to gather the documents so that, should the worst happen, everything is taken care of.
The same goes for inherited wealth; even if there are no living family members, making a plan of what should happen to your wealth post demise is important.
There is an estimated £15 billion of ‘lost’ money in old bank and building society accounts, life assurance policies, pensions and investments in the UK. One example of this is the on-going case surrounding the death of the late John Roberts, son of the late William Roberts, a prolific artist who composed a great many works that are currently held in storage at the Tate Gallery. After William’s death, John inherited the estate and all artworks, however, he died in 1995 having never made a will and leaving no heirs. Thus all of his estate will eventually be sold for the best attainable price and the proceeds collected by the UK Treasury. There are many more examples of such cases of unclaimed wealth.
Just as important is what happens to a family business should the patriarch or lead business partner suddenly die. Key man risk is something businesses need to review and plan for, but often feel they don’t have the time to do. Family offices are also often so busy that this can be overlooked. This is where JTC Private Office can help. We can step in and work with family offices on a disaster recovery plan. Using Edge, we can consolidate records for use on a daily basis, as well as in the event of a family member’s demise. We collaborate with the existing team, providing a useful crutch that helps the family office run more smoothly, both short and longer term.
We offer a trusted advisory service to our clients and can be there as much or as little as they need. We ask the difficult questions and open up conversations/lines of planning families either feel reluctant to explore or have put off for too long.
Secondly, all Private Office clients are provided with access to Edge, our multi-award winning secure software that allows a client to have ‘their life in one place’. It gives a snapshot of a person’s assets and liabilities, wherever they are in the world. Be this real estate, investment portfolios, private equity funds, classic cars, racehorse, antiques, artwork, business loans to name but a few. It is one of the few systems that allows for the consolidation of such a range of assets. But this is not all, if a client wants to keep a copy of their medical records or passports, visas etc. on Edge, they can do just that. In addition, all their important contacts can also be displayed on the platform, be it their trusted advisor, private banker or their children’s school teacher. It is all there at the touch of a button.
Edge can also be configured to allow different family members differing levels of access. Clients can focus on the assets that they feel are important to them, both having differing consolidated views. We are able to grant younger family members limited access to portfolios, for example, so that they start to become more financially aware without knowing the full extent of the family’s wealth.
The app is available on IOS and Android. We also have a web version should the client prefer to use this. Therefore access is available on a desktop computer, mobile phone or tablet, making it easy to connect wherever you are in the world.
JTC is listed on the London Stock Exchange and, like any financial services business, we take security very seriously. We use the latest technologies and systems to ensure that our clients’ data is as secure as it can be. Edge is accessed using multifactor authentication, with end to end encryption.
We also have a robust infrastructure architecture to cater for high availability expectations, with underlying systems securely configured. Clients are made aware of where their data is stored and how it is transmitted using cutting edge technology for the best customer experience.
That is up to you.
During our initial meetings, and on an on-going basis, this is something that we discuss with clients. Who do you want to have access after your demise, and what should we do with the data? We create a step by step plan that means if you die unexpectedly, we have formal instructions in place as to who to contact and how to assist your family through the most difficult of times. This also includes any business partners and business assets. This gives our clients peace of mind that everything is organised.