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Working With Advisors – A Deep Dive Into The Client Journey

When it comes to tax/estate planning trusts we’ve got the process down cold, but we want show you what it’ll be like as an advisor for your client to undergo that process. If you haven’t already read our article on a client’s journey with Valur, then we’d highly recommend you start there!

As a refresher, our trust process is similar in many ways to that of legacy trust/estate lawyers and trust companies. We hit all of the necessary marks, including education, strategy, and drafting (typically the lawyer’s job) and administration (typically done by a bank or trust company). Ultimately we’ve built our process to make it easy for you and your clients to take advantage of the best tax and estate planning structures and build wealth more efficiently by reducing your taxes.

But our process is very different, we use technology to simplify and streamline each step, and we go one step further, working with you — the financial advisor — to optimize the trust’s administration (and support you with investment questions) for your clients benefit.

It should be noted that this article is written for advisors, for the benefit of clients. As you read please keep that context in mind.

Our process

There are five simple stages in our process:

  • Exploration and Qualification
  • Ideation and Strategy
  • Implementation and Execution
  • Investment Optimization
  • Administration and Filings

Each step is unique and essential, but what does that look like for you as the advisor and for the client. Well let’s break down each step and get down to the nitty gritty of what that will be when you decide to use Valur.

Stage 1 – Exploration and Qualification

What is the goal?

  • Well this step is simple, we aim to understand everything that’s essential about your client’s situation. This helps us make sure we have all the facts straight, so that we can efficiently get to the bottom of their situation.

What sort of questions do we ask the client?: We ask the clients

  • What is your situation?
  • Are you planning to sell appreciated assets?
  • If yes, how much are those assets worth today and what is the cost basis? (We’re trying to understand taxable exposure.)
  • Have you had a high level of ordinary income in the past 6 months or expect to this current year?
  • If yes, when did/will the income event occur? (We’re trying to narrow down the applicable strategies to the situation.)
  • Where do you live, are you married, and do you have children? (This impacts taxes and how we formulate strategy around the different trust types.)
  • How old are you? And how old are spouse and children?
  • Do you have any plans for the proceeds from you liquidity event or income? (We’re not going to advise your client on how much they should put into a trust, but we ask the thought provoking questions to get them to think it through for themselves.)

How involved will the you be?

  • As much as you want! We can manage the process or if you’d prefer, we can provide you the information support your discussions with your client.

Stage 2 – Ideation and Strategy

What is the goal?

  • We’ll take the inputs you’ve shared and explain potential solutions. Explaining things along the way like: how much the client can save and earn over time, what sort of liquidity will be available to them, and how the trust structures work

What work does our technology do?

  • Our technology makes finding the solution easy. With the inputs provided, we can share the information you need to make an informed decision about your options, the benefits and trust. “What does that entail?” The client (and you) will receive a thorough customized report, and including the estimated return on investment, liquidity at various periods of the trust’s life, and how much you’ll give to charity by the end.

How does our team of trust strategists help?

  • We’ll make ourselves available for as many calls as it takes, to explain the different options, how each structures works and walk through the in depth reports explaining the financial implications. We try to provide through, digestible information but we know how much it can help your clients to talk through it with a person.
  • These conversations don’t always fly in a straight line. There will be questions, iterations, and sometimes nuances depending on what asset your client is planning for. We narrow down the topics and make sure the important details make it to your ears and theirs.

How involved will you be?

  • As much as you want! Check our assumptions if you’d like, and advise your client on your perspective of our solutions. You can even play gatekeeper, where we work directly through you and allow you to present the options as you see fit. Again, the choice is yours!

Stage 3 – Implementation and Execution

What is the goal?

  • At this stage you’ll have a firm idea of what you’re looking for and so will we. Like other traditional lawyers and trust companies, we’ll implement your client’s chose strategy; we’ll do all necessary payout calculations, draft the trust, and formalize it (including notarization and federal registration). We’ll also open any required custodial accounts and assist with asset transfers.

What does our technology do?

  • Produce your trust – We’ve built a cutting edge, one-of-a-kind platform that can take all of the information provided and produce a legally binding trust document. This process can take as little as 2 hours if needed. Speed wise this is unmatched in the entire industry.
  • Setup custodial accounts – The information provided throughout the process will be used to set up the required custodial accounts, there is one for each asset class, including public equities, real estate, private equity, and crypto. There’s no additional work for either the advisor or the client and we can have these accounts completed in less than 5 days.

How does our team of trust strategists help?

  • Notarizing the trust – A dedicated member of our trust strategy team will join a dedicated call with you and a notary, to officially lock in the trust and allow you to begin using it.

How involved will you be?

  • Typically, the advisor chooses not to play a major role here. We’ll take care of all the heavy lifting, though we do work with advisors to choose the appropriate custodians based on their practice. You may also have some prior operating knowledge in these areas, and if you have ideas we’re always happy to listen.

Stage 4 – Investment Optimization

What is it?

  • This is the straightforward process of choosing what assets you are invested in within the trust. The client of course will always have a risk tolerance, industry and weighting preferences. Choosing what investments the trust has it’s very important because you can design the trust to meet many different goals depending on the allocation.

How does Valur help?

  • We work with with you, to make sure there’s a complete understanding of trust accounting principals and their implications for your chosen investment strategies. With concepts like trust-specific tax-loss harvesting and distribution targeting, we can help you increase your client’s returns by 30% or more over time.

How involved will you be?

  • You will own your client’s investment strategy, of course — that’s outside of Valur’s purview. We’ll always opine on how certain investments can impact the trust, but of course the decision is ultimately yours.

Stage 5 – Administration and Filings

What is the goal?

  • To make sure that every aspect regarding administration of the client’s trust is taken care of 24/7. Each year the trust is required to file a federal tax return, and (depending on the state) a state filing as well. We’ll also provide the required forms a client will need to file their own personal tax return. The most important goal, is that it’s simple, seamless, and requires little to no time for the client each year.

How does Valur help?

  • Accounting and Administration – We’ll keep track of all of the assets, transactions, expenses, and accounting requirements so that you know at any time how your trust is performing and how it intersects the required tax filings.
  • Federal Tax Filings – We will complete and file your trust’s federal tax return every year. No need to spend your time thinking about these requirements, the most work you’ll have to do is sign the document itself!
  • State Tax Filings – Our team will also file the state tax return every year. No need to spend your time thinking about these requirements, the most work you’ll have to do is sign the document itself!
  • Personal Tax Filing Forms – Depending on the type of income you receive from the trust, you’ll receive either a 1099 or a K1 each year. We’ll provide you with these documents to hand over to your CPA or to you for filing each year.

How involved will you be?

  • Thankfully this is the easiest part of the process for Advisors. There’s quite frankly nothing for you to do here. You can always check these documents if you feel so inclined, but there’s no requirement for your time in this portion.

Conclusion

There are only a few steps in this process, but when you peel back the onion there is a significant amount of work to be done. Valur makes it simple and easy, your biggest concern is figuring out what assets to invest in within the trust. Count on us to take the burden away, save your client’s time, and ultimately money.

Next up

About Valur:

We built a platform to give everyone access to the tax and wealth building tools of the ultra-rich like Mark Zuckerburg (Facebook founder), Phil Knight (Nike founder) and others. Valur makes it simple and seamless for our customers to utilize the tax advantaged structures that are otherwise expensive and inaccessible to build their wealth more efficiently. From picking the best strategy to taking care of all the setup and ongoing overhead, we make take care of it and make it easy. Schedule a time to chat with our team and learn more about how we can help you!