The Virtual Family Office is the Model of the Future

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There has never been a better time to be plugged into a virtual family office. With proper guidance, your high-net-worth individuals can receive proactive and holistic advice from best-in-breed professionals working in collaboration to achieve their personal and professional goals. If your firm is looking for that “edge” to solidify your relationship with your clients and have them look to you for total financial advice, you should create your own virtual family office. 

Our team in Jacksonville has built a virtual family office with a large national network of partners, allowing us to address the following five areas of a client’s financial lives: (1) making smart decisions about their money; (2) mitigating taxes; (3) taking care of heirs; (4) protecting assets from being unjustly taken; and (5) magnifying the power of charitable gifts.



You should plug your firm into a virtual family office structure that will allow you to have a more holistic approach with your clients. Clients expect the following from you: 

  • Forward-Looking advice
  • Proactive advice
  • Value-added solutions
  • Exceeding expectations

In our virtual family office, we organize clients around a holistic asset management plan called: Retirement 30 Years. 

Phase I: Clarity – What You Want. In the first phase, clients need help to articulate and clearly define what they want to accomplish with their family wealth. Roy Disney said, “When values are clear, decisions are easy.” 

Phase II: What You Have. In the second phase, clients will need to organize and assess their current financial plan by providing results under their current financial plan and outline the critical issues identified during the testing process. 

Phase III: Insight – What You Need. In phase three, we use our experience and relationship to help clients make the necessary decisions to achieve the results outlined in Phase I. 

Phase IV: Partnership – Get Things Done. In this phase, a step-by-step action checklist is created, financial products are acquired and all needed legal tools are coordinated to fully realize the benefits of the newly designed legacy plan. 

As clients transition through the different stages of their life, the team needs to be there to provide guidance and recommendations. Creativity adds and unlocks capabilities that enable clients to move forward. 


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Introducing Retirement 30 Years

Investment Counseling – making smart decisions with your money. Are your investments cost efficient, suitable and performing well? Are you taking advantage of alternative investments: non correlated? Are your current fees and expenses deductible?

Wealth Enhancement – minimizing taxes. Are you paying unnecessary taxes? Are you taking advantages of the tax code? Who are you using to get advice on reducing your taxes?

Lifestyle Enhancement – maximizing cash flow. Are your assets properly positioned to avoid outliving your money during retirement? Do you have assets that will produce tax free income in retirement? Do you know your options for maximizing social security benefits? 

Wealth Protection – making sure your assets are not unjustly taken. Have you reviewed your insurance programs (life, disability, LTC, and liability) with the latest products to make sure they are adequate, appropriate and cost effective(includes company benefits)? Are you aware of the tax ramifications for Required Minimum Distributions (RMD)? Does the surviving spouse understand their cash flow will be reduced due to taxes and loss of social security?

Charitable Planning – maximizing the significance of charitable gifts. Are you employing the correct gifting strategies for children and descendants? Are you employing the benefits of charitable giving to reduce taxes?

Wealth Transfer – taking care of your heirs. Do your trustee(s) and executor(s) realize the liability exposure they will be incurring for taking on family affairs? Are your assets properly titled to take advantage of the tax laws? Do you understand the tax consequences with improper beneficiary designations? Do you have wills/trusts and if so, what was the last time they were updated?

Business Planning. Are you mitigating taxes? Are you attracting and retaining key employees? Are you using the corporate checkbook to become financially independent from the business? Are you making time for succession planning? Have you prioritized entity planning?

Bill Newton

Bill Newton is President of Sterling Newton, a registered investment advisory firm in Jacksonville. As a virtual family office with a large national network of partners we address the following five areas of our clients’ financial lives: (1) making smart decisions about their money; (2) mitigating taxes; (3) taking care of heirs; (4) protecting assets from being unjustly taken; and (5) magnifying the power of charitable gifts.

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