The situation

Lisa and Edward* were settling into their late 50s in Chicago with mixed feelings. They had built a successful manufacturing business and raised three happy and healthy children. But looking ahead to the next phase of their lives, they worried about their legacy.

Lisa and Edward’s children were well on their way, but they had chosen very different paths. Kristen had just finished her MBA and was already being primed to take a key role in the manufacturing business. Daniel had started a promising career as a professional soccer player in Europe. Jeffrey had recently walked away from a comfortable desk in a law firm to work for a non-profit development group in Africa. His passion for giving back ran in the family: Lisa and Edward’s foundation had been making sustaining grants to small international aid organizations for a decade.

Lisa and Edward needed a smart way to distribute their wealth and business assets to their children. Lisa was also ready to take their foundation to the next level. After consulting with their banker and legal team, they turned to the Private Bank’s trust and estates specialists for a solution.

Our approach

Lisa and Edward understood that transferring wealth fairly might be complicated, given the three different paths the children had taken. They also realized they wanted to have some control over what became of their assets and business.

Trust services

After conferring with their attorney and Private Bank wealth advisor, they chose to transfer a large portion of their financial assets and a block of shares in the family business to a trust. That way, they could minimize the impact of transfer taxes and create a portfolio to which they could continue to contribute for the children’s future benefit.

Importantly, they could design the terms of the trust to complement Kristen, Daniel and Jeffrey’s different lifestyles. They knew that given the right resources and incentives, each would be able to make their own unique mark.

Edward thought of his sister, a law professor, as a potential trustee. But she was only a few years younger than he, and had her own family. And with Daniel in Europe and Jeffrey in Africa, they needed someone with global expertise.

So Lisa and Edward chose the Private Bank as trustee. In that capacity, we were able to distribute funds to the children in accordance with the trust terms put in place by their parents, professionally invest the trust assets in keeping with their objectives and perform all the legally required accounting, tax filings in multiple jurisdictions and more. Lisa and Edward can have the comfort of knowing that J.P. Morgan will be available to perform these duties not only for them and their children, but for generations to come. 

Private foundation services

Lisa also wanted to make the family foundation a more effective change agent. But she knew that growing its assets and extending its mission would take more time and commitment than she and Edward could—or wanted to—handle. To do the heavy lifting, they hired a full-time executive director and tapped J.P. Morgan’s trust and estates team that supports private foundations.

Our trust and estates team took over the full range of the foundation’s administrative tasks. That included giving the couple and their foundation staff guidance on choosing effective non-profit recipients for their grants. We also performed the due diligence on the grants that were made. Importantly, J.P. Morgan was able to build the family a sustainable foundation team to help Jeffrey when he returns from Africa and is ready to lead the foundation—so that his family’s philanthropic vision will live on.